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Ask for a sign-on bonus with job offer?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for any expert advice on whether and how to ask for a hiring bonus or other contractual agreements on a job offer.

I am 31 and graduating with a B.S. Computer Science degree from a respected college this summer (albeit their night college). I'm in the third round of a job interview with a large IT Consulting company; the position is something like a 'Junior Analyst' or 'Associate Consultant' job. I would start off developing & supporting Sharepoint solutions for clients. Later I would be trained to develop and support .NET and Java solutions. I expect them to offer me the job after the next round of interviews.

I'm grateful for the opportunity because it pays 50% more than what I'm making now and seems like a good job, but I don't want to short myself by not asking for any perks like a sign-on bonus if it's common to ask for that.

I'll get a company laptop, but I guess the days of IT graduates being offered a company car and an expense account and paid relocation and a lama are long gone.

Anyway, would it be appropriate to ask for a $1,000 sign-on bonus to be paid immediately? Among a hundred other things, I need to buy some new clothes for work. I know that there would be a stipulation like I would have to pay it back if I didn't stay with the company for a year or something.

I hope no one feels like I'm being greedy or spoiled- I am thankful for the job if it is offered. But I've been living on $15/hr for the past five years and want to make the most of my hard-earned options. I also have $50k in undergrad debt and plan to accrue $50k more getting a Master's- I can't afford to lose out on any income.

I also thought about asking for guaranteed raises of $5k per year- from my research on the company, it looks like their Australia office includes that in the package for their version of this position.

Any tips from the experienced business gurus is appreciated. Hopefully this post could also benefit others who find themselves in a similar situation.

Thanks
post #2 of 18
I'd ask for it, but really only if you have another job offer elsewhere. Or you could bluff. But honestly, a sign up bonus is a one time deal, I'd rather negotiate a more lasting deal, like better benefits or 401K deal, etc.

I was given a $4K bonus by my first employer out of college, but ironically, it bumped me up into the net tax bracket that year, so in the end, it got eaten up by taxes.

-Ed
post #3 of 18
I think it's always good to negotiate the job offer. It's a sign of self worth. However you should do it politely and flexibly, and never nickle and dime the employer. Good luck!
post #4 of 18
Well, I'll disagree and say don't ask for a sign-on bonus. A sign-on bonus should be made by the employer as a way to entice you to take the position they are offerring you. If they do make you an offer without a bonus, politely state that you are currently mulling some other offers as well and need some time to consider it. If they really want you, they'll come back with a better offer (higher salary) or a promise of a sign-on bonus.

Of course this could backfire and they could say the heck with you, especially if they have other candidates to consider. If you really want the job and they make you an offer, then take it. Unless you are sure that they are desperate to hire you, I wouldn't ask for anything beyond their initial offer. Forget the guaranteed raise too. I never heard of such a thing.
post #5 of 18
I work in corporate IT and here are my 2 cents.
I never heard of a sign up bonus for IT professionals. I have heard of sign up bonuses for sports athletes.

Wait until they make you an offer first, if you start coming up with unusual demands. Then you will talk them out of making you any kind of offer.

Do your homework first, talk to recruiters and find out what the market is for people doing your type of work with the amount of experience you have.

Negotiate based on market, you offered me this x, but the market is paying this y. Can you review my performance after 3 months, if I perform up to expectations can I get bumped up to y?

Considering that they are offering 50% more than your current pay. Take it no matter what happens after trying to negotiate. Once you are employed and have gained some work experience. It will be easy for you to find a better paying job in the same field.

edit. I expect a 10% consultation fee.
Just kidding, I'm happy to help.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oski View Post
It's a sign of self worth. However you should do it politely and flexibly, and never nickle and dime the employer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnesto View Post
Wait until they make you an offer first, if you start coming up with unusual demands. Then you will talk them out of making you any kind of offer.
You do not need to fear getting kicked to the curb if you ask for a better package after they make you the initial offer. Do so respectfully, and not in a demanding way. As long as you are not making some demand that is way out of line with reality (which will make you look like you don't really belong in this job) it will benefit you to ask, even if they do not go for it. Only a vindictive employer will react negatively to reasonable negotiation. Just do it after the initial offer, and as has been said, do your homework to find out what's realistic.
post #7 of 18
I'm a professional programmer for 6 years now. If I were you, I absolutely would not ask for any sort of a sign-on bonus. People in our field are now a dime a dozen. If you ask for a sign-on bonus, they will likely move on to the next person in the queue.

Considering the income you are comming from and potentially going into - If they offer the job, grab it with both hands and don't let go. Get your foot in the door. Once you get a few years of experience under your belt, then you can start thinking about asking for bonuses and raises and purks, etc.

That's just my 2 cents, which is probably worthless, HAHA.
post #8 of 18
X2, I was going to say the same thing! I graduated with a degree in comp. sci\mathematics, around '93 at the age of 22 and that was entering the PEAK of IT, sign-on bonuses were common.. nowadays people dont need a degree (if they ever did ?) to get into IT, hell high school students are using .NET framework and programming in java and c++ so IT workers really are a dime a dozen, no offense, but the influx has really deflated the overall value of a comp. sci. degree. Plus with outsourcing to other countries, to be honest you are very lucky to be even getting a job this fast! Hate to sound pessimistic, but I've been going back to school to get a degree in the medical field, IT at this point really sucks compared to BEFORE the dot com bust! Good luck with it, though.
post #9 of 18
Ok, I disagree with some of the fellows above.

First of all, consulting is a different beast than say working an "industry" job. I've worked for 2 of the "big 4" consulting firms, and I've never heard of college grads not getting offered signing bonuses, which typically range between 4-6k. I don't think it would be unreasonable of you to request one, and it's probably a very typical request for recruiters at your consulting firm.

Also, consulting raises are on average a lot higher than "industry" jobs and if you are a top performer, raises in the double-digit percentages are again not uncommon. From a pay perspective, I would raise your expectations. Now from a quality-of-life perspective, well, that's a different topic...
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisforchooch View Post
Ok, I disagree with some of the fellows above.

First of all, consulting is a different beast than say working an "industry" job. I've worked for 2 of the "big 4" consulting firms, and I've never heard of college grads not getting offered signing bonuses, which typically range between 4-6k. I don't think it would be unreasonable of you to request one, and it's probably a very typical request for recruiters at your consulting firm.

Also, consulting raises are on average a lot higher than "industry" jobs and if you are a top performer, raises in the double-digit percentages are again not uncommon. From a pay perspective, I would raise your expectations. Now from a quality-of-life perspective, well, that's a different topic...
No offense, but I'd love to live in your world (although I still think IT sucks and it's boring, as a hobby cool.. as a way to make a living, no... flame proof suit has been put on), but when I lived on the east coast and to some extent here in the midwest, outsourcing took away a lot of high paying "consulting" jobs, I'm not saying he shouldn't ask, I'm just saying the way ANY employer views IT staff, we're a dime a dozen.... not too hard to be replaced FOR CHEAP!

Ah, I re-read your post and noticed you get the company laptop! I got one of those too, hehehe, it's become my golden leash (handcuffs), to squeeze MORE work out of me... *sigh*
post #11 of 18
You're risking the job for a $1,000 sign-on bonus. Not worth it at all.
post #12 of 18
Yeah I got offered a sign on bonus for my current job (3k) and after taxes it was barely 1600/1700? Would have much rather had a 1k salary bump.
post #13 of 18
If you ask for gaurenteed raises that is a sure-fire way of not getting the job. There is no law saying a company must raise you each year. You may get 4% one year, 2 the next and 1 shortly after. My brother works in IT. He makes the most in his department. To compensate others he was given a 1% increase last year. My mothers company which is spiraling into the toilet lost their raise and recieved a demotion in salary.

Things arent always so clear-cut. You're making around 45k. Depending on where you work a junior level position makes from 45-55k. If you feel you're good enough negotiate your salary up to 5k.
post #14 of 18
It seems like signing bonuses in the tech field went out of style around 2000 or '01. The whole reason for them was that there was a shortage of labor and if you got 10 offers, companies wanted to make sure you'd take theirs and not one of the others. A way to do that was promising to put cash in your pocket up front. I won't say nobody does this anymore, but there stopped being a real reason when most people went from 10 offers to lucky to have an offer.

If you could use a little money to take care of clothes or moving or something, ask them about relocation help. They may understand that you've got some expenses as a result of taking the job. They may not give you anything extra but could choose to do something like advancing you your first paycheck. Asking for a signing bonus runs the risk of making you seem like a primadonna or ungrateful for the offer. Asking probably won't hurt anything, but it seems like some risk for not much reward.
post #15 of 18
If they make more than +200 million a year you should show them your backbone
to seperate you from all the other little fish!
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