Offer Checklist BEFORE You Accept

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You love the job and you’ve negotiated a salary you are more than happy with. Don’t accept that job offer yet! Make sure you have answers or have negotiated the following offer checklist BEFORE you accept your dream offer.

Paid Time Off

There are multiple things to consider in negotiating paid time off as part of your offer checklist. How many days does the new company identify as paid holidays? It can vary from 6 to 15. For those companies with fewer days, do they close down over the holidays or for a week in the summer to compensate? If not, perhaps you can negotiate more PTO before you start, particularly if your current company has a better policy.

Make sure you negotiate any pre-planned time off before accepting the offer. Most companies will count this against your future PTO but sometimes you can negotiate a few days off, with pay, without impacting the number of days you can still take.

Professional Development

In some careers, like actuarial science, this is critical for gaining the accreditations required in the career. Even if that isn’t the case, attending conferences that allow you to interact with peers facing the same problems and issues you are make you a better, more effective employee. Conferences or courses can be rejuvenating and provide you with innovations for your work, which benefits you and your employer. Since they are typically expensive, talking about what is offered and what can be confirmed up-front will make the conversation about attending much easier when you are the employee.

Visa Sponsorship Process

Yes, you’ve confirmed your new firm will sponsor you for the next step in your immigration visa process. Get more information around what they will pay for, or not pay for, when they will commence each step and who’s lawyer will be responsible for shepherding the process. In the current political environment this issue is a hot button one, and keeping your residency in the U.S. safe and secure via your relationship with your new employer is important.

Work Schedule

This conversation has changed dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic. It looks like most companies are open to negotiating a hybrid schedule – some days working from home and some in the office.  What some becomes defined as is up to you and the company but definitely worth discussing and making a part of your negotiations.  This used to be a perk that was only given after you had proven yourself at a new company, but companies seem to be more flexible after seeing how well 100% remote work went.

If 9-5 isn’t your ideal day, add this to your offer checklist before you accept once the offer has been extended. Perhaps you will be interacting regularly with staff in a dramatically different time zone and you should learn the accommodations that are allowed for that. Perhaps your commute lends itself to a 7-4 schedule. Find out if that is an option….carefully. This conversation can set off alarm bells with most companies.


Benefits are often the most highly examined and analyzed of all aspects of a job offer, but typically are the least negotiable. Most insurers make it difficult to offer different plans to different people, and it can even be illegal to do so in the case of 401K matching. Sometimes companies are open to assisting with COBRA payments if their start date for benefit coverage is far in the future, but, in general, you get what every other employee gets at your new employer. Yes, make this part of your offer checklist before you accept, but don’t expect too much change.


Relocation policies vary dramatically across companies. Some companies offer no relocation while others offer home purchase, and there is every variation in-between. There can be a sign-on bonus offered to cover relocation costs. Do your homework, get an appraisal of your moving costs or check out the cost of temporary housing in your new location, before discussing this with your new employer. It adds to your credibility and confirms your level of interest in this job to be specific in what you would like. Unlike benefits there is negotiating room in your relocation package and should be an important part of your offer checklist before you accept.


Typically your annual bonus target is not negotiable, again, standardized company policy. However, if you are walking away from bonus monies at your current company, that is a topic you should bring up. Depending on where you are in the cycle of payment, the nearer the time for payout the stronger your argument, there may be some flexibility about giving you a sign-on bonus or making you eligible for the bonus at your new company. Remember this isn’t a given, but it is worth a discussion.

Review Schedule

Not completely happy with the base salary offered even though you love the job? Ask for an earlier review, if a one year from start date is typical. Pay increases at three months or six months is possible and may be easier for the new company to implement than renegotiating their offer.

Interested in starting a job search? Contact the Executive Recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates.

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