One of our candidates was offered six weeks of vacation and personal time per year. It wasn’t a matter of begging, pleading and negotiations. It was just offered. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure she did anything special in the interviews. She was just worth it to the company that hired her.
Put on the brakes and read that last sentence over. The way to get more vacation is to be so valuable to the company that they offer it. I’m always pleased when a job offer comes in with three, four or five weeks of vacation. It means that the job and the candidate matched well at a highly skilled level.
Vacation is what you take when you can’t take what you’ve been taking any longer. (The Lion)
A recruiter is the best person to get better benefits for you. He can tell the company exactly what you currently have at the beginning of the process. He can suggest an extra week of vacation will sweeten the offer.
With or without a recruiter, the time to negotiate for vacation time is after the company has decided to hire you. If you ask for an extra two weeks of vacation in the first interview, you won’t have a second interview. A key question you may be asked is, “What is your current compensation package?” That means they want to know the full cost of hiring you. It is a very different question from, “What do we have to pay you?” When the company is asking about your current full compensation you can give them the whole story including pay, vacation, personal days, car allowance, 401K matching and healthcare costs. Telling the HR person or the hiring committee in your second or third interview your full current pay and benefits is not threatening. Telling the first person you talk to that you need 5 weeks of vacation along with a 30% pay raise and every other Friday off is a mistake.
So, getting your recruiter to get that fourth week of vacation is the best idea. The time for YOU to ask for more vacation is when the company already knows your current vacation time and wants to hire you. Then you have some leverage. And the most important point is to make sure you are worth the extra vacation time. If the company wants your skills enough, they’ll give you all the vacation you want.
Something to do today
Find out from your HR department what your full benefits package is worth. You need to know vacation days, personal days, sick days, pension contributions, 401K matching, their healthcare costs and what exactly is your contribution to healthcare. You can add your salary, bonuses and expense allowances to the list. You may be surprised at the cost of your benefits, and it will be a great thing to know when asked in your job interview.
It is just about the end of the quarter. Monday would be a great day to give your supervisor a list of your major accomplishments for the quarter and year so far.
Later: Moth traps
Slitting your throat with your own teeth