Even though the current economic climate is vastly different from what it used to be, there are still plenty of companies that are hiring. And while the offer may not be as wide as it once was, there are still jobs to be found. People looking for work will generally browse all the offers available – sometimes even those that wouldn’t be their first choice – and apply to as many places as they can in hopes of finding a job.
But when companies are looking to hire, they can sometimes have an ideal employee in mind and will only be interested in hiring professionals that fit into that category. To further ensure that they manage to attract such candidates, companies will even offer a sign-on bonus or some kind of similar incentive to further boost their odds of finding one. That being said, let’s see what a sign-on bonus is, what to look for when signing one, as well as some other things you need to keep in mind.
What is a sign-on bonus?
Simply put, a sign-on bonus is a bonus sum of money an employer will offer to a potential employee as a way to further incentivize them to take the job. This practice is commonly seen in industries with high turnover rates and within organizations looking to hire top talent. So, we can often see a sign-on bonus being offered to truck drivers, as well as professionals with hard-to-find skills or talent. Most commonly, companies use this type of incentive to not only increase the chance of attracting ideal candidates for the position offered but also as a way to set their offer apart from the rest of the competition.
What to look for when signing?
Initially, the idea of getting a sign-on bonus may seem quite appealing to employees. However, you need to be very careful when signing such a deal. Ideally, you should always look for fine print in any type of contract you sign, to know exactly what you’re getting your self into. An attractive sign-on bonus may mask the fact that your overall salary many not be so great. It can also be a way to try and compensate for some additional benefits – such as additional bonuses or paid time off – you may not be eligible for. Also, keep in mind that some deals will require you to pay off the sign-on bonus back if you decide to leave the company earlier than expected. By getting familiar with all of your rights and responsibilities you’ll avoid being faced with any inconveniences in the long run.
Assess the offer
Furthermore, you need to really assess the offer at hand before you decide to sign it. What this means is that you need to thing the offer through and see if it’s something you can get behind. For instance, if you are offered a hefty sign-on bonus but without the possibility to advance in the pay grade system, will the offer really be enough to sustain you in the long run? On top of that, if you’re – let’s say – expected to cover your own benefits and medical insurance, will the bonus be enough to cover those? By truly taking the time to assess all of these aspects, you’ll be able to determine more easily if the offer it the right one for you.
Negotiate the deal
Keep in mind that sign-on bonuses are not being offered to just any potential employee. So, the fact that you’re being offered one already suggests that the company is strongly interested in hiring you. What that further means is that you, therefore, can try and negotiate the deal a bit if you’re not entirely pleased with their initial offer. Furthermore, do know that next year – if you decide to stay that long – you will also be able to renegotiate the initial deal if it no longer suits your needs. Needless to say, you should also make sure that the company can offer the sign-on bonus immediately, either as a one-time bonus to your first paycheck or in 50-50 installments with the first two paychecks.
The bottom line
Just like any company wants to make sure they’ve hired only the right professionals for the job, you also need to make sure you’ve chosen the best deal for you. So, make sure you assess the offer at hand and see if it suits your needs and expectations entirely. On top of that, make sure you read the fine print to avoid any potential awkward situations down the line. In the end, feel free to try and renegotiate the deal if you feel like you could potentially make it better for you personally.
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