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My job search has gone more quickly than I expected and I will probably receive an attractive offer from a large, public US company in the next few days. I have a somewhat significant financial incentive from my previous employer to not start a new position for about another six weeks. The person who first contacted me about this position knows that, but I'm not sure everybody involved does. (It's not a secret.) The normal delay after acceptance in my location and industry is two weeks.

Ideally I'd like to either delay my start or receive some sort of offsetting compensation for the money I'd be leaving on the table. (I'd prefer the delay.) But I also don't want to start off on a bad foot with my new colleagues, and in the grand scheme of things, this incentive won't let me buy a luxury condo or a yacht or the like -- it's nice to have and nothing to sneeze at, but if I lose it, life will go on. I'd just be a little sadder.

How common is this sort of situation, and what is the best strategy for addressing it?

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How common is this sort of situation, and what is the best strategy for addressing it?

Having been on both sides of hiring and being hired - I've seen this sort of situation, but I haven't see it often.

You negotiate this just like any other benefit negotiation - you start by asking for what you want.

You may choose to disclose the reason and the dollars behind your request and work from there.

If the hiring company is sufficiently motivated enough to get you, and you are a sufficiently strong candidate, you may get the time or money concession. If not, you'll have a difficult choice to make.

Prepare ahead of time by deciding what you will do if you are granted the time (presumably, you'll just take the 6 weeks), if you are granted some amount of compensatory money, or if you are denied both. That will put you in the best position as far as leverage, and for making a quick decision.

  • It has been my experience that if a company is interested in hiring you they have no problem waiting a few extra weeks. Its when they are short term contracts with deadlines they are less willing to give the time. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 11 '14 at 18:01
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You've identified what you want out of this deal, not what the new company wants.

Exactly when do they want you to start? 6 weeks may not be an issue.

If they want you to start sooner than 6 weeks, why? They may not want to wait too long because they think you'll take another job. You have a strong argument that you're not going to leave your current employer any sooner, so it doesn't appear like you're waiting on another offer.

There could be any number of reasons why they want you to start sooner:

  • Some great training Guru is going to grace the new team with his presence 3 weeks from now.
  • They'll lose billable hours for a month and the manager getting an over-ride on the deal will push to get someone hired.
  • A new project is going to start and someone will lose funding if it doesn't start ASAP.

The new company may be willing to pay you, so just come up with a number. Who knows what they lose if they don't get you started. The more you know here, the more you can ask for. would you accept more vacation time the first year? Not all hiring managers have the same amount of flexibility in their offers, so work within the areas they have room.

Offer to work for the new company part-time if you need training, getting up to speed or just a few hours of work on the books. This could be after-hours, weekends, vacation days, etc. You'll have to check with your current employment agreement to see how much of this you can do.

Until you get all the facts, negotiations are going to be limited.

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