My gut tells me it's a bad idea. When I discussed my salary expectations with this potential employer I told them I was looking for a yearly salary of $85K. When they made the verbal offer they told me the best they could do was $83,200. I discussed this offer with my wife and she feels like since they didn't meet me all the way with salary I should ask for a signing bonus. She feels like a one-time signing bonus might seem reasonable to the employer, since it wouldn't be an ongoing salary expense, just a one-time hiring expense.
The trouble is, in my mind signing bonuses are something that you would expect to see in a highly competitive hiring environment, where job candidates have multiple attractive job offers coming from various firms, all of which are scrambling to attract the most qualified employees and doing whatever they can to get those employees to sign on with them.
That's really not the case with me at the moment. This employer did contact me, and I do have a comfortable job that I can easily stay in long-term. But it isn't as though I've got recruiters lined up at my door begging me to come work for them.
I don't know. Maybe she's right. Maybe I should ask for a signing bonus. I guess I'm just the type of person who feels uncomfortable asking for more money from someone who's already willing to give me a whole bunch of money.
So should I do what my wife says and ask for the signing bonus, or should I go with my gut and leave well-enough alone? Either way I'll almost certainly accept their offer. For what it's worth, I'm a software developer, working for a DoD contractor at a US Air Force base. This new offer is also from a DOD contractor and the fact that I already have security clearance is a big plus in the recruiting process. It's probably one of the reasons I'm so attractive to this new company, in addition to my technical skills, of course.