A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

15 Hidden Job Perks You Should Be Asking For

If your negotiating stops at the salary, you could be leaving a lot on the table.

1 / 16
A young and attractive Chinese Asian woman has a business meeting with a Malay Muslim woman. They are both sitting in an office and talking over a laptop computer during the day.

Negotiating works

Most of us can’t relate to the concept of “more money, more problems.” We’re all looking for a bigger paycheck. However, your salary may have a limit based on your industry and experience level; no amount of negotiating will up the offer from $70,000 a year to $700,000, or even $140,000. But hiring experts say there are a whole lot of other perks and benefits you should be negotiating for, such as a flexible schedule and higher education tuition help—all you have to do is ask. HR pro and author Carol L. Kardas explains, “If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Don’t be afraid to negotiate no matter what the position or level of the job. You will feel better that you received something and will be a more engaged employee for it.”

Check out the following perks and benefits that you should be thinking about next time you are considering a job offer. And remember, advises recruiter Liz Dooley, “Whatever perks that were discussed during the interview process, make sure to get those promises in writing. People can make promises in the interview process, but many times things get changed after the person starts, and if the candidate doesn’t have it in writing they have no recourse.”

2 / 16
Woman reading book with cup of coffee at home in the living room

Paid time off

“The most obvious perk is increasing paid time off instead of salary. Job seekers often overlook perks like working from home, shifted schedules, or even budget to go to conferences. Think of something you wished you had in your last job that could improve your working life and ask for it. You would be surprised how flexible an employer can be with perks versus income. You might end up with a nice working arrangement you would not have expected otherwise!” —Austin Grandt, founder of Financial Toolbelt

3 / 16

Professional training

“These days no job is guaranteed or stable, so you need to think less about the 401K and more about the training opportunities you will have that will look good on your LinkedIn profile. Many Gen-X bosses believe in trial by fire—throw you in and see if you survive! This does not work for most millennials. Ask what the first 30 days will look like and your potential boss’s idea of how you will be brought up to speed in your new position.” —Dr. Caroline Thorpe, MFT, Executive Coach, Kohler & Company

4 / 16
Stack of one hundred dollar bills close-up. (shallow DOF)
Valeri Potapova/Shutterstock

Sign-on bonus and severance package

“If the starting salary is lower than your target, ask for a sign-on bonus to cover the gap between your expected salary and what you are being offered. Not all employers offer a severance package but negotiating for one can give you peace of mind in the event your employer lays you off.” —Chris Chancey, Amplio Recruiting. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous when asking about salary in an interview. That’s why negotiating is especially important when it comes to acting your wage.

5 / 16
Unrecognizable female using fitness tracker after training
Artem Varnitsin/Shutterstock

Exercise stipend

“Ask for what is important to you. For some, it is flex hours; others, a stipend for exercise. The latter has benefits to the employer too as healthy employees usually mean less sick days and risk of long-term injury.” Reece Mack, PR Coordinator. Learn about the 10 best careers to pursue right now.

6 / 16
Interior view of car with salon
Serhii Ostapenko/Shutterstock

Commuting hours

“The most important things is for a candidate to have clarity on what perks they consider to be compensating factors relative to an offer. For instance, candidates with longer commutes will place a higher priority on being able to arrive at 7 a.m. and leave at 3:30 p.m. rather than going 8:00 to 5:00. Pick the three most important compensating factors and ask for them. However, candidates should know before asking if any of them are deal-breakers. If a company is offering a $90,000 salary but is inflexible on working around your commute, then you should go back and ask for more salary to offset the lost time, resources, and such from the extended commute. Companies ought to be more open to such requests because if the candidate is offered the same money at a company with a quarter of the commute, the risk of you leaving increases significantly.” —John Light, EvolvingTalentGroup

7 / 16
brunetter woman working on her laptop at a restaurant

Continuing education and licensing

“If the position requires continuing education credits to maintain your professional license or certification, you can ask whether the company will cover the expenses incurred, which sometimes involves travel.” —Mikaila Turman, VP of People at GoodHire.

8 / 16
Business man point to the smart phone show financial market chart and Blurred background of a laptop show financial market chart, Stock market concept.
Chompoo Suriyo/Shutterstock

Stock options

“If the company offers stock options to employees, you may be able to ask for some stock options when starting to compensate for an offer with a lower starting salary. This comes with some risk, so do your due diligence if you contemplate this option.” —Jacob Dayan CEO of Finance Pal

9 / 16
Father and two daughters taking a walk down the street, close up
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Alternating shifts

To help reduce childcare expenses, you can ask if it would be possible to work four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days, suggests Suzanne Malausky from We Inspire Solutions. Here are some weird jobs you didn’t know you could apply for.

10 / 16
Close up a blue toned calendar page
Matushchak Anton/Shutterstock

Unpaid vacation days

“Many companies have moved to the unlimited vacation policy [you don’t accrue days, you just take off time when agreed upon with your manager], which is great for employers because, if you leave, there are no unused vacation days on the table they have to reimburse you for. You can ask for a guaranteed number of vacation days.” —Liz Dooley, Chief Talent Finder and recruiter

11 / 16
Thoughtful african american young woman in optical eyeglasses holding pen and thinking on creative ideas for writing her blog publication in notebook enjoying leisure time at home interior apartment

Offer a choice

“When you’re thinking about what will make you happy at your new job, think ‘or.’ For example, ‘I want 10K more or to work from home on Fridays. I want 10K more or a more flexible work schedule.’ A successful negotiation is when both sides win.” —Beth Tucker, CEO of KNF&T Staffing Resources. Here is how to look for a job while you still have one.

12 / 16
young mother holding her newborn baby sitting in armchair
Nataliya Sdobnikova/Shutterstock

Maternity/paternity leave

“There’s a transition taking place here between companies that don’t offer any leave at all for new mothers/fathers. If you’re at all planning on starting a family—even a few years down the road—this is a vital question to ask. Even though the short-term benefit may not be there, the long-term benefit absolutely could be.” —Kris Hughes, Senior Content Marketing Manager, ProjectManager.com

13 / 16
Closeup of woman sitting and using laptop on glass table at home
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

Ability to work from home/remotely

“Study upon study is now being published that show that workers who work remotely all the time—or at least, part of the time—are more productive, loyal to their organizations, and overall happier. Even if it’s a random day here and there that’s allowed, it’s a day you can take away from your desk to dig into a tough project, avoid distractions, and get a new perspective. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if a company won’t let you work from home at all, it could be a big red flag and shows that they don’t trust their employees to do the job they hired them for without direct supervision.” —Kris Hughes, Senior Content Marketing Manager, ProjectManager.com

14 / 16
asian man working with calculator to calculate numbers. expenses calculator, payments costs with paper notes, payments table. Financial and Installment payment concept. Saving concept

Student loan repayment

“If the salary is not as high as anticipated, you may not be able to pay off that debt looming over your head. Ask the employer if they are willing to offer student loan repayment assistance. Student loan repayment could be attractive as a negotiation tactic because you might only have to ask for an extra $100-200 a month, rather than an increase of $5,000 in the proposed salary.” —Matt Dodgson, Market Recruitment

15 / 16
Woman getting on the bus

Transportation stipend

“If you have a competing offer closer to your home, you may have the leverage to negotiate for some commuting funds.” —Matt Dodgson, Market Recruitment. Here are the best jobs where you can be your own boss.

16 / 16
Roast beetroot, figs and feta salad

Work lunch and dinner

Some companies offer daily or weekly food stipends. “Companies tend to get great deals at local eateries. Lunch packages will save you tons of money and time, which would otherwise be spent on meal preparation.” —Piotr Sosnowski, the Co-Founder and the Head of HR at www.zety.com.

Joe McKinley
Joe McKinley is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering cars, careers, tech and more.