Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the recruiter or hiring manager to discuss the job offer. Negotiating is more effective in person because so much body language can be interpreted throughout the negotiation process. For your meeting, have two copies of the offer letter with you — a clean copy plus another copy that contains your notes and highlighted areas.
Before you begin negotiating the terms of the job offer, express your appreciation for the offer. Tell the recruiter that you’re looking forward to working for the organization. Say that you’re excited about your start date, and that it signifies the beginning of a rewarding and long-term relationship with the company. Lead into the negotiation process by stating, “I’m certainly looking forward to beginning my job here; however, I’d like to negotiate a few minor terms in the offer. I made notes and suggestions about the vacation terms I want to share with you.”
State the vacation time using the language contained in the job offer. Put the emphasis on those terms that appear to be negotiable, such as “can,” “might” and “may.” Ask the recruiter what you need to do to earn more vacation time beginning with your first day on the job.
Explain that you’re a hard worker and that you typically put in more hours than average. If the job has a great deal of responsibility and authority, use that to support your position that you’ll work more than a 40-hour workweek based on your commitment level. Recall your previous jobs and share with the recruiter how much time you devote to your career. Tell her how seriously you take your responsibilities and that you’re the type of professional who doesn’t leave work behind just because the workday is over.
Ask if a slight salary reduction is a concession the company would accept in exchange for additional vacation days. Explain that you’d like more time to achieve a work-life balance and that you’re willing to exchange part of your salary for improving your quality of life. Reassure the recruiter that the salary reduction won’t diminish your attention to your job duties. If your research indicates that the salary you’re offered is below market value, use that to negotiate more vacation. Using this as a negotiation tool could be especially effective if you have another job offer for more money.