Negotiate the Date of Joining (DOJ) Without Losing the Job Offer

handshake at job interview

Receiving a job offer is understandably cause for much elation, especially after numerous rounds of grueling interviews. For this reason, new hires often give in to the natural instinct of agreeing to whatever start date the new company proposes—an unfortunate misstep that may cause issues down the line for the employee.

Several important factors are worth considering when negotiating a date of joining (DOJ). Approaching these negotiations well-prepared ensures you’re not jeopardizing any hard-won job offers.

Negotiating the Date of Joining: Best Practices

The following are some best practices for negotiating the DOJ with a new employer, from positively framing the negotiation to avoiding procrastination in setting a DOJ.

1. Be Flexible and Prepared to Compromise 

The openness to compromise is key in any good-faith negotiation. Being too insistent on specific needs may sour the budding relationship with the new employer and potentially jeopardize the job offer. Candidates should be firm, but flexible, and willing to meet in the middle.

2. Frame Things Positively

Candidates should communicate their needs and negotiate the DOJ as beneficial for both parties. For example, a buffer between jobs could be framed as a necessary precursor to a fresh, enthusiastic start—something the employer would certainly prefer.

3. Ask for Time to Consider

The employer may not require an immediate answer regarding the DOJ. If this is the case, asking for more time to provide a start date may be worth proposing. However, this request can only be made once. Furthermore, any agreed-upon start date should be honored.

4. Don’t Be Vague or Dishonest 

By proposing a specific DOJ timeframe or date, the candidate is making a commitment to the employer. If delays are necessary, candidates need not go into great detail regarding their plans—but they should make an effort to negotiate in good faith. This includes providing enough detail for the employer to plan accordingly.

5. Resist the Urge to Appease Your New Employer  

The desire to bolster the job offer may cause candidates to agree to terms they later come to regret. By handling the DOJ negotiation professionally and on mutual terms, potential employees can set the tone for a positive, two-way relationship with future employers.

6. Avoid Waiting Until the Last Minute

The sooner candidates establish their desired DOJs, the better. Waiting until the last minute to announce any booked vacations or time off reflects poorly. By the same token, finding out early in the hiring process what the employer expects for a start date can help prepare for DOJ negotiations.

Why Should You Take Time Between Jobs?

Negotiating a later DOJ buys extra time in between jobs for catching up on personal projects or hobbies, spending time with family, or gearing up with additional training or self-study, to name a few. Candidates often overlook the crucial benefits of de-stressing from the demands of a previous job to help mentally prepare for a new one.

Best Reasons for Delaying Your Date of Joining

Though it’s best to be upfront with any future employers about any reasons for prolonging a DOJ, some reasons are obviously better than others. The following are several practical reasons to take time between jobs. They can be provided to a future employer when discussing an appropriate DOJ.

  • Extended time is necessary to relocate and find accommodations.
  • Outstanding commitments at the current job need to be fulfilled prior to leaving.
  • You already booked vacation time in advance.
  • You need time to comply with the new employer’s COVID-19 policy (e.g., getting vaccinated, complying with quarantine regulations).

Does the Date of Joining Have Any Future Impact?

Prolonging a DOJ should be less of an issue to future employers these days, especially for health reasons, personal or new skills development, or simply refocusing/recharging. On the other hand, postponing a DOJ may mean missing out on time-sensitive training opportunities for the new position. In some cases, employers may view candidates as out of touch with their needs, especially if there exists a backlog of tasks for the position.

Though time off between jobs yields more benefits than drawbacks, it’s important to balance personal interests sensibly with the employer’s needs. To this end, it helps to frame any special requests in a positive light that conveys a win-win for both parties. This will ensure starting on the best footing and establishing a foundation for a positive collaboration in the long term.

Can Others Check Your Exact Date of Joining on LinkedIn?

Though LinkedIn users can view details regarding other members’ employment time periods, they can only see the DOJ’s year and month. Of course, someone without an existing account can easily create one and log in. In either case, they would search for the person of interest, select the matching profile from the drop-down menu, and scroll down to view employment history.

For instance, Andrew Sheedy’s profile has his DOJ at Fortinet as September 2020 as Lead of Operational Technology (OT) Solutions in Australia and New Zealand Similarly, Chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks Nikesh Arora has a start date listed as June 2018. Lastly, CrowdStrike announced the appointment of Marianne Budnik as their new Chief Marketing Officer in February 2021, but her LinkedIn profile DOJ is displayed as December 2020.

In short, time off between jobs is often beneficial to both the new employee and the company. That said, transparency and timely communication are key to setting the proper expectations about the DOJ, as the company more often will leave it up to the candidate. In any case, effective upfront DOJ negotiations not only ensure that the candidate and employer are on the same page regarding starting expectations, it also sets the tone for a long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnership.

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