In today’s competitive job market, New York residents probably consider themselves lucky if they are called for an interview after dropping off their resume to an employer. After countless interviews, when a prospective employee receives an offer, they may be inclined to accept the offer immediately and sign the employment agreement. However, as enthusiastic as they may be, they should know that they can negotiate their contract without seeming pushy-the first employment agreement one receives is just the starting point. From there, successful negotiations could help paint a completely different picture and the terms can be changed.

Experts advise prospective employees to be reasonable and to keep their options open-when discussing terms it is always best to keep oneself flexible as this reinforces one’s ability to be a team player. Having said that, it is also important to keep in mind the three most important things that one wants in their agreement-these things might be the ‘must haves’ whereas other items could be negotiable. This could be the base salary, severance agreements or supplemental retirement benefits-whatever the priorities are.

Consider starting with a term sheet that outlines the broad strokes-what are the basics everyone would like to achieve from signing this contract. This way, if both parties cannot even agree to the basics, one knows that further negotiation might not be fruitful.

Lastly, one may want to sign a favorable contract immediately, it is essential to take some time and consider the changes made to the contract and how they will impact one in the short and long term. Negotiating a beneficial contract and understanding the provisions of the agreement can go a long way in helping both sides avoid possible employment litigation. Employee representation can help explain the details and their significance to New York residents.