Hiring Bonuses Perk Up

Think you're worth a little more money upfront to your boss? This could be your year, because an increasing number of companies are using hiring bonuses to lure talent.

But the cash doesn't go to every new worker. Such bonuses -- whether $100 or $10,000 -- are used to recruit those perceived to be in demand, with skills that are must-haves for a company.

That means pharmacists may get upfront cash. So might certain MBAs. It's not so likely for most administrative assistants.

Bonuses are also going to many new college graduates, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This fall, 43.9 percent of companies said they're paying hiring bonuses to some of the graduates they recruit. That's up from recent years, but the extra cash still is reserved for select graduates, the group said.

Competition is driving the trend, with employers predicting it will be most difficult to snag those with degrees in business, computer sciences and engineering.

So how do you get a signing bonus? After you've sold your talents, make it clear you have many job options. Then ask about your hiring bonus.

-- Vickie Elmer