Illinois lawyer Ken Vanko does a great job on his blog, "Legal Developments in Non-Competition Agreements".  His latest entry addresses the reasons a job candidate should negotiate or at least attempt to negotiate their proposed non-compete.  A few of the reasons:

  1. The candidate will have a better understanding of the non-compete once they have scrutinized the agreement;
  2. They may get a better idea of the employer’s previous issues with departing employees and enforcement of the non-compete; and
  3. The employer might actually make some concessions.

These are all great thoughts.  I can’t tell you how often an employee will testify they never saw the non-compete or just assumed it was unenforceable. 

From an employer’s side, discussion regarding the non-compete will show the employee was fully apprised of the agreement and it wasn’t one of 10 forms they signed when employment began.  From an employee’s side, there may come a time when they are considering changing jobs and need to evaluate how or if the employer’s non-competes have been enforced in the past.

The large company may be unwilling to negotiate.  A smaller company might.  Either way you don’t know until you ask.