Evaluating a Job Offer
“We’d like you to join our team. What do you say?”
Sometimes, we can get so caught up in trying to impress potential employers—in getting them to want us, that we forget about one fundamental question: do we want them?
Often, we’re inclined to jump at the first offer, especially after a long and arduous job search. However, most experts agree that it’s wise to take a bit of time before settling on an offer, especially when keeping the long-term in mind.
In other words: don’t settle on the first offer, only to realize within the first few days—after it’s too late—that it’s not for you. This can lead to stress and frustration as you desperately push yourself in order to keep the job and the security that it brings; alternatively, if you decide to quit as soon as you discover it’s not what you wanted, you might scare off future employers by developing a reputation as a job-hopper.
Once you receive an offer, thank your potential future employer and ask them for some time to think about their offer. Go home, and celebrate a great accomplishment! Then, consider the following:
How does their offer compare? Research starting salaries and benefits for positions similar to yours at other companies, and compare this to what they’re offering. Websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com offer this service for free. If your offer seems too low, perhaps you can negotiate for more. If it seems too high to be true, it might be wise to dig deeper and see what exactly will be expected of you before you jump on board.
Also, look into the quality of the offer as it relates to the quantity of the salary. Maybe the company offers flexibility or great insurance options. Is the location ideal for you? Do they have a generous bonus package or other perks? Take all of these factors into consideration and hold your bottom line as you enter the negotiation room.
Where will this position get you? Okay, so maybe the pay isn’t ideal and the hours are long. However, this company has a track record of fast promotions. How closely related to your passions or ultimate goal is this position? Is there room for lateral movement as well as vertical? Figure out your priorities and ask yourself these important questions before accepting the position.
Do you like the culture? Culture at work comes from a variety of factors: industry, geography, the company itself, and even specific managers or coworkers. Before you sign on the dotted line with a company, it’s important that you do your best to get a sense what it’s going to be like working there and make sure that’s what you want. Workplace culture is one of the most important factors of your day-to-day happiness, yet it’s often overlooked by jobseekers until it’s too late.
What’s the area like? How close is the office to where you live? If you’re relocating: what is your potential new neighborhood like? Consider all of the features that make life good, such as public transportation, cost of living, quality of schools, and the kind and availability of nightlife and culture, and anything else you find important.
When opportunity comes to the door, it’s easy to let the thrill of the knock distract us from doing our due diligence in making sure all of our decisions and moves are informed. If it’s not a fit, don’t get discouraged. Rather, measure success by the achievement of being offered the position in the first place. As long as you do it gently and professionally, and with the tools provided here to help weigh the pros and cons, there is no reason to fear saying no.
Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and career ninja. He is part of Open Colleges Blog. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick (at) oc.edu.au.