Most people greet a job offer with excitement. Once your happiness subsides, it's time to get down to business and evaluate exactly what's being promised to you. A good sense of what you really want, combined with a realistic understanding of what you're going to get is the best approach to take. You should already know the salary range and some of the potential perks of the position before applying to ensure that you are not wasting your time and that of the company. Knowing what you want and the minimums you have set for yourself eliminates a time-consuming negotiation process and makes your assessment of the offer itself that much easier.
Your compensation package will likely consist of several components with salary leading the way. Other benefits may include health insurance, a retirement plan, paid sick and vacation days and a host of other possible perks like a signing bonus or company car. If time off is more important to you than family health coverage, treat it as such and assign it a higher value in comparison. If the salary is lower than you would like but the perks around it are more than you expected, you must weigh the total significance of each and determine what matters more to you. Make a chart with columns for the pluses and minuses of the offer so that you can clearly see where you stand and what needs to change for you to be able to accept.
Review the requirements and responsibilities involved with the position. Compare the hours you will be expected to work with the salary you will be earning to determine how much you will really be making when all is said and done. Weigh the amount of travel and the time you will be asked to spend away from your family and determine whether the position is a good fit in ways other than your finances. Determine whether the position is a logical next step in your career path and whether it will ultimately help you reach your goals. If the position is not right for you, the job offer may not be the one to take.
When evaluating a job offer, it is important to determine whether you will have a clear path toward growth within your new company. If you are coming into a job with all the skills and experience required, and a firm grasp of the work at hand, it won't be long until you are looking for more of a challenge and a chance to stretch your abilities once again. If the chance to move ahead matters to you, investigate the possibilities before agreeing to any offers. Consider the work you'll be doing and whether it is something you've done in the past. Determine whether you will enjoy the work and whether it will make you happy, as well as employed.
Compare your offer letter closely with the offer as described by human resources or your new employer when they called to inform you of their intent. In some cases, whether due to error, miscommunication or a change of plans, the two may not align perfectly. Don't be afraid to contact the HR department and ask if there was a mistake in the offer. If not, contact the person who hired you and go over what you expected and were told versus what you see before you now. This is also a good time to explain that you are willing to stretch your duties beyond those described in the letter and that you have no fear of taking on more responsibility. Your enthusiastic attitude can do nothing but improve your standing from day one.
If you receive more than one offer, or if you have met with more than one company and suspect that another offer may be on it's way in the near future, tell the first employer that you are grateful and that you wish to contemplate the details of the package for a few days. This is an understandable and expected part of the negotiation process and should not harm your candidacy in any way. Compare the two offers for differences in all components and determine which suits you best. Compare the two positions, the work you'll be doing and other nuts and bolts factors like location and time off. If there is a clear winner, inform the other of your choice to decline. If you can't decide, perform further research into the two companies, their potential for growth and the possible negatives. Then let your overall assessment make the decision for you.
- Monster: Job-Offer Evaluation Checklist
- Harvard University Office of Career Services: Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers
- Black Collegian: How to Evaluate a Job Offer
- Monster: Evaluate a Job Offer
- The Wall Street Journal: Getting an Offer Right
- US News Money: How to Juggle Multiple Job Offers
- Forbes: How to Turn Down a Job Offer
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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