Your job search objective is a new job, but don’t overlook the importance of asking the right questions when you receive a job offer. It's hard to do, especially if you've been job-hunting for a while, but resist the urge to immediately accept the job without negotiating. The job offer is one time when you have the most leverage with the employer. The right questions about a job offer can mean a higher salary, more benefits and the employer’s respect.
The best way to remain the candidate that the employer wants is to prepare for the job offer before it is presented. Consider what you want and what you need out of a job and make a list. For example, if your minimum acceptable salary is $80,000 a year, write that in a needs column of a wants and needs list. Do this with vacation time, perks and benefits, and any other conditions of the position. With this list, prepare talking points and questions to ask when you receive a job offer.
Ask for a Written Job Offer
If you’ve gone through the entire interview process and the employer makes a verbal job offer, ask for the job offer in writing. If the verbal offer is in person, remain calm, show little emotion and be polite, whether the offer is shockingly low or surprisingly high. Thank the employer, express your continued interest in the position and say “I am happy about your confidence in me and in your job offer. Could I get that in writing to give it my full consideration?”
Ask for Time
When a written job offer is presented, ask for time to consider the offer. Politely thank the employer for the job offer and ask questions such as “At first glance, this looks like a terrific opportunity and I appreciate your selection. How much time do I have to consider your offer?” or “Today is Tuesday. Could I get back to you about your offer on Thursday?”
Ask About Benefits and Perks
Many employers present information about total benefits along with formal written job offers. If your job offer only includes a description of the position and a salary offer, ask about company benefits and perks. You could say, “This is an attractive offer. I appreciate it and wonder whether I could ask about medical, dental and life insurance, and retirement plans?” or “Does this offer come with employment benefits like insurance and 401k plan?”.
- The Essentials of Job Negotiations: Proven Strategies for Getting What You Want; Terri R. Kertzberg and Charles E. Naquin
- Perfect Phrases for Negotiating Salary and Job Offers; Matthew DeLuca and Nanette DeLuca
- Negotiating Your Salary; M.A. Jack Chapman
Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.