If you’ve been looking for a job to start in the new year, it’s time to think about how you’ll assess a job offer. Just because you’re offered a job doesn’t mean you’ll take the job or necessarily accept the terms offered. A job offer is the kickoff to a negotiation process. Negotiating it is part of your personal business strategy to make sure you get the most advantageous terms possible for the position.
Assessment Begins with the Interview
What should you assess? Assessment really begins with the interview. Keep your eyes and ears open for information about whether you’d like to work for the company then.
First: What signs and signals about the company culture and the position did you perceive during the interview. An organizational culture is very important to your eventual fit. Without a good fit, you may not do well in a firm no matter how talented you are. Did you feel comfortable with the interviewers and the hiring manager? Did they seem comfortable with you?
Second: Were the duties of the position clear? A good company will have a clear vision of what position they’re interviewing for. You should have a good sense of what you’ll do and what role you’ll play. Without a clear vision on the company’s part, there’s no firm goal for you to hit. That can set any employee up for failure.
Third: Is a clear promotional path available? Do you know the types of jobs people in your position have moved to? It’s always a good idea to ask about potential promotions. It gives you a sense of whether you can stay with the company long term.
Companies expect some negotiation.
What the Job Offer Should Contain
Although you may be told you have the job over the phone, most companies also send a formal job offer. It itemizes your title, duties, and start date. It should also spell out your salary, any bonus considerations and when they are paid, and benefits. Do not accept the job until you have received this job offer and had some time to review it.
Companies should expect some negotiation of the offer. The only exception is for entry-level positions. People at that stage of their careers may not have much leverage to negotiate. Important considerations include the following…
Is the salary what you expected? Is it within the acceptable range for the industry and your position? Research what the going salary is for your position. If it is lower than you expected, make a case for why it should be higher.
If an organization won’t or can’t meet a reasonable salary offer, it can be a red flag. Your beginning salary is highly important to your entire career because raises and bonuses are usually based on percentages.
Don’t hesitate to walk away if you really can’t live with the salary. Find an organization that can recognize and reward your worth.
Benefits & Perks
Review the benefits and perks. Make sure they are at least standard, and acceptable to you.
Look at the company’s provisions for health insurance, life insurance, and retirement. How much do they pay for premiums and into your retirement fund? How much do you pay?
How much vacation will you receive? How many paid holidays? (Ten is standard.) Is sick time one of the benefits? Is it possible to work from home some of the time?
Job offers are highly important. You should receive the offer in writing and review it carefully before accepting any job.