Offer Stage

You have completed your site visit and all has appeared to have gone well. The phone rings and it’s the human resource manager from the company where you interviewed. It’s a job offer! So what do you do now?

Evaluating the Job Offer

There are several ways to evaluate a job offer. No one expects you to accept the opportunity over the phone with this first call. However, if you have thoroughly evaluated the opportunity, want it, you have already determined what it will take to get you on board, the offer meets your expectations, and you are ready, then it is OK to accept. Make sure you preface your acceptance contingent on the review of the written offer.

When most offers are made, an answer is not expected right away. The caller may desire some feedback, but most companies will allow you time to review and give an answer. The industry norm is five working days to evaluate the offer. Some companies will give you ten working days before resending the offer, and some, depending on the circumstances, will allow you more time.

When considering a job offer, consider:

  • Work environment
  • Location and/or relocation and cost of living
  • Relocation expenses provided as part of the offer
  • The commute if not relocating
  • Potential, growth, job security
  • Type of work
  • Benefits or other incentives that add value to the overall compensation
    • Bonuses (sign on, quarterly, annual)
    • Paid vacation (industry norm ten days first year)
    • Insurance (health, vision, dental, life, counseling/metal health)
    • Paid sick leave
    • Personal days
    • Savings, profit sharing, stocks, stock options, discounted stock purchase
    • Pension (401K)
    • Education reimbursement
    • Child care
    • Company car or car allowance
    • Computer
    • Phone card or cell phone
    • Telecommuting

If relocation is required for this job, then cost of living is an important consideration when evaluating your job offer. There are several web sites available that provide great assistance with this endeavor.
See www.homefair.com.  In addition to providing a salary calculator (tool used to help illustrate cost of living throughout the US) www.homefair.com provides information about most any location such as: Schools, city data, crime, moving calculator, real estate information and much more.

Negotiating a Job Offer

Have you ever heard, “Never accept the first offer?” I’m sure it was advice provided by someone with good intentions, however, I would encourage you to respond, “Why?” What makes you think there will be a second offer? Or a third? There is no particular established specific job offer number that it the right one. Evaluate the job offer and determine if it is a fair offer that meets to your satisfaction. If so, do not blow the opportunity; accept in a timely manner once you have decided it is a good offer.

Do not propose a counter offer just because, “That’s what you do.” Anytime you propose a counter offer, be well prepared to justify your counter and be prepared to lose the offer altogether if your counter in not agreed to by the employer. Therefore, prior to making a counter offer, be sure that the issue is so serious you would not take the job unless it was changed.

When negotiating your compensation, keep in mind that the negotiating process is not limited to just the salary. There could be advantages to negotiating a sign on bonus to seal the deal, or increasing a sign on bonus. Basically, in addition to the salary, any of the benefits listed above can be made part of the negotiating process and that might give the employer more flexibility in meeting your overall compensation requirements, without adjusting your salary.

If salary is the issue, be sure you know the salary range you will accept. Having a range is better than an exact figure because it will allow for compromise. Additionally, find out what the industry norm is, as best you can, for the position you are being considered for and use that information to temper your request.

If you negotiate to a salary that is close to meeting your expectations, but you are confident you bring more value to the company, you can sometimes compromise by accepting the job and asking for a review sooner than company policy normally allows. The industry norm is an annual review. Negotiate a six month review and if you prove your point through your performance, then expect a reward proportional to your productivity.

Remember, be well prepared and justify your counter offer. When countering, investigate benefits that might go beyond salary but still improve on the overall compensation.

Career Planning Guide

Assessment & Career Counseling - Tools to help you clarify your career choices and identify jobs that might suit you.

Research - How do you find information on the things your are interested.

Networking - Links to other information sources related to careers, job searching, relocation, transition assistance, and more.

Resumes - Preparing your resume.

Interviewing - Communicating who you are and why you can do the job.

Offer Stage - Getting the compensation package you want requires knowledge of the market.