You're Hired! Evaluating Your Job Offer
It's time to carefully evaluate your job offer and we can help.
Remember, however, if you are uncomfortable with any
of the conditions of the offer, do not commit to it.
Magical words to the
ears of every graduating student. With a job offer finally in
hand, you may want to take a deep breath, celebrate the moment,
and jig around the room, whatever you need to do to celebrate.
You deserve a celebration!...But when you finish it,
don't sail away into euphoria just yet. You still have some
unfinished business. It's time for you to roll up your sleeves
and enter into one of the most critical phases of your job
search campaign; it's time to carefully evaluate and if
necessary negotiate your job offer.
Manage the Moment
When a job offer is extended, it's amazing how quickly the
moment can shift from celebration to gut-wrenching anxiety.
Being a little uncomfortable is ok and quite frankly a very
natural response to having to suddenly engage in a sensitive
and potentially life-altering discussion. As they say, life
sometimes comes down to a few defining moments that can
change the course of our lives. But if you follow the steps
outlined in this article and are prepared, you will be
confident, capable, and ready to manage and fully optimize
Preparing to Succeed: Things you should know moving into this
Know the projected salary of the position. By
thoroughly researching industry websites such as
Salary.com, you will have current and accurate information
on salary trends across industries and geographical
locations. Remember to carefully compare the cost of living
in specific geographical locations to accurately determine
the real value of a job offer by an employer. A $50,000
salary has a very different value in Durham, N.C. than in
New York City.
Consider the "hidden compensation" value of a job
offer. Including the amount of employer
contribution to health benefits, 401k plans, pension plans,
tuition assistance. Also consider the long-term value of
in-house executive training, child-care assistance,
performance bonus incentives, relocation fees, signing
bonuses, free gym facilities, and more.
Research the potential lifestyle value and
impact of accepting an offer with a particular
employer. Assess factors such as diversity in the
organization, commuting time, parking arrangements,
required travel, time away from family or loved ones,
typical work hours, community service opportunities,
populations you will interact with, and more.
Consider whether working for this organization will
increase your long-term value in the job market.
Let's face it, working for some organizations regardless of
salary is like money in the bank because of the prestige,
training, professional experiences, and networking you will
have earned the right to professionally associate with and
market to future employers and sometimes for substantially
Remember the more you ask for, the higher the
expectations. In today's competitive job market,
employers have very high expectations for employees who are
hired at the higher end of their position's salary scale.
Sometimes entering into an organization with a lower salary
can actually better position you in the long run for a more
appropriate development cycle or career path, training,
mentoring, and more realistic performance expectations.
Unfortunately if your "excellent" negotiation skills land
you additional compensation, they may also land you a
one-way ticket to the door if you are unable to perform to
the higher levels that will be expected.
Consider whether the organization has a reputation
for career advancement of its professionals.
The question here is "Do high performers in the
organization get rewarded for their efforts." The
answer to this question is always, officially on the
record, "yes" by the employer. The "real story" is however
better identified through current employees that you can
usually access through the career-services office, alumni
networks and the alumni-affairs office, faculty, friends,
and family with contacts in the organization.
Take time to outline the most important components of
your ideal job offer for the position you have
interviewed for. Mentally note, but do not share with the
employer, areas that you consider more negotiable than
Schedule a meeting with a career-services
professional to review specific hiring practices
and compensation packages offered by employers you have
Consider rehearsing your job offer
discussion. This may sound silly to some, but even
some of the most competent and effective communicators
practice discussing key messages and issues that may arise
in important meetings. If interested see a career-services
professional to role play the job offer discussion and
offer feedback on your performance.
Key Elements of an Effective Evaluation Discussion
Remember that at this phase of the process it is
business, not personal. Hard assessments of your
"professional value," value attributed to your education,
experiences, and area of study can seem a bit cold and
insensitive, especially when you are experiencing this
process for the fist time. Welcome to the world of work!
Over time you will get used to the many assessments,
performance evaluations, and "measurable standards"
attributed to your talents, experiences, and capabilities.
Try your best to trust the system, in spite
of the many documented disparities, indiscretions, and
other negatives that are reported. At this point in your
career you first need to get into the game before you can
be an agent of change.
Set the tone of the actual conversation by
enthusiastically thanking the employer for the offer.
Discuss some of the high points of previous interactions
with the organization and positive lessons you have learned
about the employer in this process. If talking on the
telephone consider standing up for the feeling of
additional confidence and control.
Listen carefully to the employer and the
details that he or she presents concerning the offer. Do
not interrupt the employer's initial presentation of the
offer to give him or her the opportunity to fully discuss
the offer and all of the key components of the compensation
package. If possible try to write these specifications down
for questions and discussion when the employer is finished.
Do not hesitate to ask for additional time if
necessary to provide you with the opportunity to carefully
review the offer. Important decisions of this nature
sometime require additional time for you to review all of
the factors involved. Do not comment on concerns at this
point if you are not prepared to do so. It is recommended
that if there are elements of the offer you have some
concerns about that you do some additional research,
contact a career services representative or other trusted
advisor to share your concerns and to discuss your options.
Rehash elements of the job offer with the
employer in an attempt to clarify your
understanding of the offer. This will give the employer the
opportunity to correct or adjust any elements that need to
be further clarified.
Ask questions about gaps in the job offer
versus what you anticipated. Remember to back up your
questions with your research from credible industry
sources, "not because my roommate told me." The key here is
to maintain a very calm demeanor and open mind, and to
frame your question(s) in a manner that show your sincere
interest to work with the employer to achieve a "win-win"
Remember, unrealistic and unsubstantiated
demands in this process will hurt your credibility and
could cost you in ultimately landing the best possible job
What to do if you have two or more job offers?
If you have two or more job offers, congratulations. You're
good! But don't believe your own press just yet. The key to
working through multiple job offers is honesty,
professionalism, and being true to your own personal and
This is not the time to become arrogant and try to play one
employer against another. You will always lose that battle if
you do that, because even if hired by one organization there
will always be the potential for your employer to have
lingering resentment of how you handled a job offer, not to
mention the lost credibility that will follow you into your
new employer because of your behavior.
Share with each of the employers that have made you job
offers that you have received multiple offers and that you
would like to take some additional time to review the offers
and make the best possible decision. If necessary give both
employers a set time for you to give your decision regarding
which offer you will accept. If one salary or item in one
offer is more appealing than the other, let the employer with
the less appealing offer know that you would be interested in
their organization, but that the offer from the other
organization is closer to your expectations in that
particular area. Remain professional and pleasant with both
employers involved in this process. Once you have finally
decided which offer to accept, you must honor your commitment
to that employer. To do otherwise may reflect poorly on not
only your credibility, but also that of your college or
university, hurting other students who would otherwise
benefit from the continued recruitment of the organization at
If after you have completed the process of openly and
honestly discussing the terms and conditions of the job offer
and if you and the employer are both comfortable with the
agreement, formally close the deal.
Remember, however, if you are uncomfortable with any
of the conditions of the offer, do not commit to it. Ask for
time to review it in more detail, and if necessary to discuss
your concerns with a career-services professional and then
openly share your concerns with the employer. If you are
unable to come to terms that meet your expectations do not
accept the offer, and thank the employer for their interest.
Final points in closing the deal:
Have the employer send you a written copy of the offer for
your official records.
Verify the date and times you are to report to work.
Confirm any need for you to attend any orientation before
Ask the employer whether there is information about the
organization or clients that they recommend you to review
before your arrival.
Map out your directions to work. Reporting late on the
first day looks very unprofessional!
Notify your career-services office and your academic
department that you have accepted the position for their
records so that they may appropriately congratulate you.
Now you may sail away into euphoria! Well at least
until you have to show up for your new job!
Source: Black Collegian
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