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3 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

November 17, 2012

Many active candidates may not be in a position or have the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of accepting a job offer from a company.  With today’s high unemployment rate, it is probably more critical to find a job in order to sustain and support one’s own livelihood.  Everyone has a different set of personal circumstances that factors in when making such a decision.  There is not a magic formula or secret algorithm out there for determining whether or not a job offer is good for you.

If you are in a position to be more selective when deciding whether a job is right for you, then take the time to thoroughly assess the opportunity.  However, weighing the pros and cons can easily be overwhelming and the last thing you want to do is to make a hasty decision that you will regret later on.  Here are 3 factors to keep in mind when you’re making that oh-so-important decision of “to accept or not to accept” a job offer.

Insight #1: THE CULTURE

It is difficult to weigh the pros and cons of any culture such as a corporation, an agency, a non-profit, or a startup.   Every company has its own unique culture and work environment.  It’s important to decide which you would thrive in if you were to join the organization.  For instance, if you are more of an individual worker who likes structure and competition, the corporate path may be for you.  If you want a fast-paced environment that’s new every day, an agency or start-up may be a better choice for you.

Look at your Facebook or LinkedIn connections of former employees that you can reach out and ask them to share their experiences at the company.  Also, look up the company on Glassdoor.com and check out the reviews of what people are saying about the company.  If there is high turnover, recent lay-offs, or restructuring, then these factors may be “red flags” for you to explore further.  Nothing is worse than going to a miserable work environment every morning — and even worse, taking that unhappiness home with you, too.

Insight #2: THE WORKFORCE

Money may not be the number one consideration for accepting a job offer —it’s engaged employees.  What matters most are the employees that you will be interacting on a frequent basis – Your manager, your team members and the co-workers that will surround you everyday are crucial for your happiness and success at a job.  Sure, it is hard to judge people after only meeting them briefly during the interview process, but think about how they treated you during your interactions with them.

Did they go out of their way to be friendly?

Did they ask personal questions as well as professional ones?

Were they prepared for the interview and read in advance my resume?

Do the workers care about their jobs and their organizations?

Are they stressed out?

What was the interaction like among others?

Did they call you back in a timely manner?

If you are still not sure, then ask the recruiter to come in again or meet the hiring manager for coffee to discuss the details of the offer.  The more interactions you have as a “candidate” the more insights you may gain on how your future peers, co-workers and manager will treat you as an employee.

Insight #3: THE BENJAMINS

Within my own professional network, I have been asked many times for advice on how to negotiate a better job offer whether it’s 10%, 15% or 25% more than his/her current role.  Many candidates get caught in the “show me the money” mindset as they try to negotiate for more money.  When assessing a new job opportunity, often the most tempting thing to do is to focus only on the “money”, but that is not necessarily the right approach.  Take it from me — I have accepted jobs for the money and hated it.  I have also accepted lesser paying jobs to work somewhere that I truly enjoy doing.  Over the years, I have learned that money is only a small part of my happiness at work.

Before you start to haggling for more compensation, consider what salary you could live with to take care of your core essentials, as well as the amount that would make a job offer irresistible.  Every job has a market value based on critical skills, requirements, years of experience, type of industry, etc..   You may be able to negotiate a competitive salary depending on the size of the company and the nature of the business.  At times, there is no wiggle room – take it or leave it.  When reviewing the details of a job offer, think more about the whole package such as discretionary bonuses, employee stock purchase plans, 401(k) matching, etc and less about the numbers on your monthly paycheck.

It is important to evaluate the offer you have received.  You do not want to a take a job that does not provide you with what you need to be and feel successful.  Remember though, the offer extends beyond the pay rate.  Look at the benefits, training, career development, perks, work environment, hours, location and other things that you may value in a potential workplace.

Finally, listen to your gut – if it is telling you not to take the job, there just might be something there.  Keep in mind, that if this is not the right job for you, it is not the end of the world.  The next job offer might just be that perfect match.

Oh and one last thing, whether you are accepting or rejecting a job offer, it is a good idea to let the company know your decision in writing.  In both cases, be polite, brief and to the point.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments or suggestions about considering a job offer.  Like us and join the conversation.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

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