When you receive a job offer you must decide if you would like the job. Most companies give you a few days to make this decision, use those days wisely.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupational Outlook Handbook
NACE Jobweb resources
There are a few resources to help you along the way. Check out the following steps outlined by renowned career counselor Thomas Denham.
1. Job Content – Will you be doing what you initially thought when you read the advertisement. Have the job duties changed? Are there additional job duties that came to light in the interview process? Are you comfortable with those duties?
2. Your boss – You will likely be reporting to this person for the next few years, do you think you can have a good working relationship? Will you feel comfortable going to this person with questions? Remember you spend around 40 hours per week at work, considering who you work with is important.
3. Salary and benefits – Is the salary competitive for the position, responsibilities, company size and geographic location? What about the benefits package. Sometimes you might receive additional benefits to make up for a lower salary or vice versa. Look at the whole package including health benefits (medical insurance, dental, vision, short term disability, and long term disability to name some), vacation, sick time, tuition assistance, retirement packages, flexible work hours, and the ability to work from home are all benefits to consider.
4. Your co-workers – Remember, you will be spending a large portion of your week with these people so make sure you feel comfortable working with them.
5. Typical work week – How many hours will you be working on average? When you accept a salary position there is typically no overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per week. Will you be expected to work long hours? What is the company norm? What is expected from employees? Will you be kept busy enough?
6. Location – How long does it take you to get to work? Is your commute so long that you will be sacrificing more time away from home? Does the location lend itself to unpredictable traffic that can cause long delays? Will you be moving for your job? Do you like the new location and community? Is there enough to do on the weekends? Location can be a very important factor in job satisfaction.
7. Organizational flexibility – Is the organization open to new ideas or rigid? Is flexibility important to you? Is the company too flexible and not structured enough?
Negotiating can cover salary, benefits, as well as time to decide an offer. It is critical to do your homework before entering a negotiation and to keep it professional. Negotiating is not personal, so try not to take it personally!
The first step to a successful salary negotiation is knowing your market value, and the value of the position. Consider qualifications, education level, benefits and geographic location when evaluating a salary offer. You might decide that you don’t need to negotiate and that the offer is fair. If you do feel you wish to consider negotiating do you homework. You can find out salary information at a few places including salary.com, The Occupational Outlook Handbook, NACE Jobweb, “The Salary Calculator”, Glassdoor.com.
A few points to remember. Negotiating is not like bartering for that mirror you found at a flea market. You want to show your interest in the position while proposing an alternative to the offer you were presented. Most times when a company cannot move on salary it is because they have a fixed budget for the position and don’t have extra funds.
Don’t fixate on salary. If a company cannot accommodate your request for a higher salary there is also room with benefits such as vacation, tuition remission, retirement packages, etc. For example, a company might be willing to give a few more days of vacation in lieu of a higher salary. Tuition benefits are also a great benefit because continuing education can get expensive.
You must also decide if you are willing to take the position if the company will not change their offer based on your proposal. You might not always get exactly what you want, so you should determine ahead of time what your bottom level salary and benefits package so you know when to say ok and when to walk away.
If you are unable to reach a fair salary agreement and feel you must decline the offer, be sure to do so with grace. You never know where you might see the people you are negotiating with again, and people tend to remember unpleasant encounters. Make sure you are never "That guy/gal!"