Sandra J. Bishop, president of Executive Solutions, is an executive coach and career strategist.
You have worked hard, aced all interviews and now you get the job offer and begin to think you are sitting in the “cat-bird’s seat.” Not so fast! If you have been engaged in the proactive job search, the urge is to accept the job offer right on the spot. I would encourage you to not.
While the offer is being extended to you, your primary and only responsibility is to listen carefully and take notes. Once all the details have been communicated, ask the HR person or hiring manager if you could repeat back the specifics of the offer as you heard them. Be very clear. Ask any questions that have come up for you. If the compensation is in keeping with your expectations (because you have done all your research, and understand the value of the position you are interviewing for), thank the person for the offer If the compensation is insulting, you can say, “the money is disappointing.” Ask about signing bonuses, and relocation costs, if your new job is in another city – your new employer may be willing to pick up the tab.
As a coach, I recommend my clients weigh the pros and cons before accepting the offer. Think about the offer as a whole, and not just in a paycheck sense. If your prospective employer refuses and will not budge, see if you can live with the original offer. If you can’t, you may need to start looking elsewhere. If the company falls short in one area, see if there are areas that exceed your expectations.
Now ask if you can have two business days to review the offer. If you are pushed to make a decision on the spot, do your best to avoid having to commit. If your offer is complicated (i.e. stock options, variable vacation and benefits, etc.), you will need to take time to carefully review.
I offer this brief checklist
Job Offer Checklist —
- Job Content – What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
- Salary – Please note this is base.
- Compensation – This is the sum total of salary and benefits.
- Hours/ Schedule
- Location – If you work from home, do you have an efficient set-up that is paid for by the company?
- Work Environment – Do you have an office or a cubicle?
- Company Culture
- Growth – Do they do succession planning?
- Travel – Will you have a company credit card or will you have to use your own? If you use your own, how long before reimbursement?
When it comes time to accepting the position, please confirm the offer in writing, e-mail and hard cover, incorporating the following points:
- Thanks and appreciation for the opportunity
- Written acceptance of the job offer
- The terms and conditions of employment (salary, benefits)
- Starting date of employment
One last note: No matter how long your job search has taken, care enough about yourself to take a couple of weeks off to clear the cob-webs out of your head, to re-energize your body, mind, heart and soul, and get excited about your new career opportunity! Good luck!