You've done it! You impressed the employer with your professional resume and correspondence and aced the interview. You have been offered the job! All you have to do is say, “Yes,” right? Not so fast! There are many things to consider before accepting a job. How much the position pays is typically on top of everybody's list. There are other issues that should not be overlooked that can affect your compensation and quality of life. Here’s a quick guide to assist you in weighing the job offer.
See it in writing
Secure the details of the offer by seeing it in writing. People are often notified over the phone of the offer. Write all of the details of the offer down for your personal review. This will prevent confusion in the future. Include the basics, starting with your salary, duties, hours, location, supervisor and job title.
Now you can ask those questions that are forbidden in the initial interviews. When you have a job offer in hand, ask about vacation, health coverage, education allowance, stock options, bonuses and relocation expenses, if applicable.
Can I negotiate salary?
Students often ask how to negotiate salary. Make sure that you have realistic expectations with regard to salary first. If you do decide to negotiate, the bottom line is…do your research. You do not want to undersell your skills or price yourself out of the market. Calculate the average salary for candidates with your educational background and experience by using salary surveys and factor in the cost of living for the geographic area. Then tell the potential employer what sets you apart from the pack and why you deserve more.
The prospective employer will want an answer as quickly as possible. If you have another offer, or expect to receive one soon, make sure that you give yourself ample time to consider both. A few days is not an unreasonable request, but be sure not to overdo it. The prospective employer will think you are not serious about the organization.
Take a stand
After careful evaluation of the details, you are left with other things to consider such as the culture and personal "fit" with the organization. Decide what you want, and then take your stand.
Accepting the job
Contact the hiring manager by phone when you accept a position and then follow up with a mailed letter, confirming your acceptance. You’ll want to keep the letter short, but state the agreed-upon salary and any other terms along with the start date. Remember, when you’ve taken a stand, stick to it! Backing out will be detrimental to any work with the organization in the future and potentially harmful to your network.
Declining an offer
Don’t burn any bridges! Be sure to thank the interviewer. It can take a lot of time in their schedule to conduct interviews. It’s hard to turn down a job when you only have one offer, but if you have found another position to be a better choice after evaluation, tell the interviewer why you found another job more challenging and why you accepted it.