How to evaluate and navigate job offers

Job and internship offers come in a variety of forms. You may receive an offer over the phone, in writing, or sometimes even in person. If you are completely sure you are going to take the job, you can accept immediately. More often, when you receive an offer, you must carefully weigh whether to accept it. The Weston Career Center offers these tips for successfully navigating job offers:

Look before you leap

There are many factors to consider, such as location, salary, and benefits. Avoid making a hasty decision. Research and evaluate these factors to determine whether the job truly is a good match for your career goals. Respond to your offer professionally and with enthusiasm, and arrange the next steps with the person making the offer.

Most companies will give you a deadline and lead time to allow you to consider the offers. Some employers expect you to negotiate and do not make their best offer initially. Other employers have rigid pay systems with little flexibility. Determine beforehand the type of organization with which you are dealing. Once a company makes an offer, the ball is in your court. Ask for the offer in writing in order to have solid information on which to base your decisions.

Determine important factors

Before you can know how closely an offer matches your goals, interests, and values, you must know what they are. When considering a job at a particular company, prioritize these factors.

  • Work/life balance
  • Personal values
  • Salary/signing bonus
  • Level of responsibility, challenge, and intensity
  • Team versus independent work environment
  • Opportunities to use your skills, expertise, and interests
  • Learning, helping, and decision-making opportunities
  • Whether you like and fit into the culture
  • Geographic location
  • Physical environment and working conditions in the workplace

Consider all factors

Give yourself time to consider all factors. Make arrangements to call the person back to ask additional questions. Next, evaluate how well the position matches your career goals. Finally, prepare questions about other position details that have not been addressed.

Consider the following factors:

  • Does the company clearly define your responsibilities in the job description?
  • Do you understand the reporting relationship and organizational structure?
  • With whom will you be working?
  • Have you met your team members?
  • What else do you need to know to evaluate whether the culture is a good fit for you?
  • Given the company’s financial performance, are you taking any short-term or long-term risks in accepting the position?
  • What formal, informal, on-the-job, or external training does the company provide?
  • When and how does the company evaluate and reward performance?
  • When are the typical raises and bonuses for employees at your level?
  • When is the starting date?
  • When and how does the company provide relocation assistance?
  • Do you understand the benefits package? Benefits can add another 30–40 percent to your compensation.

Before you negotiate, gather information

Collect information

Doing your research can help you establish a salary range for the job and other benchmarks for each element of your offer package.

  • Visit salary websites.
  • Network with current and past employees in the company and in the career field. Olin alumni are excellent sources. Also, ask about benefits, bonuses, commissions, perks, moving expenses, and compensation structure.
  • Check salary statistics provided on the WCC website. Data is available by job function and geographic location.

Compile information about cost of living

  • Review websites that offer cost-of-living comparisons.
  • Speak to contacts who live in the area.

Determine how much income you need

  • Establish the minimum income to “get by” and the maximum you could be making under ideal circumstances.
  • Estimate monthly expenses.

Assess the demand for your skills and experience in the marketplace

  • Talk to alumni and the WCC career advisor to learn how strong your negotiating position is in the current market.

Could you use the support of the Weston Career Center or Management Communication Center? Schedule an appointment today. 

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