Assessing a job offer

No matter what your reason for seeking employment, searching for a job is hard work. Scanning job board adverts, researching companies, sending out CVs and attending multiple interviews can be a lengthy process.

If you're like most job seekers, you're elated - or at least relieved- when your efforts result in an offer. But before you rush to accept a job offer, take the time to consider it fully.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine whether a job is a good fit for you:

Consider the job description

This may be the single most important factor in assessing an offer from a potential employer. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will you enjoy the day-to-day duties of the job?
  • Will you be challenged?
  • Is the level of responsibility appropriate considering your career experience?
  • Will you be able to work well with your boss and colleagues?
  • Are you willing to make any required lifestyle changes (travel, longer hours, longer commute) that may affect your quality of life?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, accepting the position might make you miserable.

Evaluate the company

How well do the company's corporate values fit with your own? A business that expects 12-hour days when you only want to work eight is probably not a good fit for you. Also consider the work style of your future boss and colleauges, try to assess whether or not there could be personality conflicts down the road.

Review the compensation package

How does the salary they're offering compare to what you made in your last position? Take a look at the benefits package. How attractive or generous are the perks (stock options, tuition reimbursement, holidays, etc.)? If you're considering two offers, these additional benefits could be the deciding factor.
If an offer meets most of your requirements but doesn't include a benefit that's important to you, it doesn't hurt to ask if that perk could be included in your agreement.

Counter offers

It is important that you are aware that despite your desire to move on from your current job, your current employers will be keen to keep you. More often than not the day you resign you will be offered a raise and/or possible promotion. Although these counter-offers may be attractive it is important to know the risks of accepting a counter-offer.

Statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm the fact that over 80% of those who accept a counter-offer are not with the company 6 months later. When assessing a counter offer it is important you consider:

  • Your reasons for wanting to leave will still exist. They'll just be slightly more tolerable in the short-term because of the raises, promotion or promises made to keep you.
  • Keep in mind that employers are likely making a counter offer much more for their benefit than yours. Why did they wait until you resigned to offer you what you're really worth to them? Counter-offers are sometimes nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.
  • By resigning you demonstrate disloyalty in the eyes of your employer. You will lose your place in the inner circle and be considered a flight-risk.

Careful consideration of the issues discussed above will help you reach an informed decision to accept, negotiate or reject the offer. If, after evaluating each of these points, you are still unsure, listen to your gut instinct. Maybe there is something about the corporate culture that makes you uncomfortable- if so, it's probably wise to trust your instincts and decline. Accepting a new job is a big step and you want to go into the arrangement knowing all the facts. With a thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons you'll be prepared to make the best decision for your career.


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