Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers
Not every job interview you go on will result in a job offer. In fact, you may often hear the word "no" in response to your applications. Don't be discouraged, though, because it only takes one "yes" for you to be starting a new career. Before you say yes to any offer, however, be sure you know to what you're agreeing. Start by considering the things that are important to you and your family.
- Potential, job growth and security
- Salary and benefits
- Type of work
Know what you want and need. Most of all, make sure you have realistic expectations. We would all like to earn high salaries, but the salary you can expect for any job will vary a great deal. Your experience, skills and training will determine what the employer is prepared to pay. The location of the job is also a major factor in determining salary. Look at Internet job sites, newspaper want ads and ask people working in similar jobs to find out what is reasonable.
Compare jobs one against another. For each job you're offered, list the pros and cons and evaluate the offers based on your and your family's priorities.
- Your interest in the industry and the potential for long-term growth.
- Specifics about the position: duties, position level, wages, benefits, working conditions, travel requirements, etc.
- The company: growth, success, reputation, management, etc.
- Your supervisors: interaction, expectation, etc.
- Wages and benefits: company paid vacations, health/life insurance, sick leave, etc.
- Locale: housing, recreation, schools, etc.
There will be times when you receive job offers that are perfect, except for one thing. Rather than turning down the offer, you might consider negotiating with the employer. Negotiation is a non-adversarial communication in which two parties work together to come to an acceptable agreement. Only serious issues based on realistic expectations should be negotiated, though. Some negotiable items include salary, benefits, working conditions and future opportunities.
Negotiations can be conducted face-to-face or in writing. As with everything else in your job search, preparing for negotiations is the key to your success, so do your homework. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether or not to enter into negotiations with an employer.
- Negotiate only after an offer has been made. Remember, he who mentions money first loses.
- Be selective when choosing which contract issues to negotiate. Know your value and negotiate based on your qualifications, skills and experience.
- Be sure you know the appropriate salary and benefits ranges for your industry in the area where the job is located.
- Develop and practice a negotiation strategy.