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EVALUATING & NEGOTIATING

While it may be hard to imagine, the most difficult part of a job search can often be accepting an offer. The first offer may not be exactly the best job for you and you may be waiting for other offers, or you just may not feel ready to make such a commitment. While this can be a very complicated process, the following are some of the important questions you want to ask yourself to help you evaluate a job offer.

  • Does the position fit my requirements? Will I be doing work that interests me and will I be able to best use my skills? Does the job fit with my career plans and personal goals?
  • Is the work environment right for me? Am I comfortable with the mission and values of the organization? Can I get along well with my boss and co-workers? Does the organization’s expectations fit my lifestyle?
  • Does the compensation package meet my needs? Is the salary appropriate for the responsibilities of the position? Am I being offered a good benefit package?
  • Is the location of the job where I want to live? Will I be required to travel – if so, how much?

Ideally, you should think about what constitutes a strong job offer well before you receive one.  This way, you’ll be prepared to evaluate the offer objectively. 

Here are two suggested resources to get you started thinking about this topic:

As well here are some common factors to consider as you weigh offers. Many of these articles focus on how first-time job seekers can manage the process:



PROCESS FOR RESPONDING

Buy time to decide:
After expressing appreciation for the offer, and asking to receive the offer in writing, ask for some time to think carefully about your decision. Agree on a date for your decision. One to two weeks is often reasonable, but it could depend on the situation.

Negotiate terms of the offer.
Usually people think of salary when considering negotiation, but other items (benefits, time off, work schedule, etc.) are also appropriate to negotiate. You will need to do your research in order to negotiate effectively. Employers will be more accommodating if you show evidence which backs up your requests. Also begin your negotiation a few days before the deadline for your decision.

Accepting a job offer:
Congratulations! Once you’re ready to accept an offer, some employers will ask you to sign a document to confirm your acceptance, while others will require that you write a letter to this effect. A job acceptance letter typically opens with a thank you and an acceptance statement. The second paragraph should restate your understanding of the position and any special considerations which may have been negotiated.

If an original offer letter did not include reference to such special items, you should ask for clarification and an amended letter before making a final acceptance. This letter may follow a verbal acceptance.  A copy should be kept with the offer letter.

Declining a job offer:
This is a delicate matter – one which requires tact and brevity.  Whether declining due to another acceptance, or because you’ve decided this job is not a good fit for you, act professionally to ensure you retain a good image with this employer.

When writing a letter to inform the employer of your decline, open with a thank you and a straightforward, one-sentence statement of the decline.  (Including the rationale for your decision is not necessary – and may, in fact, damage your relationship with the employer.) It is also appropriate to include your appreciation for the professionalism displayed throughout the interview and selection process.