Evaluating the Job Offer - part 4 of 4

Accepting the Offer

If everything about the new position is satisfactory, go ahead and accept the offer. If you're expecting an offer from a second company, you should let the second company know about your offer right away, so they can speed up their decision. That way, you'll avoid jeopardizing one deal for the sake of another.

Once an offer's on the table, it makes common sense to accept or reject it within a day or weekend . Otherwise, your inability to commit will reflect poorly on the way you make decisions; or it will telegraph your lack of enthusiasm to the new employer. In either case, you're likely to be bruised by waiting too long.

If you have legitimate concerns, or you still have questions that need to be answered, now is the time to bring them up. Rather than tell the employer, "I'll have to think it over," use the following script:

"Mr. Employer, this job looks very good to me, and I'm enthusiastic about coming to work for your company. I'll be in a position to accept your offer and start in two weeks if I can just clarify a couple of things..."

The answers you get will make your decision for you, and you'll either accept or reject the company's offer.

If you decide to reject an offer, remember that it's almost impossible to resurrect the deal at a later date, since the position will be offered to someone else, or the employer will feel insulted, and close the door on your candidacy. Whatever you do, make certain your decision is final.

New Angles and Unusual Deals

Most deals come together quite cleanly, with little need for haggling or creative financing. Sometimes, though, it takes a little imagination to satisfy both parties.

Money can present a problem for employers when your salary requirements exceed the published range for the position, or create an inequity within the department. In fact, internal equity issues (in which your expected salary might be greater than someone on the staff who has more professional or company seniority) are the cause of most deals that fail to close for financial reasons.

To satisfy money matters, look for ways to increase your overall yearly compensation, rather than your annual salary. Here are a few added goodies you can shoot for to boost your earnings without ruffling too many feathers:

A sign-on bonus (although rare currently) to be paid in cash on your date of start;

A performance bonus to be paid after thirty, sixty, or ninety days, assuming your clearly defined goals are met;

A discretionary bonus to be paid in a lump sum, or over a specified period;

A generous relocation bonus to be paid on your date of start to cover expenses (but which can be spent at your discretion);

An accelerated review which would occur after three or six months, rather than on your first anniversary of employment, in which your salary would be increased; or

An early participation in the company's bonus, stock purchase, or pension plan; or other employee benefit program.

When required, companies will sometimes serve up these tasty morsels to hungry candidates who recognize that overall compensation consists of more than salary alone - where there's a will, there's a way.

Careful evaluation mixed with a little bit of creativity and professionalism will help you get the deal you want.

Position Comparison Guide

Directions: Compare the position you have now with the one you are considering, according to the following elements:

Current job   New job      Element under consideration

[  ]        [  ]        Position title

[  ]        [  ]        Supervisory responsibility

[  ]        [  ]        Project authority

[  ]        [  ]        Decision-making autonomy

[  ]        [  ]        Freedom to implement ideas

[  ]        [  ]        Freedom to affect change

[  ]        [  ]        Promotion potential

[  ]        [  ]        Challenge of tasks

[  ]        [  ]        Ability to meet expectations

[  ]        [  ]        Access to skill training

[  ]        [  ]        Professional growth potential

[  ]        [  ]        Company/industry growth

[  ]        [  ]        Company/industry stability

[  ]        [  ]        Starting salary

[  ]        [  ]        Future compensation

[  ]        [  ]        Company benefits, perks

[  ]        [  ]        Commuting distance

[  ]        [  ]        Travel requirements

[  ]        [  ]        Working environment

[  ]        [  ]        Rapport with co-workers

[  ]        [  ]        Rapport with management

[  ]        [  ]        Comfort with corporate culture

[  ]        [  ]        Other considerations (specify)

Score:     Current job ____________      New job  ____________

New job differential (+/-)  ____________

Position Compensation Guide

Directions: Compare the position you have now with the one you are considering,

according to the following elements:

Current job         New job       Element under consideration

$________________$________________  Base salary

$________________$________________  Bonus, perks

$________________$________________  Profit sharing potential

$________________$________________  Value of stock or equity

$________________$________________  Pension

$________________$________________  401(k) contribution, tax savings

$________________$________________  Reimbursed expenses

$________________$________________  Cost of living differential (+/-)

$________________$________________  Non-reimbursed moving expenses

$________________$________________  Job-related travel expenses

$________________$________________  Insurance premiums

$________________$________________  Property taxes

$________________$________________  State taxes

$________________$________________  Sales taxes

________________$________________  Other expenses (specify)

Current job  $________________  New job  $________________

New job differential (+/-)   $________________

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