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Career Monday: What Every Job Seeker Needs to Know About Evaluating an Employment Offer

After a long and frustrating job search, you may be so excited to receive an offer that you’ll be tempted to jump on it immediately. That could be a decision you’ll regret.

Giving yourself time for careful evaluation will increase the chances that you’ll find a job you really love.

Go ahead and congratulate yourself for making it through the hiring process successfully while you remember to complete these important last steps. Use these criteria as you decide whether to accept, decline, or negotiate a job offer.

Evaluating a Job Offer:

1. Think beyond salary. If your bills have been mounting up while you’re unemployed, it’s natural to focus on the size of your next paycheck. On the other hand, the real value of a job offer also includes the fringe benefits, time off, and less tangible factors like meaningful work and a supportive culture.

2. Plan your commute. Studies show that long commutes can affect your mental and physical health. Figure out the shortest route to the office and see if you can work from home sometimes.

3. Reread the job description. Scrutinize your new responsibilities. Ask yourself if these are tasks that you enjoy doing and can complete successfully.

4. Look ahead. How will your new job affect your long-term career prospects? Will you expand your network and learn valuable new skills?

5. Continue your research. You probably investigated the company before you went to the interview, but now the stakes are even higher. Find out what others are saying about your future employer on social media. Study the annual report and financial statements.

6. Consult others. If possible, interview other employees and former employees to hear about their experiences. Ask your family and friends for their feedback too.

7. Accept trade-offs. Keep in mind that each opportunity comes with advantages and disadvantages. Decide which factors are most important to you.

Negotiating a Job Offer:

1. Stay positive. Now that you know the company is interested in you, this can bean opportune time to make a counter offer. Let your new boss know that you’re excited about joining the team while you try to achieve the terms you want.

2. Review your options. Understand your position before entering into any negotiations. Do you have other offers? How long can you afford to continue looking if you’re unemployed?

3. Be realistic. Of course, you’ll be in a stronger position if you know the average salary ranges for similar positions in your area. It also helps to learn as much as you can about the company’s policies and resources.

4. Put it in writing. Make sure to document any changes to your employment offers. It will give you something to refer to in case there are any future questions.

Declining a Job Offer:

1. Be gracious. Let the company know that you’re grateful for their time and consideration. When you turn down an offer, be prepared to state a brief reason that will not reflect poorly on them.

2. Act quickly. Delays in the hiring process can be expensive if promising candidates take other positions or essential positions continue to be vacant. You can show the company that you’re responsible and considerate by letting them know your decision as soon as possible.

3. Stay in touch. You obviously impressed the employees who wanted to hire you so add them to your network. You may be able to help each other in various ways, especially if you’re in the same industry.

Considering the pros and cons of any employment offer will help you to enjoy more job satisfaction and keep your career on track. It’s well worth giving yourself a couple of days to decide if your new position is really an excellent fit for you.

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