Got an Offer? Take Time, Then Reply

You've just been offered a job and your initial impulse is to reach across the desk and enthusiastically shake your new employer's hand. But instead of rushing out to order your new business cards, job market experts advise giving yourself 24 hours to consider the offer or submit a counter proposal.

"It's a tremendous compliment for a candidate to receive a job offer, whether you get the happy news in person or by phone," said Debra Thompson, recruiting coordinator, Richmond Financial Group/Met Life. "But it's also human behavior to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and not catch everything that's being said."

'I'm Excited, But ...'
Some people feel uncomfortable asking an employer for time to evaluate their job offer, fearing the request might result in a job retraction. Others are uncertain as to how to word such a request without appearing disinterested or looking like they're buying time.

"The best approach is to share that you're excited about the job offer, both verbally and expressively," said Kristi McGeever, job market consultant, Lee Hecht Harrison. "The best way is to put your request in the form of a question to the interviewer."

An example would be, "I'm very excited about your offer, but I've learned a lot about this job opportunity in a short frame of time. Would it be okay with you if I get back to you by (name your time and day) to think through everything that we've discussed?"

Review, Then Negotiate Once you've agreed on a time to get back with each other, the goal is to calmly review every aspect of the job offer in detail so you're in a position to negotiate.This evaluation should include a deep analysis of the company to be sure it's financially stable. You can search financial Web sites for 10-K reports or check out blogs like the one on Vault.com to gain (potentially) unbiased perspectives about the company.There are two questions that eager candidates typically forget to ask: "Has this job position been approved by the company?" and, "Is it possible to get your offer in writing?""If the employer says they've never put a job proposal in writing before, offer to put a generic one together for them based on what you've discussed," said McGeever. "You also need to make sure what you're being offered stacks up with what's really important to you."It's About the Money After a candidate has weighed the pros and cons of the job offer (see Job Offer Checklist below), one can begin the process of negotiation, using the information your research has yielded to leverage for a better agreement. One top area of concern is money.If you think you deserve more compensation, a good way to break the ice is to tell the employer that you'd like to join the company, but a little more money would help. Find out how flexible the company is overall when it comes to salary, vacation, benefits, etc. Be realistic, but remember to aim higher in salary than the salary you're willing to accept.
"Salaries are one thing that's negotiable," said Thompson, who advises checking out Web sites like www.salary.com to confirm what similar positions pay in your area. "Emphasize your strengths and let the employer know of any special job training, licenses or certifications that you've earned."Negotiations are tricky and the devil is always in the details.Job Offer Checklist When evaluating a job offer, consider the following factors before accepting the job.Job description Job hours Base salary Bonuses Commission (if applicable) Projected salary increases Vacation benefits 401(k) Sick time Health insurance Life insurance Work environment Commuting time and cost Growth opportunities Pension plans Stock options Travel schedule Before You Say 'Yes' Below are some key questions to ask yourself when you are contemplating a specific job offer: Does the job offer sound exciting? Is the salary comparable to what other people in the same position get? Does the employer seem like someone I could get along with well in a working relationship? Is this a company I feel truly comfortable with, after having been introduced around during the interview process? Does the corporate culture mesh with my values, goals and attitudes? Do I like the physical working environment? Is this a company I can truly see myself growing with? If I accept the job offer, will I actually be coming out ahead -- all things considered? What are my gut instincts telling me about working for this company? Source: Richmond Times Dispatch. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. Powered by Yellowbrix.
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