Obtaining a job offer is an achievement but is only the first step to accepting the new position. Knowing your needs and career priorities will allow you to determine if the job offer will meet these and what you may need to negotiate prior to signing the employment contract.
The most important thing that needs to happen before you accept the position is to get the job offer in writing. The offer should spell out the important terms of employment and your obligation to the company. Job title, salary, and benefits, as well as duties and responsibilities should be clearly specified. Insuring that you understand company policies and procedures impacting you, as well as whether they meet minimum standards required by law and the Employment Standards Act, is essential.
When reflecting on your financial needs there are many things to consider. With this job, will you be able to use to meet your basic needs related to housing, transportation, and lifestyle? Can you sustain your needs for food, clothing, and entertainment? Financially, will you be able to keep up with payment for student or other loans, or participate in savings and investments?
Career and work goals form an important part of employment. Does the new position provide opportunities to use your skills and have an environment and culture that fits with your personality? What are the potentials for growth, professional development, mentoring, and advancement? Having a sense of the employment rewards and benefits that are available to you will be important to understand during the negotiation prior to signing your offer. Typical benefits, in addition to salary, include medical and dental benefits, life insurance, vacation, and retirement or pension plans. Optional benefits that might be negotiated include flex-time, job sharing, tuition reimbursement, bonuses or stock options, and in-house fitness or club memberships.
You can have a successful negotiating experience by understanding that you don’t have to accept the offer on the spot. You can expect to negotiate but should be clear what you are bargaining for while still reflecting enthusiasm about the job offer.
When discussing the asking package ensure that all elements of the package are on the table, that you weigh salary against your own needs, and that you are prepared for a negative response to your initial counter offers. Don’t refuse an initial offer as being too low but, instead, take a day or so to think it over and then clearly state your minimum acceptable offer.
It is possible that you may receive two or more job offers at one time. If this is the case, consider asking the employer who made the first offer to extend your deadline to allow you more time to weigh your options. When deciding between two offers, make a list to determine your own career and compensation goals, and see which one best fits your needs. Once you have decided to accept an offer, let both employers know as soon as possible.
Or perhaps you find yourself in the position of having just accepted an offer of employment when a second position is offered to you from a different employer. In this case, you must determine whether the new offer is worth repealing your acceptance of the first offer or leaving your new job so soon. The potential negative repercussions for you legally (you could be in breach of contract) or in terms of your reputation could be significant. Accepting a second offer may be right for you but likely not for the first company. Consider this carefully.