Making Decisions And Job Offer Negotiation Details
August 13, 2009
A common mistake of many entry-level job seekers is to define an offer by the amount of salary the employer extends. It is important to understand that “job offer” refers to a comprehensive package that can include everything from the particulars of the work to be performed to the location of the work setting. Salary is just one of many features of a job offer.
Accepting a job offer with confidence and enthusiasm is the ultimate goal of the job search process. Ideally you will have the opportunity to entertain more than one or two offers simultaneously over a generous time frame. It is also ideal for you to have access to all the particulars that are important to your decision about each offer you receive. These ideal situations are rare. Instead it is typical for this phase of the search to be more complicated and less synchronized. You can sidestep the stress often associated with the decision to accept or decline an offer with a strategy of solid preparation techniques:
- Develop and understand your own baseline criteria.
- Systematically track the critical factors for each offer as you gather them.
- Anticipate that you’ll need more information than the companies will provide in extending their offers.
- Adopt a common sense approach to your communications with the firms that have extended offers.
Developing Your Own Baseline Criteria In the early stages of your job search, as you begin to clarify and focus your broader career goals into specific employment targets, you are learning more and more about industry traits, working environments, and specific job duties. Throughout this research you are sizing up prospective opportunities to determine whether you possess the necessary skills and credentials to perform the job and whether the job description satisfies your career goals and interests. This is essential to determining “fit” – that is, are you a good fit for the job, and is it a good fit for you?
The research process, however, is incomplete if it doesn’t also include your examination of the compensation standards and trends for each industry, job level, and work setting you are considering. Most government and public education positions are locked into non-negotiable salary ranges associated with degree level and experience. Otherwise, while it may vary from one geographic region to another, most employers expect you to negotiate the details of the offer. For entry-level positions the range of actual salary negotiation is rarely greater than 10%.
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