Your interview preparations have been successful and now you are receiving job offers from some hiring companies. During the job interviews, there may have been discussions regarding benefits, salary, and sign-on bonuses. Let’s discuss the key areas for you to consider.
First, ask for the job offer in writing. While verbal job offers are often given first, don’t be afraid to ask for a written job offer. At a minimum, the written employment offer should include:
- The title of the position
- Start date
- Commissions, sign-on bonus, and other bonus plans if applicable
- Benefits (health, dental, vision, 401K, paid time off, etc.)
- Be alert to contingencies (successful background check, drug screening, etc.)
How to respond to a lower salary job offer?
If you are given a job offer but the salary or compensation is not as high as you would like, talk with the employer regarding your salary needs. Be willing to provide them with sound reasoning behind your salary request. Keep in mind though, once you make your counter-offer to them for additional money, sign-on bonuses, or benefits, their original employment offer may no longer be available to you. Again, if you decide to ask for a higher salary, be sure the employer understands why.
You might start the discussion by first letting the employer know that you do want the position. Then, tell the employer you would accept the position at $___ amount. Make sure you give the employer a definite number that you are willing to accept. The last thing an employer wants to do is get approval for an increase in the offer, and then it is still not acceptable.
Should you respond right away to a job offer?
If you are given an offer that is acceptable, don’t delay! You should not have to think about it for days. If you do, it is probably not an opportunity for you. You want to show your new employer you want the job, and you’re excited about embarking on your new career. You can do this by accepting the offer within 24 hours. Delays in the process will make it look as though you have other offers or that you are just not that excited about the opportunity.
Before accepting a job offer here are other considerations
There are many other considerations when deciding to accept an offer from an employer. Here are some other benefits that might also weigh into your decision:
- Sign-on bonuses, commission
- Vacation, paid time-off
- Tuition reimbursement
- Health, dental, vision
- Retirement, 401K plans, profit sharing, stock options
- Leadership training programs
- Work-life balance
- Advancement in title – maybe you are looking for a promotion, and it is more important to you than a specific monetary amount. We recently had an employer change the title of a position to encompass the candidate’s career goals. Sometimes, it is the little things that matter most.
It is important to consider the whole offer. You may be offered less in salary, but the company’s tuition reimbursement plan or healthcare plan may benefit you more in the long run, and therefore, outweigh the difference.
When to ask for a sign-on bonus?
If you want the position, but you feel you might need some incentive to feel good about your move, ask the employer if they offer any sign-on bonus incentives. This can be especially helpful when you are leaving some compensation (such as annual bonus, commissions, etc.) behind. Most employers will understand if you ask for a sign-on bonus to make up the difference you might be losing.
Can you ask for vacation when starting a new job?
Most companies will allow you to review their benefits package prior to employment. This is a great time to ask questions. It is also a great time to bring up any dates that you will need time off. For example, if you have a wedding planned and will need particular dates off, tell the employer upfront. Don’t wait until after you start employment. Employers don’t like surprises.
Since you most likely will not have any paid-time-off accumulated, be courteous and let them know ahead of time so they can plan. This is important since most companies have a training plan in place for new employees, and they will need to schedule you accordingly. Most employers will try to accommodate reasonable requests, especially if they know about it prior to your job acceptance.
Make sure to know the work-life balance expectations
Don’t overlook a couple of final considerations when evaluating an opportunity; it’s very important to consider work-life balance. The impact of a balanced life between work and a personal/family life cannot be overestimated. Even though you may not be able to give it a monetary value, work-life balance should still weigh into your overall decision.