Complete Career Planning & Job Search Guide
Bardwell, Chris, Diversity Employers
This two-part series tells you every step that you need to take in a successful job search - and when to take it. Part I covered the importance of self-assessment, how to write resumes and cover letters, and preparing for campus and on-site interviews. Part II will provide advice on when to accept or reject a job offer and what to do if you don't have an offer yet. Making the transition from college to work is a very important step. The tips we provide are designed to help you make a smooth transition and to position you for job success as you build your career portfolio in the years ahead.
Evaluating A Job Offer
In Part I of the guide we indicated that interviews - both campus and on-site - have the same desired result: a job offer. If you are successful in your interviews, you should receive a verbal job offer from either the recruiter or the manager who wants to hire you. Here are some tips on the process, from reading the first serious signals of interest by the employer to accepting or rejecting an offer.
Signals That An Offer May Be On the Horizon
While you are still in the job interview stage, before you receive an actual job offer, there are certain signals that will tell you the company is getting serious about you:
* Your interview runs longer than planned, a signal that your interviewer feels you are a serious candidate for the job.
* You are called back for second or third interviews, you are introduced to the hiring manager, rotated among the team (co-workers in the hiring manager's department), or put through specific testing, such as psychological or drug testing.
* Your interviewer begins to "sell" you on the company. (Consider this as a sign that he or she is now sold on the idea that you would be a good "fit for the job.
* The decision-maker starts getting specific about salary or fringe benefits.
* The interviewers talk about references or a physical exam, both final steps in the courtship.
Clarifying the Position Once You Have the Offer
Once you have received a clear signal that it is time to discuss the offer, be sure what you've heard is an actual verbal offer and not a "what if' scenario sometimes used to test your receptivity to an offer. An actual verbal offer would sound like this: "We'd like you to join the company as an Accountant in the financial services division (title and function). The salary for that position is $28,500." After you receive the offer, you are entering the first part of the job negotiation stage. Negotiating the job involves collecting sufficient information about the position that will help you decide whether to say yes to the offer. The information you need to know about the position to make an informed decision includes:
* Performance expectations and measurement
* Performance rewards
* Career progression opportunities
Once you're clear about all important aspects of the job, be sure you understand the company's entire compensation package, including salary, perks, and the benefits program. You should have a clear understanding of the criteria upon which bonuses and salary review will be based. Ask about available resources and latitude for accomplishment of the position's stated objectives. These are important questions for entry-level positions as well as for managerial and executive level assignments. If relocation is involved, clarify the company's policy regarding housing and moving costs.
Responding to the Verbal Offer
Once you have all the information you need, be enthusiastic, show interest, and ask for time to consider the offer. Your response to the interviewer or hiring manager might sound like this: "I am very pleased with the offer and all the information on the job you have given me. I am sure I would do an effective job for you. However, I do not make important decisions lightly, and this is an important decision for me, as it is for you. …