Job Offers

You receive a job offer, now what?   It is important to evaluate all aspects of the job offer and think objectively about the position before responding to an offer. What you do next could have consequences for years to come. Many factors will go into your job selection, including location, organizational culture, job responsibilities, potential for future advancement and the financial offer. Salary is only part of the financial picture.  The total compensation package that comes with a job offer is a combination of salary and benefits.  If you just use the salary, you could be turning down thousands of dollars in benefits. Typical benefit packages include: medical insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability, some type of paid time off and 401 (k) (retirement account).  If you are considering multiple offers, see multiple job offers.  Once you are ready to respond to the job offer, see (Responding to Job Offers)


Make sure to do a thorough job of determining your fair market value for the job you are seeking, the salary range of the job for the industry, and geographic, economic and company-specific factors that might affect the given salary. See the most recent Salary Placement Report. You need to also consider non-salary compensation: signing bonus; performance bonus; profit-sharing, stock options and relocation expenses.


The hardest part about benefits is that there are many variables. Many benefits don't fall into the same categories. Consider the list of possible benefits from ( Look at the benefits offered to you and rule out the ones that don't apply to you. However, do not discount health insurance and 401(k). You need health insurance. Just because you're young and healthy now doesn't make you invincible. If an employer doesn't offer any at all, you'll have to pay for your own. This will offset your salary. Your company's 401(k) plan can help you begin building a tax-deferred retirement nest egg early (start now and you will truly be able to enjoy your retirement).


You are not expected to negotiate a higher salary than is initially offered for an entry level position. During economic downturns, negotiating a higher salary may not be possible.  Talking about salary is often uncomfortable, but it can be even more difficult if you are fielding multiple job offers. It is not a good idea to pit one company or offer against another. Be honest, but avoid talking specifics. Once you have determined that your job offer can be adjusted through negotiations, do your homework. Have a good, sound reason for the negotiations you are about to enter. Your greatest negotiation leverage is between the time the employer makes the original offer and the time you accept the final offer. Once you accept an offer, you have little to no room to negotiate.

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