Yay, you were offered a job at a great company! You should jump on this opportunity as soon as possible, right?

Hold up there just one second.

Job offers are exciting for lots of reasons: they affirm that you’ve got some talent hidden somewhere, you’re relatively likeable as a person, and you’re going to get paid for (hopefully) doing something that you love.

If you’re excited about a job offer you’ve received, it’s ok to still take a little time to think it over, talk it over with your partner, and consider all the factors of the job before saying yes or no.

It’s okay to ask questions

So as exciting as any job offer is, if you have questions or hesitations about the position, it’s still ok to ask them! The biggest thing you’ll need to remember is to iterate and reiterate how excited you are about the position. Employers will expect you to have a few questions- accepting a new job is a big deal, after all. Just be sure that, while you’re answering questions, you’re also letting them know that you’re excited to work at the company and excited about the position. If an employer can sense your enthusiasm, a few questions about the position will be no big deal.

Here are some questions you might think about asking if you haven’t already during an interview:

What will your compensation be?

Who will you be working with/under?

What does vacation time/leave look like?

What benefits come with the position? (Retirement, health, etc.)

What will your title be?

Is there a clear path for career growth?

Does the company offer mentorship and/or training?

Will you be able to work from home some of the time?

Get it in writing

If you get a verbal offer while face to face with a hiring manager, don’t panic (but don’t say yes just yet, either)! Later, when you email the manager to thank them for interviewing you and making you an offer for the job, just be extremely clear and reiterate the terms in your email.

Your job offer acceptance email might look something along the lines of this:

“Dear [Hiring Manager},

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me yesterday and offering me the role of account manager. I’m very excited about the offer and the opportunity to work with you.

Just to confirm, my starting salary will be $50,000 with 14 days annual paid leave, with health insurance and 401k.

I look forward to starting on June 10, 2019. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from me between then and now.

Thank you again,

Karissa”

As you can see in this email, the writer is obviously excited about the position, just dotting her i’s and crossing her t’s like any respectable employee would do. Hiring managers won’t bat an eye to an email like this so don’t feel as though you’re overstepping your bounds.

The point here is to make sure you’re on the same page with your employer and to give you something to point back to if something isn’t communicated on your behalf along the way (say if HR didn’t realized you were promised a yearly stipend, etc). More often than not, if you don’t receive something that was mentioned in an interview, it’s due to a miscommunication rather than someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes which is why emails like these serve more purpose than simply saying “Yes!” to that job offer.

In the end, always be sure to keep it brief, reiterate your salary, benefits, and start date, thank the hiring manager, and proofread everything!

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The negotiation

You need them more than they need you so better to just keep quiet and accept the first offer you get. Right?

Actually, probably not.

These days, hiring managers will often expect a candidate to do at least some negotiating on a job offer. Of course, your negotiations will have to happen before you accept the offer. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be able to negotiate your salary or paid time off after you’ve told the company “yes” to their original offer. If you do, they may feel blindsided by the request which may put a bad taste in their mouth

That being the case, the very first step in negotiation is to do your research. You’ll need to understand what the market rate of compensation for your position is for someone with your experience. Even if you know you’ll be getting a raise in 6 months or a year (which will probably only be an increase of a few percent), your starting salary will have a huge impact on the amount you earn over your lifetime at the company.  You’ll also need to take into account the type of company you’ll be working for. If you’re planning to work for a startup, you may be looking at a lower than market salary. However, startups do often work to make up for this by offering equity, more paid time off, a flexible work environment, opportunity for growth, and other great benefits. On the other hand, if you’re planning to work at an already well-established company, you can expect your compensation to be at or above the national average for someone with your amount of experience.

That being said…

Don’t forget the benefits!

Negotiating benefits goes hand in hand with negotiating compensation. In many cases, hiring managers will probably look at benefits with monetary value. For example, you may be offered a salary of $50,000 and a benefits package that’s valued around $12,000 making your total compensation roughly $62,000. In any case, it’s important that you to research what to expect out of a benefits package, what it’s worth, and then how much you’d want to bring home at the end of the day.

Other factors to think about might be whether or not you’ll be needing to move or commute to your new job. Will you be using your own cell phone for work much of the time? Does your company have tuition assistance or offer to sponsor gym memberships?

If they include any of these things, you can and should factor the cost of them into your total compensation, because you know they will be.

Let them know about competing offers

Don’t be afraid to let your interviewers or hiring manager know that you’ve received other job offers. Make sure you have both job offers in writing and make sure each hiring manager knows you’re still weighing your options. You don’t want to burn bridges by saying “Yes” just to keep their offer on the table, only to back out later.

If you’re still waiting to hear back from another company, do your best to stay in communication with the company that’s already given you an offer. Let them know that you’re still thinking it over and give them a day that they can expect your response by. If the company you’re still waiting on seems to be taking longer than you expected, it might be a good idea to reach out.

Here’s what that email reaching out to your first choice company could look like:

“Hi [Hiring Manager],

I wanted to again thank you very much for meeting with me last week and discussing the position of Account Manager. I wanted to keep you in the loop and let you know that I do have another job offer. Your company is my first choice and I would be very exciting at the opportunity to come work with you, however [Company A] would allow me the opportunity to work from home one day each week. [Company A] has asked for a response from me by Thursday and I was wondering when I could expect to find out your final decision for the position.

Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me and considering me for the position. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Blake”

In this email, you’re making sure the hiring manager knows that there’s pressure on you to have a response for Company A, but you’re also reiterating your excitement to work for Company B. Most hiring managers will understand you also have a timeline you’re working with and will work hard to accommodate.

Tell us, what’s your experience with negotiating? Were you ever surprised by a hiring manager’s response? Have you ever had to handle competing job offers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and share with a pal who’s also on the job hunt!

 

 

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