Getting the offer is that part of the job search process that we look forward to, dream about, and think is never ever going to come! But it will come (we promise) and when it does, in addition to being super excited, make sure you are discerning and critical as well.
While you may be tempted to accept on the spot, be sure to first analyse the different components to make sure that you understand the offer and that it meets your expectations. Here are the major things you should be looking at and thinking about!
1. Title & Role:
It’s really simple, but make sure the job you are being offered is the one you applied to. Often times things can ‘shift in flight’ and this is the time to make sure you understand exactly what the title means, what the responsibilities are, and what is expected of you. An offer letter won’t spell all of this out but making sure the title in the letter matches with the job description you previously reviewed is a good check. It’s also the right time to ask any outstanding questions you may have.
2. Your Manager:
You probably know from the interview process who your future manager will be. If the offer letter says anything different, you may want to ask a few questions. It is so important to work for someone who you like, admire, and look up to. Make sure your future manager is a known entity and someone you were able to spend time within the interview process.
Now is the time to make sure you are happy with the salary offered and that you feel it is in line with your skills and background (and expectations). Whether it is having honest conversations with friends in similar roles or looking on sites like glassdoor.com, be informed. It is okay to ask for more if the offer doesn’t meet your expectations, but come from a place of ‘research’ and facts versus just asking.
Sometimes people don’t look at it this way, but benefits are basically a part of your salary. Most companies offer benefits (medical, dental, and others) and generally the company will pay for a certain portion and you will be responsible for paying a certain portion. If the company covers your benefits 100%, guess what? That is money in your pocket and essentially increasing your salary. Find out what will be deducted from your paycheck for benefits, especially if you are comparing offers side by side.
Vacation and other paid time off is another part of the offer that is important. In this case ‘time is money’ and vacation days you don’t take would need to be paid out if you left. Generally companies will have a vacation policy that they use to formulate this. If you have any pre-planned vacations, this is the right time to bring it up and make sure it is approved since you will likely need to accrue your vacation days versus getting them all up front.
6. Other perks:
Companies are getting pretty creative with their other perks these days. While they’re not the most important part of the offer, if you’re getting free lunch every day you can basically add an extra $50 a week to your paycheck. There may be other fun perks like product discounts, social activities, paid travel, gym membership, and more. It’s not the most important part of the offer but take them into account!
7. Start date & deadlines:
Generally at this point, the company is probably pretty excited to get you in the door so look out for start dates and other deadlines and make sure they work for you. If you’re leaving another job, giving two weeks’ notice is the standard and would likely be understood on both sides.
Most of all, pat yourself on the back and breathe a sigh of relief! The hard part is over and reviewing the logistics is easy compared to actually getting the job. Don’t be afraid to be thoughtful about your offer and get any and all of your questions answered: now is the time!