Once you receive a job offer, you must evaluate the job offer and decide if you want the job. Fortunately, most organizations will give you a few days to accept or reject an offer.
There are many issues to consider when evaluating a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits?
Background information on an organization can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work. Factors to consider include the organization's business or activity, financial condition, age, size, and location.
You generally can get background information on an organization, particularly a large organization, on its Web site or by telephoning its public relations office. A public company's annual report to the stockholders tells about its corporate philosophy, history, products or services, goals, and financial status. Most government agencies can furnish reports that describe their programs and missions. Press releases, company newsletters or magazines, and recruitment brochures also can be useful.
Background information on the organization may be available at your public or school library, too. If you cannot get an annual report, check the library for reference directories that may provide basic facts about the company, such as earnings, products and services, and number of employees.
Stories about an organization in magazines and newspapers can tell a great deal about its successes, failures, and plans for the future.
The library also may have government publications that present projections of growth for the industry in which the organization is classified.
Career centers at colleges and universities often have information on employers that is not available in libraries.
During your research consider the following questions:
Does the organization's business or activity match your own interests and beliefs? It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does.
How will the size of the organization affect you?
Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and better employee benefits than do small firms.
Should you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well established? New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people, the excitement of helping to create a company and the potential for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss.
Even if everything else about the job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day work.
Consider the following questions:
Where is the job located?
You should consider the time and expense of commuting or calculate the costs of a move to another area if that becomes necessary.
Does the work match your interests and make good use of your skills? The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained in enough detail to answer this question.
How important is the job to the company or organization? An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you are supposed to contribute to its overall goals should give you an idea of the job's importance.
What will the hours be? Most jobs involve regular hours, for example, 40 hours a week, during the day, Monday through Friday. Other jobs require night, weekend, or holiday work. Consider the effect that the work hours will have on your personal life.
A good job offers you opportunities to learn new skills, increase your earnings, and rise to positions of greater authority, responsibility, and prestige. A lack of opportunities can dampen interest in the work and result in frustration and boredom.
Some companies develop training plans for their employees. What valuable new skills does the company plan to teach you?
The employer should give you some idea of promotion possibilities within the organization. What is the next step on the career ladder?
When an employer makes a job offer, information about earnings and benefits are usually included. You will want to research to determine if the offer is fair. If you choose to negotiate for higher pay and better benefits, objective research will help you strengthen your case.
If you are considering the salary and benefits for a job in another geographic area, make allowances for differences in the cost of living, which may be significantly higher in a large metropolitan area than in a smaller city, town, or rural area.
You also should learn the organization's policy regarding overtime. Depending on the job, you may or may not be exempt from laws requiring the employer to compensate you for overtime.
Also take into account that the starting salary is just that: the start. Your salary should be reviewed on a regular basis; many organizations do it every year. How much can you expect to earn after 1, 2, or 3 or more years?
Benefits also can add a lot to your base pay, but they vary widely. Find out exactly what the benefit package includes and how much of the cost you must bear.