You've spent the last few months answering help wanted ads, visiting recruiters, and networking. You've sent out your resumes and gone on a bunch of interviews. And now the moment you've been waiting for is here. It's your turn now. You have some job offers to consider. During those long days pounding the pavement, you didn't think making a decision would be this difficult. But this is serious business. The job you take now may be yours for a long time to come.
What's the most important thing to consider? Is it salary, health benefits, or vacation time? Or could it be the corporate culture or the length or your commute? What about your boss and co-workers -- will working with them be pleasant? As you can see there are a number of factors to take into account and only some are negotiable. You can try to get a higher salary or more vacation time. However, health benefits are often standard packages. The corporate culture isn't going to change for you, and your boss and co-workers aren't going anywhere.
Evaluating the Offer
Even if money isn't what gives you the most job satisfaction, no one can argue its importance. You need a certain amount of money to pay the bills, for example. Most of us also want to make sure we are being paid what we're worth and what is the going rate for jobs similar to ours. It's important to find out what others are making for related work in the same industry, and in the same geographic region. You can start gathering this information by looking at salary surveys and other occupational information. And don't forget, if other aspects of the job appeal to you, you can try to negotiage the offer.
2. Office Environment
Every office has a different feel to it. Some feel kind of "dark pin-striped suit" while others feel a little more relaxed. A few months ago I interviewed for an internship in a public relations firm. From the second I set foot in the office I knew I wanted to work there. There were colorful pictures hung on the walls and the office looked so vibrant. You just need to know which environment you'd be unhappy in.
3. Corporate Culture
Defined as "the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a company or corporation," corporate culture should be an important factor in your decision whether to accept a job offer. If you value your time away from the office, a company with a corporate culture that encourages late hours may not be for you. Is the potential employer's philosophy "win at all costs?" Is your philosophy "always play clean?"
4. Commute Time
When you're considering a job offer, take into account the length of your commute. What may have seemed like an okay distance to travel for a job interview may begin to wear thin when you have to make that trip twice a day, five days a week, in rush hour traffic.
5. Your Boss/Co-Workers
I was once being interviewed by the manager of an organization and the head of the team I'd be working in. In the middle of the interview the maganer yelled at the team head. When I was offered the job, I didn't even ask how much, I just said "no thank you." While I wouldn't have daily contact with the director, I knew I would have enough contact with him to make my life miserable.
Each of these factors taken alone may not make or break your decision to accept or decline a job offer. When you put them all together, though, you will have the information you need to make an educated choice. And then it will be time to let the potential employer in on your decision.
Accepting or Declining the Offer
Whether you choose to accept or reject a job offer, you must inform the employer who made that offer. This should be done formally, in writing, and if you wish by telephone as well. If your answer is "yes" it's obvious why you'll want to make a good impression with your future employer. But, why is it important to be polite to someone you don't plan to work for? Well, you don't know where your future will take you. You may at some point wind up with that employer as a superior, a colleague, a client, or even your next door neighbor. You certainly don't want to leave a bad impression Smile .