Evaluating and Negotiating
Do you accept the first job that comes along? Should you just accept the salary they've offered? What do you do about that counter-offer your employer made to get you to stay?
- Accept the Job Offer or Walk Away?, Amy Gallo (HBR Blog Network)
- "The hiring manager calls with great news: the job is yours. Phew, the hard part is over, right? Maybe not. Determining whether to take a job offer can -- and should -- be a difficult decision. In a bad economy or if you're eager to get out of your current job, it can be tempting to accept any offer. But before you take on job, you need to evaluate the situation carefully." There is more to this process than just salary and benefits.
- Patience In Negotiating - Reviewing Your Agreement, Kevin T. Buckley, CPC (jobsearchguide.ca)
- "The most important time to exercise patience in the hiring process is in the final stages when an offer of employment has been extended to you. It is easy to rush the process in order to close the deal. When you receive the offer and hiring agreement, take your time to go through your offer and hiring agreement (they are often two different documents) and consider what you are committing to." Mr. Buckley details items to look for in these documents and steps to take if you do not see what you would like or if you see things that are not in agreement with what you had earlier discussed. He notes you should never rely on verbal agreements, but connect via email at the very least (print everything), and do not let a recruiter rush you nor prevent you from contacting whomever you need to in order to get everything correct. Kevin Buckley is a recruiter specializing in Freight Forwarding, Customs Brokerage and Logistics in Canada.
- How to Evaluate a Job Offer, Stephanie Legatos (helloimlogistics.com)
- "Throughout your job search process there are many decisions that you will face. Decision-making doesn't stop when you receive an offer. No matter how long you've been searching for new employment, it's unwise to take an offer without considering a number of questions. It's important to prioritize what is most important to you and evaluate the extent to which the offer aligns with your priorities." Ms. Legatos offers 4 categories of questions you should consider when evaluating a job offer.
- How to Evaluate a Job Offer, Alison Doyle (About.com)
- "When you receive a job offer, it's important to take the time to carefully evaluate the offer so you are making an educated decision to accept, or to reject, the offer. The last thing you want to do is to make a hasty decision that you will regret later on. Consider the entire compensation package - salary, benefits, perks, work environment - not just your paycheck. Weigh the pros and cons and take some time to mull over the offer. It is perfectly acceptable to ask the employer for some time to think it over." She offers explanations regarding money (it's not everything), benefits, hours, and culture and why you should think about them. There's also a nice Checklist listing specific items to be considered.
- Job-Offer Evaluation Checklist, Paul W. Barada (Monster.com)
- "Evaluating job offers can be unsettling, especially if you have only a vague idea of what you want from employers. You'll have to do a personal-needs assessment before you can judge whether an offer is right for you. Here's a three-step process for developing your own job-offer-evaluation checklist."
Some of the resources under Negotiating also cover this topic.
How to say "Thank You, but No Thank You".
- Rejection Letter: Declining a Job Offer, Alison Doyle, (About.com)
- A nice explanation of what the letter should say and a few sample letters to consider copying. As Alison points out, you do not necessarily want to burn bridges with this particular employer. The job may stink or the pay and/or hours be unbearable, but do not say anything. Just write a nice letter.
- Learn How to Politely Decline a Job Offer, Myra Faye Turner (lifescript.com)
- Her advice: Respond in a timely manner, be polite, never be specific as to why you are rejecting their offer, and do it in writing. She also discusses declining a job offer AFTER you have initially accepted it (see page 4).
- Free Sample Letter Declining a Job Offer, QuintCareers.com
- Excellent sample. Short, sweet, polite, and to the point.
- Rejection of Job Offer, Purdue OWL
- "A polite refusal is an applicant's responsibility as well as a professional courtesy. You notify the employer that you are not interested in working for the company and thereby allow him/her to continue to search as quickly as possible. Also closing the door gently, ending negotiation pleasantly on a note of goodwill, makes good sense in terms of the future. In writing the refusal letter, use the indirect plan, giving reasons before saying no as described below." The sample here is not as explicit as some others noted in this section, but it does give you some ideas on how to present your thoughts.
- Juggling Job Offers with Grace, Lisette Hilton (medzilla.com)
- "Turning the job down is your right. How you handle it is in your control." Some excellent advice on how to not burn bridges with jobs you do not necessarily want while waiting to hear from the one you do.
Some of the resources under Negotiating also cover this topic.
- Employment Contracts: Everyone Needs Promise Protection, Bernard C. Dietz, Esq. (AskTheHeadhunter.com)
- "You would never think of buying a home without a written contract setting out all of the details of the sale.[...] So why do people routinely accept job offers without a written contract?" Good advice from a lawyer in Richmond, VA.
- Resignation Meeting Preparation, rollinssearch.com
- It says "Actuarial" because this recruiter specializes in working with professionals in this field, but this offers terrific advice for any preparing to resign from his/her to accept a different one. It deals with the counter-offer as well as how to respond to the question of "what did we do wrong". They also provide a sample resignation letter -- again, not just for actuaries!
- The Proper Way to Resign, Bill Radin
- "Once a new job has been accepted, you need to consider is the timing of your resignation. Since two weeks' notice is considered the norm, make sure your resignation properly coincides with your start date at the new company."
- How to Leave a Job Gracefully, Bill Radin
- "When faced with leaving a job, it's best to exercise decorum, whether the move is voluntary or forced."
- Your Resignation: Beware the Retaliatory Strike, Bill Radin
- "If your intention to make a job change is sincere, and nothing will change your decision to leave, you should still keep up your guard. Why? Because unless you know how to diffuse your current employer's retaliation, you may end up psychologically wounded, or right back at the job you wanted to leave."
- The Right Way to Resign, Douglas Welch
- "Most times we are so busy looking for a new job that we put no thought towards leaving our current one. Often, how you leave a job can be just as important as how you get one."
- How I Quit My Job, Eugene Yiga (VarsityBlah.com)
- "So, I finally did it. After months of careful consideration and weeks of making up my mind, I quit my job. Even though I knew the decision was right, I still had no idea how to go about making it happen. How exactly are you supposed to resign?" He figured it out, did it well, and offers advice to others on how not to burn bridges on the way out the door.
- Writing a Letter of Resignation
- ...article with samples you can review. From About.com
The short answer is "don't", but read these articles to learn more.
- How should I handle a counter offer from my current employer?
- ...some sound advice from CareerPerfect.com.
- Beware: Counter Offer In Today's Market (TaxTalent.com)
- "As a candidate considering a job change, you may ask, 'Why not consider a counter offer from my present employer?'." This article focuses on "how to most effectively consider a job change....and avoid a counter offer situation." This is 1 of 3 articles examining the topic of Counter Offers from various perspectives the job seeker, the current employer, and the hiring employer. You can easily link back to their list of Career Articles to view the other 2 articles.
Negotiating is probably the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Knowing what is and isn't negotiable (salary is only one item) and what you are willing to give up in order to get something before you start will make your position much stronger.
- Tips for Negotiating the Salary You Deserve, by Andrea Murad (March 01, 2012, FOXBusiness.com)
- According to this author, knowledge is strength and timing is everything. Know what you want before they come to you with an offer, but don't start your negotiations until you have actually received an offer. Use your current salary and benefits as a starting point, and consider long-term as well as short-term incentives (like a signing bonus). This article also advises job seekers to look for salary information that’s aggregated from companies as opposed to self-reported data, and to research the number of available opportunities for your skill set in your geographic region. Excellent!
- How to Determine What Salary to Ask For, Alison Green (USNews.com, Money)
- At some point in your job search, you're going to be asked what salary range you're looking for. [...] So it's important to research your market value ahead of time; that way, you can give an informed answered based on what comparable positions pay in your geographic area. But how do you actually do this research?" Read the article for seven good answers!
- How To... Negotiate Salary: Tips from the Pros, Sakina Rangwala (washingtonpost.com)
- "The road to negotiating salary is filled with ups, downs and doubts, but if you're able to secure the salary you want, you may be a more efficient worker. We spoke to several experts in the field to answer some common questions about the process." Not only do they specify what you need to know and how to begin negotiations, but they also talk about how to find the data you need. Free registration may be required to read the article.
- How Can I Negotiate a Counter Offer?, Alison Doyle (About.com)
- "How much leeway do you have when you have received a job offer? What's the best way to make a counter offer? When should you stop negotiating and accept or reject a salary offer? " Alison offers advice on handling your negotiation along with sample letters you can use to request a meeting to discuss the offer. Don't confuse this with a counter-offer from your current employer. This is a negotiation process with a prospective employer.
- The Salary Quiz
- ...what you did or didn't know about salary negotiations from Jack Chapman, author of "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute." Then go to his front page and read everything else you can on the best ways to negotiate.
- Salary Negotiation Guide, Susan Ireland
- "This guide is about sharpening your negotiating skills with some insider tips on how employers think about money and how you can ask for what you want." Be sure to check out the many how-to YouTube videos Susan has added to her site. Short (under 2 minutes) and very interesting.
- Everything is Negotiable: Learn the Power Factors, Linda Jenkins (Salary.com)
- "It's all negotiable. Every new job - every performance review, in fact - is an opportunity to negotiate base salary, various kinds of bonuses, benefits, stock options, and other incentives that add to job satisfaction and provide financial security. Taking control of your job search before your job offer and conducting a smart search that takes into account more than just financial considerations can also lead to that elusive condition called happiness."
- The Gentle Art of Negotiating Salary, Mike Travis (Worcester Business Journal)
- ...8 great pointers for salary negotiations. "The bottom line: Know what you are worth, know what's important to you, and approach negotiations with the objective of making a fair arrangement for both sides. If you do this, and you are dealing with an employer who approaches the process the same way, coming to an agreement that works for both sides will be painless." Mr. Travis is a principal with Travis & Co., an executive search firm with offices in California and Massachusetts.
- Negotiating Your Conditions of Employment, Bill Holland (CrackingtheNewJobMarket.com)
- ..."salary is way over rated in that most employees rank other aspects of a job ahead of direct compensation. If that sounds like you, here are some other things worth negotiating." No, don't go in there with your guns loaded, but have a list of things you want to negotiate other than salary, and know what to ask for. Bill offers some great suggestions plus alternative requests to consider.
- Beyond the Paycheck, Dona DeZube (Monster.com)
- "When you're negotiating for a new job, there's much more to consider than the size of your paycheck, points out Mary Simon, author of Negotiate Your Job Offer: A Step-by-Step Guide to a Win-Win Situation. Simon suggests each offer has eight different components you need to consider."
- Negotiate Your Way to a Higher Federal Salary, Kathy Troutman (monster.com)
- "People frequently ask me if it's possible to negotiate a higher federal salary. The answer is yes, provided you have some basic information about government pay scales." Kathy's article offers a few tips and good resources to help prepare for these negotiations. And you all know that Kathy is the expert when it comes to Federal Jobs.
- Negotiating Job Offers: Making the Right Decision, Florida State University Career Center
- ...what is negotiable, how to make the right decision, how to handle the negotiation process, and how to accept or decline the final offer. Very good for all employment levels.
- Salary Negotiation Strategies from JobStar
- ...a collection of links and book recommendations intended to help you in negotiations for an acceptable salary and compensation package, many of which you can find in your local library.
- What are the best ways to handle salary discussions?
- ...some sound advice from CareerPerfect.com.
- Just hired? Now is the time to talk severance (ITworld.com)
- It talks more to the IT professionals, but everyone should read this and consider the information and advice presented. "The first hard lesson tech workers must learn is that employers have the upper hand at severance time. The real shock for most workers, according to Loeb, is that they have no legal right to severance pay or advance notice of termination." They have links to additional info at the end of the article.
Discussions about relocation expenses should be included in your salary negotiation as these are a benefit that could be included in your total compensation package. In reading these and in talking with job seekers, I don't think you should believe that there is a "standard" relocation package offered by employers. Everything is negotiable. These articles will give you an idea of expenses to be included in this discussion.
- What to Expect in an Overseas Relocation Package by Allan Hoffman (Monster.com)
- "Relocating within the US may be a hassle, but it is not nearly as complicated as moving you, your family and maybe even your pets to another country. [...] Here is what you can expect from a comprehensive relocation package, beyond the obvious airfare and moving expenses."
- Negotiate Relocation Package, SanDiegoHomes4u.com
- "We have been asked, 'How hard should I push for relocation expenses?' Try to analyze your bargaining position relative to the prospective employer. Does the employer have many options? Are there many qualified local applicants for the same job? Or do you have unique skills unavailable in the local market? Ask yourself, 'If I owned the company would I be willing to pay for my relocation?' "
aka non-disclosure and non-compete agreements
- Should You Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?, Lindsay Olson (money.usnews.com)
- "As a freelancer or employee, you may be asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with certain clients or companies. The purpose of an NDA is to keep the company's information private—maybe it has trade secrets or a special sauce that it doesn't want you poaching. Here are some tips to help you understand the document before signing it:" Excellent short discussion!
- You Can't Compete With Me...The Legality of Non-Compete Agreements, Michael Helfand (todaysworkplace.org)
- You are completing your just-hired paperwork, and in the pile you encounter a non-compete agreement. "One such demand that employers are placing on new-hires is that they sign a non-compete agreement. A non-compete is a document that restricts where and who you can work for should you be fired or quit. Is that legal and should you sign it? In a few states, they're generally not legal. [...] For most other states the short answer to are non-competes legal is yes-however, the agreement has to be 'reasonable' to be legal and upheld in court." Attorney Helfand offers you some criteria to use in reviewing the agreement prior to signing to be sure this is a fair and reasonable request of the employer. And if it isn't, he asks you to consider this -- do you still want to work for this employer?
- Don't sign away your future: Noncompetes done right (Computerworld.com)
- "Can signing a standard workplace document derail your career plans?" The author says "Yes". This article discusses not just noncompetes but other agreements you might be required to sign when starting a new job (or when picking up a severance check). Not everyone has the opportunity to take these documents to a lawyer for review - in fact, very few of you will, so take the time now and read this article so you understand what these contracts say, what to look for in terms of problems, and how you might address these before problems arise.
- Trade Secrets, Nolo.com
- This section of Nolo.com discusses trade secrets along with NonDisclosure and NonCompete agreements. Nolo.com is "the nation's oldest and most respected provider of legal information for consumers and small businesses." They have been in business since 1971 and have numerous low-cost publications and free articles on all aspects of the law that you can review.