Most of us are flattered by an offer – but don’t rush to accept
These job offer tips have what you need to know to make sure it’s the right job for you…
Firstly, many of us accept too quickly because we are desperate or flattered. It’s worse when you are over 45 and have been out of work for a while – our average time spent unemployed is way longer of course. That creates a strong drive to accept the first job you are offered, even when you know it is not right for the long term.
But ask yourself: what are the odds it’s what you really want? If it’s not, you’ll know after you join – which can get very messy. Alternatively, did you rush to accept the job to start earning a salary again, and not negotiate the best deal available?
It’s always OK when offered a job to ask for time to assess it. If the offer is made by phone, take the details, clarify whether it will be emailed and ask for a few days.
Remember the truth about human relationships (detailed in later Articles under Negotiation Skills): we always want what is hard to attain or valuable. Asking for thinking time raises your value. Particularly if you are asking for time so you can properly assess another possible opportunity!
If you do this, what is the danger of their withdrawing the offer and giving it to someone else? Very unlikely – it is unusual for their ‘2nd choice’ to be as strong as you. It’s human nature for employers to go through a process of reinforcing their ‘buying decision’ – just like with buying a new car! This means they’ve now decided that the first choice (you) is the best, and the others are relegated.
If they say “we need an answer now”, just ask if the position is likely to be withdrawn if you don’t and the reason for the rush. Then make your assessment accordingly. However, it’s worth noting that if they do put pressure on you, it’s a sign that they may be the wrong employer for you.
If the offer is only made by email, ring immediately to ask if you can have until [date] in which to decide. Time gives you the opportunity to consult with family and advisors about the offer. You can also contact the other organisations where you are interviewing to see how your applications are progressing. And note that these phone calls raise your value in their eyes – even if only a little bit.
Remember, if someone makes you a verbal offer that you accept, then, legally, a contract of employment is in force. While this is hard to enforce, keep your integrity and reputation in mind. Professional circles in Australia are ridiculously small: it’s not ‘Six Degrees of Separation’; it is more like three. Word does get around.
Our Checklist to help you consider…
Title, duties, and who you’ll report to
Extra benefits (car, super, options, etc.)
Salary review date – and will you be eligible for an increase at the next review?
Hours of work – the key issue here is what the norm is; Your hours might be 40, but if everyone works 50+, you’ll need to as well
The company’s notice or dismissal period – if job security is an issue for you, but find out discreetly if it is not in the offer
Ask for clarification on what’s unclear as you need to know – it’s an important decision. It also reinforces the impression that you are considering the offer professionally, which is an excellent indicator of how you will be on the job.
Now is the time for a deep breath and a final careful review…
Your job description – seen the full version?
Met future peers to get a feel for the culture – remember, the most honest interviewer is the one at the desk next to you next month
What are the prospects for the role?
How successful is the company? Are they introducing new products? Are they profitable? If they prosper and grow, so will you
What is their commitment to continuous learning? Specifically: study leave; funding of courses; and in-house learning
Where will you be working? Have you seen the workspace?
What resources will you have: staff, IT, comms technology, etc.?
Travel times to get to work – remember you probably went to the interview outside peak hour; things could be different at 8.15!