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Evaluating Job Offers Salary Negotiation Basics Negotiable Non-Salary Benefits Protocol for Accepting/Rejecting Job Offers 2-3 4 5 6
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Evaluating Job Offers
Seven Key Factors to Consider when Evaluating a Job Offer:
There are many factors to consider when evaluating a job opportunity but this framework focuses on 7 key factors. You will notice that a weight has been assigned to each variable. The percentages provided here are merely a guideline. Assessing a job offer is a highly personal process and you should adjust the percentages based on your own needs and values.
1. Job Content (30%)
• Passion - It is important to consider whether you are passionate about the mission of the organization and its products or services. If you are proud of them you are more likely to be excited by your job and do your very best work. • Responsibilities – Be sure that you have a clear understanding of your job responsibilities. Ask for a written job description that spells them out. Consider what skills you will be honing as you perform this job and where it will ultimately lead you. Will it put you on the career path you want to follow?
2. Your Boss (15%)
• It is important that there be good chemistry between you and your prospective boss. Will he or she be a good mentor? Is he a self-confident person who will be genuinely interested in your success or will he be threatened by you? Do you feel comfortable with her management style? • This said, remember that things change rapidly in many organizations. This individual may move to another position or leave the company so if your prospective boss is fantastic but the other key factors don’t measure up you should think twice.
3. Your Co-Workers (10%)
• How was your rapport with your interviewers? Were they professional? Are they people you would enjoy working with? Team players? • Did you meet with the people you’ll actually be working with day-to-day? If you did not, you should try to meet them before you make a decision to accept the offer.
4. Salary and Benefits (20%)
• Based on your research, is the salary at market level? • Does the salary enable you to meet your financial obligations (ie. school loans)? • How are individual salary increases determined? • More importantly, what is the potential for salary growth? • How are reviews and promotions handled? • If the base salary is lower that you had hoped, does the benefits package compensate for it?
5. Lifestyle Considerations (10%)
• In general, can you achieve a comfortable work-life balance? Will you have enough time for your family and friends? • What is the customary number of hours required each week? • How much travel will be required? • Do they believe in “comp time”? • Will they be flexible in the case of family emergencies?
6. Location (5%)
• Is the job based in a desirable place to live? • How far away from your family will you be? • How long is the commute? • Will you have to move? • Is it located close to an airport if you will be travelling a lot? • Is the physical location isolated or are there conveniences nearby? • If the job is overseas and you have young children, is there adequate health care?
7. Organizational Values/Culture (10%)
• Is the organization rigid or flexible? • Is it casual or formal? Does the dress code suit your preferences? • Is it bottom- line oriented? People oriented? Mission oriented? • Do you feel comfortable in the physical office/field environment (e.g. light, space)? • What are the opportunities for career advancement?
Salary Negotiation Basics
1. Timing is everything.
Know when and how to discuss salary during an interview. Salary negotiation is all about timing. The time to talk about salary is when they say they want you for the job. Until this point, you should avoid discussing salary. Delaying the discussion of salary will give you time to do research and determine your market value relative to the specific position and give you the opportunity to convince the prospective employer that you are the one for the job. If an employer asks you about salary right away, change the subject, politely. Use statements such as “I don’t want to box myself in terms of salary until I develop a better understanding of the challenges of the position” or “ I’m sure we can come to a salary agreement if I’m the right person for the job. I’d like to see if we agree that I am.” Once they’re hot on you, they will do what it takes to get you.
2. Never name a specific salary figure.
No matter what, never give the prospective employer a specific salary figure. If they put you on the spot and you can not divert the question, give a range. Use statements such as “I am considering opportunities between $70,000 and $85,000 in total compensation.” Make sure that the lower end of the range is a salary that you would find acceptable.
3. Be prepared! Do your research and know your market value.
The key to successful compensation negotiation is RESEARCH! Armed with information about the industry, the organization, its competitors, the function and the specific position as well as the cost of living where the job is based, you will have the leverage you need to negotiate the best offer possible. There is a wealth of information available on the Internet, through professional associations and through informal networking. Don’t forget that Fletcher mentors and your Fletcher classmates are great resources! In determining your market value, you should also consider your previous work experience and how it relates to the specific position. Do you have expertise for which the employer may be willing to pay a premium? If so, you will have much more leverage to negotiate salary. If you do not have relevant previous work experience you may have to accept a somewhat lower salary to get your foot in the door.
Negotiable Non-Salary Benefits
In negotiating compensation, be creative! Consider the value of the total package. Look for different ways to achieve your objectives. Be willing to make tradeoffs to increase the total value of the deal. If you are creative, you can package what you want in ways that will be acceptable to the organization. The following are items that could be negotiable: • Job content • Start date • Moving expenses • Extended time off after a sooner than desired start • Assistance with spouse job search • Personal days/sick days • Vacation – Sometimes it is possible to negotiate an extra week of vacation up front, especially if the organization only offers a standard 2 weeks. • Basic and Voluntary Retirement Plans – In assessing the value of the overall job offer, consider what the prospective employer offers in terms of retirement benefits. If you contribute to a Voluntary Retirement Plan (401K), some employers will match your contribution. (In the case of retirement plans, there is usually a standard policy that applies to all employees, with little or no room for negotiation.) • H1B/Greencard expenses (Foreign students) The following are private sector specific. Bonuses and relocation may also apply in the nonprofit sector for senior positions. • Bonuses: - One-time Signing Bonus - Annual bonus: Fairly common in the private sector. Be sure to understand what objectives must be met in order to obtain the bonus. (Individual objectives vs. corporate objectives.) Average 10-20% of base salary. • Stock options • Relocation Package – Moving expenses (including cars and pets), 2-4 weeks in a furnished apartment or hotel, per diem expenses, realtor’s fee, rental car for 2-4 weeks. If you don’t need to move, you might consider asking the prospective employer to convert relocation expenses to a cash bonus.
Protocol for Accepting or Rejecting Job Offers
• There is nothing more exciting than getting offered the job you want. But no matter how psyched you are to receive the offer, you should always give yourself some time to think it over – preferably at least a day (or a weekend.) You want to make sure this offer is truly right for you. • Once you have made a decision, call to accept the position. Be sure to show your appreciation for the offer and excitement about the opportunity. • Ask the employer to confirm the offer in writing (if he/she doesn’t offer to do so.) • Once you have received the written offer, you should stop interviewing for other positions . • Remember, once you have accepted an offer, you should never back out – it will come back to haunt you! Backing out of an offer which you have accepted is a serious offense and can damage your professional reputation as well as the reputation of the hiring manager. If you have doubts or concerns about a decision you have made, please come and talk to an OCS staff member. • Once you have accepted an offer, if you have other offers outstanding, you should contact the respective employers by telephone to decline the offers. Frame your reason for declining in a positive and professional way. “It was a very difficult decision but I have decided to accept another offer.” (You can give the name of the organization if you like.) • Even though you have declined the other outstanding offers by telephone, you should also send a letter to each employer to formally express your appreciation for the offer. This is a professional way to conclude your interactions even if you have already communicated it verbally. It will also leave the door open to contact the organization during a future job search. • Before you begin your new job, it is always nice to write a note to your new boss to indicate that you are looking forward to joining his or her organization.
Successfully Negotiating Offers
Salaries are dictated by several factors including the nature of the work, conditions in the labor market and geographic area. Typically employers know more than prospective employees about the going salary per position and location, so you will be at a disadvantage from the beginning - UNLESS you do your homework. By establishing a professional network in your chosen industry while you are at Fletcher, you can more easily level the playing field in salary negotiation. Your contacts will be able to help you get salary range information and help you compare cost-of-living in different locations. Remember the Mentor Guide! In addition to talking with your network, you may find valuable information on the Internet or in the library. See the Occupational Outlook Handbook at www.bls.gov/oco for general salary information. Professional journals, from time to time, publish information on salaries. Also check national newspapers and journals for recent articles on salary by region and profession, and current information on cost-of-living.
Basic Salary Negotiation Strategies
1. Do not introduce or encourage conversation about salary early in the interviewing process. If an interviewer presses you for a direct answer on salary expectation, always name a range. 2. Before you begin negotiating, you must have a minimum salary figure in mind. Consider what you will need to live in the location of the job, what your student loan payments will be, etc. This number will be your bottom line. Never reveal this number during negotiations. Also, how much you earned before Fletcher is not relevant and should not be disclosed. 3. Always let the employer name the salary figure first. Statistically, employers tend to cite higher figures than candidates. Don’t answer the question, “What’s the minimum salary you would accept?” Tell the interviewer you’re not looking for the minimum, that you will have a number of interviews, that you expect several offers, and will take the one that offers you the best combination of challenge and compensation. Smile nicely as you say it. 4. Whenever a range is named, affirm the top of the range. Employer: “The range is $47,000 to $57,000 per year.” You: “$57,000 sounds fair when compared with the other opportunities I am considering.” 5. Consider the total compensation package. What is the value to you of the entire benefits package (include vacation time, and possibly flex-time, a car, or a telecommuting option)? Does the employer offer tuition reimbursement, free or discounted memberships in a professional organization, health club, or allow you to keep your frequent flyer miles? Some employers may have more leeway in negotiating benefits than salary dollars. Beyond the immediate, what is the salary scale and performance review schedule?
Successfully Negotiating Offers
6. Will part of your income be based on your performance? An incentive package may constitute 1030% of total salary. Is there an annual bonus tied to the profitability of the department or the company? Does the organization offer a signing bonus or a relocation allowance? 7. Never accept an offer immediately. Tell the employer that you appreciate the opportunity, know you can make a contribution, but need some time to consider the offer. How long you may take depends on the situation. A small organization with an immediate opening may need your decision in two or three days. Large organizations, that are able to project their hiring needs six months or more in advance, may allow you to keep an offer open for considerable time. Evaluate the offer against your original goals, taking into account all you have learned in your job search networking. Are the position, salary, benefits, company, and fit with people/environment, all consistent with your goals? Where are you in the job-hunting process? If you are interviewing with several prospective employers, you may wish to let them know you have an offer. 8. More than one offer? Remember to be very courteous and professional when turning down an offer. Always write a thank-you note when you turn down an offer. The people you met at Company A could be your colleagues at Company B in a year or two.