Friday, February 25, 2011

Dig Deeper to Evaluate a Job Offer

Your decision regarding a job offer is very important and should be carefully evaluated. Lots of information exists about the basics of evaluating a job offer, some of which can be found in past Daily Leap entries. But the basics don’t always uncover aspects of the job offer that are important but more difficult to unearth. These require more digging on your part—researching available resources, directing specific questions to appropriate company representatives, receiving permission to talk to a company employee(s), or using your network to locate a current or past employee you can speak with.

Company Stability

Typically, you acquire some company facts during an interview, but afterward you’ll need to fill in any missing pieces. Are you comfortable with the company’s current financial condition and projected growth? Is the company a candidate for a potential merger or acquisition? Who are the company’s key customers, and how dependent is the company on those customers?

Work Environment

Equally important is assessing the company culture, fit, and general work environment. Do you understand the company’s values, and do they align with yours? For example, does it matter to you whether the company adheres to environmentally friendly practices or gets involves in charitable causes? Examine the organizational structure. Will excessive red tape or corporate politics hamper progress? Have you met enough employees to get a sense for how you’d fit in? Have you considered the potential effects of the work environment? Do you care if it’s quiet or noisy…dim or well lit?

Compensation and Expenses

Understandably, most people base job decisions primarily on salary and benefits. But it’s important to dig deeper. For example, how many hours are you expected to work for your salary? If your normal work week will average 55 hours, is the compensation adequate? Is there a performance/merit review process, and if so, how often and what is the potential for increases? Does the company award bonuses or stock options? Will you incur expenses as a result of taking the job, for example, gas, parking, wardrobe, and childcare?

While not exhaustive, this list gets you started in your mission to uncover the not-so-obvious aspects of a job offer.

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