You just got the call and a prospective employer wants you to come on board! You submitted a dynamite executive resume (see my article with executive resume writing tips) and have aced a series of job interviews (read how to avoid executive job interview mistakes here or contact me for complimentary copies of my executive job interview tips reports).
Firstly, try to relax, take a deep breath, and do not rush into a decision. It is completely reasonable to ask the employer for some time to think things over.
You don’t want to delay too long–generally best not more than 3 or 4 days, but in most cases not more than 7. One week is generally the standard interval allowed to “think it over” and come to a decision–most offer letters will specify this and automatically expire after a week unless you request an extension.
Avoid a hasty decision you may soon regret. As an executive resume writer for several decades, I have had many clients come to my executive resume service who were on the market shortly after taking on a new role that did not work out. You really want to avoid this unfortunate situation if at all possible. Conduct thorough due diligence, and if your due diligence or your gut is telling you that this job may not be right for you, dismiss these things at your peril.
FIRST, SHOW ME THE MONEY
- The very first thing to consider is whether the salary and compensation package are what you could reasonably expect and be happy with.
- Is the package commensurate with the responsibility level and scope of the role you will be assuming?
- Is the proposed compensation in line with the market?
- Is it adequate for your current standard of living and household budget?
The financial aspect is critical, because the most wonderful work environment, challenging and satisfying role, and great work culture are not worth much if you can’t live comfortably on your salary or are feeling resentful that you are underpaid from day one.
If you have determined that the package offered is not adequate, then your choices are to negotiate for a better package or look elsewhere. The last thing you want to do is go into a new position feeling insulted regarding your compensation or find you are unable to pay your bills.
If you do decide to negotiate, be sure to go in armed with information on what is reasonable to expect based on thorough salary and compensation package research.
NINE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS TO ASK
Once the financial aspect is squared away, you will want to consider the next nine questions carefully. Many have discovered to their woe within weeks or even days of starting a new position that it was a big mistake–when they’ve already burned bridges with a previous employer or may have turned away other interested companies. You don’t want to be faced with quitting (creating an awkwardly short entry on your resume to explain) or staying on indefinitely in a role that makes you unhappy.
- What about my prospective boss/executive management team? Do we seem compatible enough to develop rapport and work effectively together?
- What about my prospective team of subordinates and the rest of the workforce? Do they seem productive, happy, motivated?
- Is the work culture (form of dress, work hour flexibility, social interaction, etc.) something I feel comfortable with? You can find out a great deal about a company’s work culture online, and get a good idea of employee satisfaction.
- Is the physical work environment livable? Is there natural light? Will you have reasonable privacy when on the phone?
- Do the values of this company mesh well with my morals and values?
- Will the commute or working hours be acceptable or an ongoing strain?
- Will another, better offer come along soon? Is a bird in the hand worth…?
- Is the title offered likely to be perceived by future employers as a step up or a step down?
- Is there upward mobility/a promising career path here for me?
Another aspect of the offer to consider is whether it explicitly includes things that were agreed to in your interviews. For instance, you may have been promised the flexibility to adjust your hours or to work remotely part of the time, to receive annual performance bonuses, to have a certain amount of paid time off, to have required travel limited to a certain percentage, etc. Make sure you get all of these things in writing–a verbal promise or handshake may or may not be honored.
If you’re leaning toward walking away and do not have other job offers in hand, be sure to assess the potential cost/benefit of rejoining your job search, waiting for other offers to materialize, etc.
If you’ve decided to negotiate, ensure you have all your ducks in a row before making a proposal, and be sure to be a tough but cheerful negotiator!
If you’ve decided to accept, congratulations! Now make sure you have EVERYTHING in writing before signing that acceptance letter!