a Job Offer
Once you receive
a job offer, you are faced with a difficult decision and must
evaluate the offer carefully. Fortunately, most organizations
will not expect you to accept or reject an offer immediately.
many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization
be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there
opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer
offer good benefits? If you have not already figured out exactly
what you want, the following discussion may help you to develop
a set of criteria for judging job offers, whether you are starting
a career, reentering the labor force after a long absence, or
planning a career change.
organization. Background information on an organization
can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work.
Factors to consider include the organization’s business or activity,
financial condition, age, size, and location.
can get background information on an organization, particularly
a large organization, on its Internet site or by telephoning its
public relations office. A public company’s annual report to the
stockholders tells about its corporate philosophy, history, products
or services, goals, and financial status. Most government agencies
can furnish reports that describe their programs and missions.
Press releases, company newsletters or magazines, and recruitment
brochures also can be useful. Ask the organization for any other
items that might interest a prospective employee. If possible,
speak to current or former employees of the organization.
information on the organization may be available at your public
or school library. If you cannot get an annual report, check the
library for reference directories that may provide basic facts
about the company, such as earnings, products and services, and
number of employees. Some directories widely available in libraries
either in print or as online databases include:
& Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory
and Poor’s Register of Corporations
Industrial Review (formerly Moody’s Industrial Manual)
Register of American Manufacturers
an organization in magazines and newspapers can tell a great deal
about its successes, failures, and plans for the future. You can
identify articles on a company by looking under its name in periodical
or computerized indexes in libraries. However, it probably will
not be useful to look back more than 2 or 3 years
also may have government publications that present projections
of growth for the industry in which the organization is classified.
Long-term projections of employment and output for detailed industries,
covering the entire U.S. economy, are developed by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics and revised every 2 years. See the November
2005 Monthly Labor Review for the most recent projections,
covering the 2004-14 period, on the Internet at: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/mlrhome.htm. Trade magazines
also may include articles on the trends for specific industries.
at colleges and universities often have information on employers
that is not available in libraries. Ask a career center representative
how to find out about a particular organization.
the organization’s business or activity match your own interests
It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic
about what the organization does.
will the size of the organization affect you?
Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs
and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and
better employee benefits than do small firms. Large employers
also may have more advanced technologies. However, many jobs in
large firms tend to be highly specialized.
Jobs in small
firms may offer broader authority and responsibility, a closer
working relationship with top management, and a chance to clearly
see your contribution to the success of the organization.
you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well
New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people,
the excitement of helping to create a company and the potential
for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss.
However, it may be just as exciting and rewarding to work for
a young firm that already has a foothold on success.
it make a difference if the company is private or public?
An individual or a family may control a privately owned company
and key jobs may be reserved for relatives and friends. A board
of directors responsible to the stockholders controls a publicly
owned company and key jobs usually are open to anyone.
the organization in an industry with favorable long-term prospects?
The most successful firms tend to be in industries that are growing
of the job. Even if everything else about the
job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day
work. Determining in advance whether you will like the work may
be difficult. However, the more you find out about the job before
accepting or rejecting the offer, the more likely you are to make
the right choice. Actually working in the industry and, if possible,
for the company would provide considerable insight. You can gain
work experience through part-time, temporary, or summer jobs,
or through internship or work-study programs while in school,
all of which can lead to permanent job offers.
is the job located?
If the job is in another section of the country, you need to consider
the cost of living, the availability of housing and transportation,
and the quality of educational and recreational facilities in
that section of the country. Even if the job location is in your
area, you should consider the time and expense of commuting.
the work match your interests and make good use of your skills?
The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained
in enough detail to answer this question.
important is the job in this company?
An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you
are supposed to contribute to its overall objectives should give
you an idea of the job’s importance.
you comfortable with the hours?
Most jobs involve regular hours—for example, 40 hours a week,
during the day, Monday through Friday. Other jobs require night,
weekend, or holiday work. In addition, some jobs routinely require
overtime to meet deadlines or sales or production goals, or to
better serve customers. Consider the effect that the work hours
will have on your personal life.
long do most people who enter this job stay with the company?
High turnover can mean dissatisfaction with the nature of the
work or something else about the job.
offered by employers. A good job offers you opportunities
to learn new skills, increase your earnings, and rise to positions
of greater authority, responsibility, and prestige. A lack of
opportunities can dampen interest in the work and result in frustration
should have a training plan for you. What valuable new skills
does the company plan to teach you?
should give you some idea of promotion possibilities within the
organization. What is the next step on the career ladder? If you
have to wait for a job to become vacant before you can be promoted,
how long does this usually take? When opportunities for advancement
do arise, will you compete with applicants from outside the company?
Can you apply for jobs for which you qualify elsewhere within
the organization, or is mobility within the firm limited?
and benefits. ait for the employer to introduce
these subjects. Some companies will not talk about pay until they
have decided to hire you. In order to know if their offer is reasonable,
you need a rough estimate of what the job should pay. You may
have to go to several sources for this information. Try to find
family, friends, or acquaintances who recently were hired in similar
jobs. Ask your teachers and the staff in placement offices about
starting pay for graduates with your qualifications. Help-wanted
ads in newspapers sometimes give salary ranges for similar positions.
Check the library or your school’s career center for salary surveys
such as those conducted by the National Association of Colleges
and Employers or various professional associations.
If you are
considering the salary and benefits for a job in another geographic
area, make allowances for differences in the cost of living, which
may be significantly higher in a large metropolitan area than
in a smaller city, town, or rural area.
You also should
learn the organization’s policy regarding overtime. Depending
on the job, you may or may not be exempt from laws requiring the
employer to compensate you for overtime. Find out how many hours
you will be expected to work each week and whether you receive
overtime pay or compensatory time off for working more than the
specified number of hours in a week.
into account that the starting salary is just that—the start.
Your salary should be reviewed on a regular basis; many organizations
do it every year. How much can you expect to earn after 1, 2,
or 3 or more years? An employer cannot be specific about the amount
of pay if it includes commissions and bonuses.
can add a lot to your base pay, but they vary widely. Find out
exactly what the benefit package includes and how much of the
cost you must bear.
State, and metropolitan area data from the Bureau’s National Compensation
Survey are available from:
of Labor Statistics, Office of Compensation Levels and Trends,
2 Massachusetts Ave. NE., Room 4175, Washington, DC 20212-0001.
Telephone: (202) 691-6199.
Data on earnings
by detailed occupation from the Occupational Employment Statistics
(OES) Survey are available from:
of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment
Projections, 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE., Room 2135, Washington,
DC 20212-0001. Telephone: (202) 691-6569. Internet: http://www.bls.gov/oes/
of Labor Statistics