Alright, look at you landing a new job! While the job market has certainly picked up in recent years, that doesn’t mean it feels any easier to get a job, especially a good one that pays well. Before you go out celebrating your new fortune, and hopefully not spending your fortune, there are a few things to check. These things will help protect your financial income in the near future and prevent you from counting your chickens before they hatch.
Get the Offer in Writing
Since we’re talking about counting chickens before they hatch, a verbal job offer does not mean you have the job. After an interview, a lot of interviewers might provide some sense of feedback or even acknowledge that you are the person for the job. While this is always great to hear from an ego standpoint and from a standpoint that you probably just landed the job, it isn’t a one hundred percent guarantee.
You should always get a job offer in writing. Whether you are working hourly or salary, accepting a job offer should always include a written agreement. This agreement states that you did in fact get the job, along with a lot of other vital information. It is often referred to as an “offer letter” that lists out things such as pay, vacation, health, dental, sick leave, etc.
Verify the Pay and Benefits
During your interview, there is a good chance you discussed compensation and benefits. Most people focus on making sure the salary or hourly wage is within the range they are looking for and rightfully so. When you read through your offer letter, make sure that the compensation offered matches what was discussed in the interview. If it doesn’t, you may want to contact the person who sent the offer letter.
When you initially receive the offer, you might downplay the importance of vacation, sick, or health because you are excited about your new opportunity. However, you really shouldn’t take these things for granted. Down the road, you are going to want vacation days and you are going to want a health insurance policy that actually benefits you.
If Needed, Counter
Sometimes the offer simply isn’t what was expected or what that job description deserves. Most entry-level or lower-level employees won’t counter because they feel that it will hurt their standing with the company. While most larger corporations have a pretty set entry-level standard for positions, mid-size and smaller companies might not. Countering an offer isn’t seen as being rebellious or defying your superiors. You are simply asking for what you believe is fair.
Yes, it is a touchier subject. Your tone will have to exude your gratefulness for opportunity and clearly state why a different figure should be offered as compensation. You should use facts to back up your case. Those facts do not include that you have massive bills to pay off and the extra money would help. While that might be factually correct, sympathy doesn’t sit well with employers. Use things such as average salary comparisons for that position in the industry as a whole. Use your unique skills, experience, and qualifications as justification for the increase.
The fact is that they chose you over the other candidates and they should want to meet your needs within reason. With that said, don’t expect a counteroffer to always be accepted.
Hopefully you’ve already checked this but looking into your commute prior to accepting a job is an important thing. The location of your interview is not always the location of your actual job site. Sometimes there is a corporate headquarters where you interview and then an external office where you actually will be working.
People have a tendency to undervalue their time spent commuting when accepting a job. They compromise saying that the job pays a little more than their last job so the extra 45 minutes is worth it. But is it really. You should look at every hour of your day as billable. How much is your leisure time worth to you? How much of that time is wasted driving to and from work. These should be serious considerations if you commute is pushing two hours or more per day.
Send Thank You Letters
Finally, you should send “Thank You” letters to the people who interviewed you. Why would you do this if you already received a job offer? Well, for starters, it shows appreciation and those interviewers are likely to be people you will be working side-by-side with. You’ll be in their good graces from day one.
It also serves as a reminder to them that they offered you the job already. Remember, most companies are at-will employers meaning they can end your employment – even before it starts.