By Lillian LeBlanc, Suite101
Getting hired means that the days of reading classifieds and applying on Monster may be over. But once hired, there's more than just salary to consider.
It’s such a great feeling to hear a human resources recruiter say, “We’d like you to join our team.” The logical response to any job offer might seem to be an unqualified “yes,” so that you can immediately rejoin the workforce. But accepting a job means making a commitment. Unless your financial situation demands that you immediately return to work, take time to consider a job offer and be certain that the job and the company are truly the best match for you.
The Interview Process is a Learning Opportunity
Each step of the job application process provides the candidate with an opportunity to learn about the company where he or she may eventually work. Often, you’ll know very little based on the job description that is posted in the classifieds or on websites such as Monster or Career Builder.
Most employers have applicants meet several people in the organization. The interview process may involve a panel, where a number of individuals meet as a group with the applicant. Some companies use behavioral testing to assess an applicant’s strengths as compared to the job description and the company culture. The website Glassdoor.com provides inside information about the hiring and interview techniques used by various companies.
Fit with Company Culture is Critical
Think back on your interview process. It contains clues as to the kind of company you've been invited to join.
Did you move quickly from step to step?
What kinds of questions were you asked?
Did the people with whom you met seem organized and well-informed?
Were people formal in their approach or more relaxed?
Were co-workers engaging and friendly or reserved and intense?
Now imagine yourself in this environment. Is this the kind of place where you would truly like to spend the majority of your day? Over time, you’ll find that your fit with the company, meaning how well you work with other employees, how you feel about the style of the organization and especially how you relate to your immediate supervisor will be the most important factor in your level of job satisfaction.
Benefits are an Important Part of a Job Offer
Certainly the salary that you are offered is a very important element in your decision to accept a new job. Salary should not be the only consideration. Gather all information about benefits, even those for which you may not be immediately eligible. You’ll need to consider the cost of all benefits and for those like health insurance, make sure you know the cost per paycheck as well as the co-pays and deductibles that you’ll need to personally fund.
Work-life benefits, which include child care, backup care, referral services, employee assistance or even pet insurance can save you thousands of dollars and come in very handy when you least expect to need them. If the employee benefits package will be expensive for you, you’ll need to weigh that against the salary offer. If you must take a part-time or temporary employment arrangement, it’s even more important to understand how your benefits factor in. Many companies do not extend benefits to those who work part time, so be certain that you know where you stand.
Understand Your Full Pay Package
If you will be relocating for your new job and your employer will assist with the cost, ask for the details to be spelled out in an offer letter. Be sure you know whether there are caps on the amount that the employer will pay. Ask for a copy of the relocation policy so that there are no future surprises.
It is not out of place to ask how raises are granted and to inquire about bonus eligibility if that type of pay is part of your package. Some employers require that employees have a certain amount of time on the job to be eligible for a raise or bonus that’s awarded on a specific date. Gather all the facts that apply to your situation.
Consider How you Will Advance on the Job
It may seem out of place to think about your future career path with the company or to consider how the company develops its employees. Unless you are prepared to return to a job search in the near future, you should do your homework on these issues. Most employees enjoy broadening their knowledge in their chosen field or learning new skills. Does the employer offer opportunities to learn and grow? If you have a professional license or certificate, does the employer fund your continuing education or will you have to pay the cost?
Look at the Big Picture of the New Job
Tempting as it might be to leap on a job offer; you should take your time and carefully think through the situation. Remember that accepting a new job will very likely mean that you will stop looking for work. If the job you choose is not a good match, you'll soon be back in the job market and will have lost time, momentum and perhaps opportunities for better positions. Be sure that the move you are making is the right move for you, for your family and for your career.
Originally posted on Suite101, October 2, 2010