By Christopher Woods
In my last post, Welp What Now,Part 2, I talked about speaking with recruiters, finding jobs independently, and phone interviews. In this third and final part I will talk about accepting or rejecting a job offer.
Rejecting an Offer
I bombed the first interview, so I was surprised when the recruiter called me to give me feedback and extend an offer. I was told that the team really liked me, but they felt that I needed some more experience in order to be able to fulfill the job remotely at the senior level. (This goes to show you that sometimes you can be your own worst critic.) The caveat to the offer was that I would have to work on site in NC for at least six months, and then they would consider allowing me to work remotely at the senior level.
Before I discuss why I rejected that offer I have to mention how important it is to have a baseline offer that you will accept from a company. Have an idea what salary you would like and what kind of benefits you expect. Know your worth and know what people with your same skills, degrees, experience, etc. are getting paid in your field. During the recruitment process you should ask what the range is for the position you're applying for if it is not posted already. Also, do your research. Many companies have a "Career" page on their website that discusses what life is like at the company and might reveal some of the benefits offered.
You should also determine if you are willing to relocate, telework, or be a temporary or contract hire that may or may not transition to permanent. If you are applying for a job in a different city than your current one, consider the moving expenses. Some companies may offer relocation funds. As I've stated before in earlier pieces, you must know what you want. If you cannot get everything you want out of an offer, know how much variance you will tolerate. If you don't get the salary you want are you getting good healthcare, vacation, or retirement benefits? These will all vary per company, but are very important to your life as an employee.
Having said that, I expressed my gratitude for the offer, but rejected it because I did not want to relocate from Washington DC, even temporarily. I would have been willing to travel for a week at a time for training as needed, but living away for six month was something I was not willing to do. I was disappointed, but I knew that I was making the right decision for me.
Accepting an Offer
Shortly after I received an offer from the second company I interviewed with that I felt more positive about. The offer exceeded my baseline requirements and included everything I wanted (vacation, healthcare, and retirement), and it was a remote position at the senior level which I wanted. When I applied I didn't know I was applying for a senior level position. It didn't take me long to accept the offer first verbally, and then via e-mail once they sent it to me in writing.
I considered for a brief moment asking for more money, but later determined that I was satisfied making more than I was getting at the job I was leaving. I have heard good and bad things about negotiating a better salary and benefits when an offer is extended. Sometimes companies will budge, and sometimes they won't. It doesn't hurt to ask. The worst they can say is no. If a request for more causes them to rescind their offer, you probably didn't want to work there in the first place.
I was fortunate enough to find a job relatively quickly after hearing that our contract wasn't going to be renewed. In fact I left the contract more than a month early to start my new position. I understand this will not be same experience for everyone. I wanted to share my experience in finding what will hopefully be my last job. Times are hard now, and it can get frustrating in the job market. For all of you looking for new opportunities the best advice I can give you is to know who you are, know what you are capable of, and never compromise that for a position. You might get a check, but you will be miserable day to day.
Photo Credit: Danny Sellers