Congratulations! You’ve been offered a new position! It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and anticipation of a new venture, but don’t make the mistake of immediate acceptance. Any new offer needs to be evaluated critically, on a number of different factors. Here’s what you need to assess your offer:
A written, contingent offer. This will spell out the specifics of your offer, including your compensation plan, time off, benefits, and the like. Surprisingly, most people do not ask for this before accepting a new offer! It’s “contingent,” because it’s not formal until you accept, and any offer has restrictions on it, such as the completion of a successful background check.
The employee handbook. Let’s say your offer says “two weeks” of PTO. You wouldn’t know that it actually means 80 hours, on an accrual basis, and not until after one year of service unless you read the employee handbook. Should you accept this offer, you are going to be living by the employer’s rules. It is best to have full disclosure of what those are at the outset.
Details on the compensation, retirement, and stock purchase plans (if applicable), as well as the cost of any benefits. It is very easy to fixate on base salary and let’s be honest; base salary is a major factor in your decision to take a new role. But there are other aspects of the compensation plan that are just as important, such as the bonus structure and eligibility, details on any pension or 401(K) plans, and the cost and outline of other benefits such as medical and life insurance. All of these come together to give you a full picture of your total compensation package.
An understanding of the culture. This is the toughest one on the list because culture is not a mission statement or a set of corporate values. Culture is more amorphous, and can best be intuited through observation and careful listening. Is your prospective manager excited about her role and her products? Does she seem excited about the prospect of having you join the team? Do the people in the workplace seem content, or do they seem to be miserable? What kind of press does the company receive? Vet out three things: people, product, and reputation, and you will have your answer about the company’s culture.
The Bottom Line
Don’t jump at the initial offer. Ask for the relevant documents and information you need to properly evaluate the offer, and ask for time in which to do so. Doing your due diligence will ensure that should you choose to accept the offer, it will be a good fit for both you and your new employer.