You aced the phone interview with the recruiter and your onsite interview with both the hiring manager and department manager was highly impressive. So much so, that they think you are an ideal fit for the job. After following up with your references that reinforced your credentials and abilities to be successful in the position, the hiring manager makes you an offer. You can accept the offer, negotiate further, or simply refuse it.
However, to allow you some time to make a intelligent decision on the offer, tell the hiring manager that you would like some time to think it over but you would get back with him or her in a couple of days. Be sure, however, to let the manager know that you are still very much interested in the position and delighted that you have been offered the position, but you would like take at least a couple of days to think it over and discuss it with your family. This allows you time to seriously evaluate the company, the offer and the match between you and the person you will be working under---your boss.
Now it’s time you need to ask yourself some honest questions with some honest answers. For example: Is this job really what you want? Or are you accepting the position because you are desperate after being out of work for a while? Would you fit in well with the position, culture of the company, and the management style of your boss? Is the compensation and benefits that are being offered competitive to the market? Is the company financially stable and will there be any major changes occurring in the next couple of years that could lead to lay-offs?
Get a copy of the actual job description. If you have not already done so, always, especially after receiving a job offer, get a copy of the job description. A job descriptions is not only helpful in determine what your true responsibilities are, but also what during the year you will be evaluated on performance wise. Will the job require some skills you don’t already have or require you to upgrade existing skills? Do you have the experience to do the job well without a long learning period? Will the job give you the satisfactions you require?
Weigh the chemistry between you and your potential boss. After your interview with the hiring manager, you should be able to access whether or not you would be able to work well with that person. If you interviewed properly during the questioning session, you would have asked the hiring manager about his or her management style. The manager response would have given you an idea of how well you would fit working under that person. You would also have some idea of he or she values in terms of support, and how you can be successful working in that department and environment.
Even though your interview went well and you both were relax and honest with each other, you still need to evaluate would you work well for this person based upon your working style and your boss’s management style. Keep in mind that the most significant factor of your performance on the job is apt to be your boss. If you have any reservation about this person---does he or she play by the rules, will your personalities clash, and do your work styles mesh, and then think long and hard about how life will be working for this person. Yes, they may have made you a great salary offer with good benefits, but if the chemistry with your boss isn’t there, you may not last on the job---or worse yet, you’ll just be miserable working there.
Do your compensation research. Although the salary the company is offering you may seem reasonable, you still want assurance that the salary they are quoting you is competitive to the market, your skill level and years of experience. Therefore, you need to carefully research the market for the position. Your research would also give you additional bargaining support should you decide to negotiate a higher salary than what they have initially offered you. Having good support data, to argue your position for more dollars also gives you more leverage in making such argument. In your research make sure you are comparing similar job factors along with company size, industry and the salary range of the position. Some of the free salary surveys you can find on the Internet include: http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/compub.htm#Division, www.salary.com/, www.payscale.com/, and www.rhi.com/SalaryGuides.
Also, keep in mind that whatever salary offer you accept, as a new hire, your salary generally won’t be reviewed for at least 12 months from your anniversary date, unless of course, you receive an early promotion.
Depending on what survey source you are looking at, the average salary increases for 2014 range from 2.9 percent to 3 percent. According to Towers Watson Data Services, companies are offering pay increases averaging at 2.9 percent this year (http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/moneypower/money-power-average-pay-ra...). However, according to Buck Consultants Compensation Planning Survey, average base pay increases for 2014 will be at 3 percent. (https://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/compensation/articles/pages/2014-sala...).
The bottom line is not to sale yourself short when it comes to the salary offer. Companies do have limits to their budgets, but also if they want you badly enough and provided your salary request is within reasonable range of the position and would not create salary compression problems within the department, the company would be open to meeting your salary demand for accepting the position.
Making the decision. Two days have passed and now it’s “D” day. You have discussed the job offer with your spouse and possibly other relatives and friends, but the ultimate decision is yours. Do you take the job or don’t you? If after your research you find that the initial salary offer is competitive to the market and you and the hiring manager are a good fit, by all means, seriously consider accepting the position. Also, if you been out of work for a long time, accepting the position would be a no brainer given that you will be paid fairly and competitively to the market and you seem to have good chemistry with the hiring manager that would be your new boss.
Generally, good job offers are not hard to accept. However, when one has more than one job offer from competing companies and those offers are similar, making a decision can be more difficult. Also, when deciding on accepting a job that would require you to relocate, you decision becomes even more difficult because accepting the offer not only directly involves you, but also your spouse and other family members.