Got an Offer? Ask These Questions

Get­ting a job offer is and should be a time of cel­e­bra­tion.  You have suc­cess­fully nav­i­gated the inter­view process and an employer has deter­mined that you, out of all the other can­di­dates, are the person that they want for the job.  The offer rep­re­sents a salary, ben­e­fits, and, for all of you grad­u­ating stu­dents, an end to the fear of being unem­ployed after investing time in your edu­ca­tion.  How­ever, don’t let the hap­pi­ness of making it through this mile­stone cloud your judg­ment into accepting the offer automatically—if you do so you jeop­ar­dize your chance of nego­ti­ating, or making a care­fully thought-​​out deci­sion about your career.  After expressing your interest in the posi­tion and enthu­siasm about the offer be sure to ask these questions:

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1.)    When do you need my answer by?  Gen­er­ally, the employer allows at least 24 hours and at most two weeks for a can­di­date to con­sider an offer.  By knowing how long you have to make the deci­sion, you can notify any other employers that you’ve been inter­viewing with that you have been made an offer.  This way you can ask the employer if it is pos­sible for them to get back to you within the set time frame, espe­cially if one of those other employers is your top choice.  It also gives you para­me­ters in which to think crit­i­cally about how the job fits in with your career goals—could this job give you the skills that you want to gain and open up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for you career?

2.)    Can I receive the offer in writing and the ben­e­fits package? Knowing how long you have to respond to a job offer will enable you to care­fully view the benefits/​salary package in a timely manner and under­stand if it works for you or not. Keep in mind that salary is not the only factor that affects the overall offer. Ben­e­fits such as dental/​medical cov­erage, vacation/​sick time, tuition remis­sion, and employer con­tri­bu­tion to a retire­ment plan, among others, all add up.  If you aren’t sat­is­fied with the overall package, now is the time to think through your nego­ti­ating strategy for your next com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the hiring manager.

3.)    Who can I talk to if I have ques­tions about the ben­e­fits package?  Some­times the person offering you the posi­tion is not equipped to talk through the nitty-​​gritty of the ben­e­fits package.  He or she may then direct you to someone in the HR depart­ment that has a better under­standing of the ben­e­fits avail­able to recent hires.  Get­ting your ques­tions answered about these ben­e­fits can ensure that you under­stand how all the pieces, such as salary/​benefits, fit together with your offer.

Keep in mind that asking ques­tions does not indi­cate that you are not excited about the offer.  It shows the employer that you truly care about your career by taking the time to do your research and under­stand how the posi­tion, salary and ben­e­fits fit in with your goals.  On the flip side, if you already know what salary a hiring man­ager is going to offer you and the ben­e­fits that go along with it, there is no need to hes­i­tate when receiving the offer, if you’ve already thought crit­i­cally about what accepting the posi­tion would mean for you.  Feel free to accept on the spot-​​congratulations, you’ve earned it!

Ashley LoBue is an Assis­tant Director at North­eastern Career Devel­op­ment.  A Boston Col­lege grad­uate, Ashley has over 3 years of expe­ri­ence working in higher edu­ca­tion and is a pro­po­nent for inter­na­tional and expe­ri­en­tial education.

Image sourced from dig​i​tal​gurus​.co​.uk