A job offer can be made in a number of ways. Verbally through a recruitment consultant or by the company directly, as a formal offer in writing or via a formal interview accompanied with a formal offer.
Job Offers via a Recruitment Consultant or Company
If you receive a verbal offer of employment, you will ordinarily receive a formal letter and contract of employment in the mail or on commencement of the first day of employment.
Sometimes, provisional verbal offers of employment are made subject to the receipt of satisfactory references, security checks and, possibly, health checks. If you verbally accept an offer, you are not bound by this until you have signed a formal offer letter and/or contract of employment.
Formal Written Letter Offer
Do not sign this until you are satisfied with what you are being offered; salary, benefits and conditions of employment etc. Always wait until you have had the chance to consider the contents prior to your formal acceptance. If the offer doesn't meet your expectations, identify what you need to do to bring it to a level you are satisfied with.
Once you have received the formal letter offer (contract), you should return a signed copy within two to three days, keeping a copy for yourself.
Formal Interview & Formal Offer
People are often so flattered by receiving a job offer, and dismayed with their existing employer, that they accept a new role without considering the offer carefully. Make sure you're not 'jumping from the frying pan into the fire'.
You do not have to accept the job offer on the spot! Consider the offer in more detail and say that you will get back to them as soon as possible or suggest an actual day.
If you are sure the offer is right for you, you can of course accept it there and then.
If you think the offer is not right for you, don't feel pressured into saying "yes". This move should be the next step in your career and you need to know that it feels right. Politely request a couple of days to think about it and follow up other potential offers you have considered.
When you receive an offer letter you are in the position to negotiate conditions of employment, including salary, benefits and a start date.
If you have a Recruitment Consultant representing you, salary, benefits and starting dates will be negotiated on your behalf since consultant's job is to enable you to get the best package possible whilst satisfying the company's needs.
If you are negotiating directly with an organization it is important to have a clear and realistic idea of what you want in regard to salary and benefits.
You will need to have done some research into market salaries to know what you might aspire to, and what you should not be prepared to accept.
Effective negotiation is all about creating a win/win situation for both you and the company hiring you. This means you get the salary and benefits you want and the company will benefit by hiring you.
- Never raise the topic of salary at interview (especially 1st meeting); the interviewer will raise this topic for discussion sooner or later.
- If you are asked to establish the salary level you would like, defer this discussion until the responsibilities of the job have been clearly defined. If you feel pressed to give a response, provide a negotiating margin, stipulating a baseline to work from (e.g. 'I'm looking for something in the region of € x,000 and € y,000').
- You may like to consider a lower salary than you currently earn, if what is being offered for a job has the potential to take you - in the foreseeable future - to where you want to be, career-wise.
- Never discuss your personal needs. Discuss instead what the job requires for optimum results.
- Never accept or reject an offer on the spot; take it away to consider all your options.
Two (or More) Offers
One offer can be very flattering, let alone more than one. But before getting carried away, you will need to ask yourself:
- What are the reasons for me wishing to join this potential employer?
- Are my values in line with that of this organization?
- Are there promotion and career development opportunities?
If you decide to accept an offer, do so for the right reasons, and consider your skills, knowledge and attributes. Choose the offer that provides the best match.
To help you to map out your decision-making process, why not get pieces of blank paper, write the job title and employer's name at the top, then draw a vertical line down the middle. Give each of the 2 columns a heading "Pros" and "Cons", and then start to complete each one. Doing this exercise with your partner or friend can help your decision process.
Some people find this one of the most difficult aspects of changing job (although others relish it)! It can be emotionally difficult letting go of the organization you are leaving, especially if you have made good friends there and have invested a lot of time and energy in doing your job to the best of your ability.
Appropriate actions around the time of you leaving include the following:
- Formally thank the company for any opportunities they have given you during your time with them. You can do this in your letter of resignation, in an email and/or in person.
- Avoid negative remarks, enabling you to leave your place of employment on good terms; there are no benefits in burning your bridges.
- If it is consistent with your plans and the culture of the organization, provide your manager with a written letter of resignation, informing the company of your last day of work. This should be consistent with your original terms of employment. If this agreement was not specific about the notice period, you will need to negotiate this before submitting your letter.
- If you are asked to extend your last day beyond the notice period, do so only if it suits you and if it fits in with the starting date at the next organization.
- Consider whether you should take any accumulated leave before commencing the next job. It is unlikely you will be having a significant holiday for at least 10-12 months after the starting date of your new role.