How do you make the decision to accept a job offer or not? Many candidates wait until they’re already interviewing before thinking about the end game. Sometimes a candidate gets caught up in the process and forgets to objectively sort out the professional and personal issues.
First, before you even apply for a job, make a list of up to 5 items that you believe must be in a job offer. Name these items as your “MUST HAVE” list. These are “non-negotiable” items. This list could include such things as a title, compensation level, geographic location, industry, benefits, moving expenses, employment contract, a company car, short commuting distance, minimum vacation weeks, and so on. Anything can be on your list. Of course, the more demanding the list, the fewer the opportunities that may be available to you. What are the knockout factors? What is negotiable? What falls to the lower list?
Next, list up to 5 items that would be “NICE TO HAVE”. This list could include some of the items that were identified above, but drop down to the lesser important list. It could include such things as a quarterly performance review in the first year, increased responsibilities, a hiring bonus, added staff, and so on. These are the things that would make the job more interesting or acceptable to you but not imperative.
Thirdly, identify those items that you want to “AVOID “at all costs. This list could be a company that is in dire straights, is about to be acquired, has an autocratic management style, an industry you don’t want to work in, requires 80% travel or other mandates that make the job undesirable. The more constraints, the more difficult the search strategy becomes.
Can your “MUST HAVE” list change? Of course, priorities can shift. Some things can be changed for different jobs. Be careful of a hiring agent that says they “have a wonderful opportunity to match your requirements once your hired”. Get any promises in writing. If the hiring organization can’t put it in writing, then it’s a hope, not a commitment.
Now that you have a framework from which to assess each job opportunity, you should fine-tune your decision-making. Take each “Must Have”, “Nice to Have”, and “Avoid” items and rate each one of them from 0 to 100 against each job offer. If your criterion has been totally and completely met on a specific item, then rate it as 100. Assess how close each item comes to your ideal, whether it’s 75%, 50%, 30% or 0%.
When you’re finished, you’ll have a more objective perspective of the opportunities that meet or exceed your requirements versus those jobs that fall short. Your career direction and destination will be affected by your ability to diagnose the opportunity against your own professional and personal career goals.
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