There may be a difference between what people say and what they mean. Well it’s no different with the job search process. At times the verbal job description and the written job specifications can be different from what you expected. Why is that?
First, you need to understand the differences between what the hiring manager is looking for and the communications between human resources and the recruiter. Each may interpret differently the job specifications and ultimately an offer to candidates. Here are some examples:
“A college degree in business or equivalent”. What is an “equivalent”? 5 years direct experience? 10 years indirect experiences? How about a college degree in accounting or an Associate degree and two years experience?
“A salary of $75,000 with the potential of a year-end bonus”. This is a very slippery one. “Potential” does not mean guaranteed. Is the “year-end bonus” annual? Is the bonus potential 5% of salary or 20%? Is the bonus automatic or contingent on what?
“Salary plus benefits”. Some benefits start at your date of employment others do not. Which of your benefits are determined by time-in-service? Don’t get caught with a gap in health care.
Is there a signing bonus? Are performance reviews tied to merit increases? Is there a minimum time before a promotion? Is there a salary range for the position? Where are you within that range? (If you’re at the top of the range, don’t expect pay increases)
Most all conditions of employment are found in three basic documents:
Policy statements (relocation, incentives, bonuses)
Benefit statements, (health care, individual/family insurances) and most importantly,
The Letter of offer / employment
Here are some guidelines to follow:
Get copies of all policy and benefits statements: Understand the fine print and how they work!
During interviews, take notes to what each says about key elements of the job and anything related to compensation: Position description, reporting relationships, title, base salary, grade/range, bonus and/or incentives, rules of each and conditions that must be met
Note differences between an external recruiter, corporate recruiter, human resource and the hiring manager. Get clarity with any discrepancies.
Note any changes or differences between the verbal offer and the written letter of offer, including any email documents you have received. Get clarity and definition.
Put in writing any questions you may have about the employment offer. Request written responses to your questions. Note: Any changes from a written policy must be signed-off by an officer of the company.
Document your letter of acceptance, noting any changes from the letter of offer.
Some of these steps sound obvious, but better safe than sorry. It’s very difficult and awkward to try and change a key element of a job offer after the fact. It shows you weren’t paying attention.
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