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You have had several interviews and have scheduled one or two more. The phone rings and it is the Human Resource Manager at the first company where you interviewed. It is a job offer! You think to yourself, finally! But, just when you begin to say “When can I start?” the words stick in your throat. Suddenly, you are not sure you are making

the right decision. Do you accept the offer? Is this job your first choice? Is something else likely to come along? How can you make a decision? There are several ways to evaluate job offers. Perhaps the simplest is to list all the pros and cons and see which list is longer. As you evaluate the offer, keep in mind the things that are important to you about your lifestyle. Refer back to section 1 where you determined your Work Preferences and Work-Related Values. This may help you make a decision. Compare how well the job matches your preferences and values. A sample of how to conduct this comparison follows.

Remember that your family is affected by job decisions, so include them in the decision-making process.

When considering a job offer, consider the major factors, such as:

• work environment;

• location and commute;

• potential/growth/job security;

• salary and benefits package; and

• type of work: full-time/part-time, temporary/permanent/contractor.

Talk to your family and close friends about the options you are considering. You will often get a new perspective on your decision by discussing it with someone else.


The Industry

• Interest in the industry (Is this a field where I would like to build a career?)

• Potential for long-term growth (Is this an industry that is growing?)

The Position

• Work duties (Do the duties of the job interest me and use my skills?)

• Potential for advancement (What opportunities are available?)

• Position level (Where is the job in the organization? To whom do I report?)

• Wages/benefits (Do they meet my needs?) See following page.

• Hours (Do I consider them reasonable?)

• Working conditions (What are the company’s expectations and work style?)

• Quality of job (How long has the position been open and why is it open?)

• Travel requirements (How much would I have to travel?)

The Company

• Growth potential (How has the company performed over the last several years?)

• Planned expansion (What plans exist and how do they fit with the economy?)

• Success (What are the company’s debt/profit ratio and other indicators of success?)

• Reputation (What is the company’s reputation in the industry and with its employees?)

• Management team (What is the tenure, growth, and origin of the management team?)

Your Supervisors

• Skills (What are the supervisors’ training and previous work experience?)

• Organizational position (Who do the supervisors report to and how long have they been in their jobs?)

• Interaction/expectation (How well do I think I can work with the supervisor?)

Environmental Concerns

• Geographic location (Is the job someplace I would like to live?)

• Area factors (Am I comfortable with the traffic, growth, cost of living, crime rate, etc.?)

• Housing (Is affordable housing available and to my liking?)

• Recreation (Are recreation opportunities available and within reason?)

• Schools (Are good schools available for my children, spouse, and self?)


Paid Vacations

• 10 to 14 days after a year of employment

• 15 days or more after a year of employment

• 15 days or more after five years of employment

Health Insurance

• Full/partial employer contribution

• Dependent coverage fully paid by employer

• Coverage includes:

– Vision care

– Dental care

– Counseling/Mental health care

Paid Sick Leave

• Provided

• Carry-over of unused days permitted

Paid Life Insurance

• At least two times annual salary (for coverage based on earnings)

• At least $15,000 (for coverage based on flat dollar amount)

Savings and Profit Sharing

• Savings/thrift plans

• Cash profit sharing

• Deferred profit sharing

• Cash and deferred profit sharing

Pension Plan (Defined Benefit) Provided

• 401K, 403B or other tax-deferred retirement savings plans

• Association, professional or union plans

• Mutual fund retirement plans

Other Benefits

• Full or partial relocation allowance

• Full or partial reimbursement for education expenses

• Financial or legal counseling

• Child care

• Long-term incentive plans (stock options)

• Paid phone bill, calling card

• Computer

• Expense account

• Credit card

• Flex time

• Telecommuting

• Flexible spending accounts

• Cellular phone

• Cars provided for executives, sales people or managers who must travel

• Bonuses


Dollars Per Hour 40 Hours Per Week Monthly Income Annual Income

$6.00 $240 $1,040 $12,480        $7.00 $280 $1,213 $14,560          $8.00 $320 $1,386 $16,640

$9.00 $360 $1,560 $18,720        $10.00 $400 $1,733 $20,800        $11.00 $440 $1,906 $22,880

$12.00 $480 $2,080 $24,960      $13.00 $520 $2,253 $27,040        $14.00 $560 $2,426 $29,120

$15.00 $600 $2,600 $31,200      $16.00 $640 $2,773 $33,280        $17.00 $680 $2,947 $35,360

$18.00 $720 $3,120 $37,440      $19.00 $760 $3,293 $39,520        $20.00 $800 $3,467 $41,600

$21.00 $840 $3,640 $43,680      $22.00 $880 $3,813 $45,760        $23.00 $920 $3,987 $47,840

$24.00 $960 $4,160 $49,920      $25.00 $1,000 $4,333 $52,000      $26.00 $1,040 $4,507 $54,080

$27.00 $1,080 $4,690 $56,160   $28.00 $1,120 $4,853 $58,240      $29.00 $1,160 $5,027 $60,320

$30.00 $1,200 $5,200 $62,400   $31.00 $1,240 $5,373 $64,480      $32.00 $1,280 $5,546 $66,560

1. Annual income is based on 2,080 hours worked.

2. Monthly income has been calculated by dividing the annual income by 12.


Sometimes you receive an offer you like in some ways but there are some things about it you do not like. Rather than turning down the offer, you may want to consider negotiating the terms of the offer with the employer. However, for the most part, employers will only enter into serious negotiations for upper level management and executive positions. Understand not all jobs will have flexibility in their salaries and that not all positions are negotiable depending on the type of job and organization.

Depending on the situation, money may be a negotiable issue. For example, say you are offered a position starting at $12 per hour and you were hoping for $15 per hour. You may be able to negotiate the salary and reach a compromise of $13.50.

Remember, if the position is at a level to negotiate, almost anything can be the subject for negotiations. There may be several items open for negotiation. Before you decide to negotiate, however, you have to make some decisions. one of the first parts

1. Be sure that the issue is so serious you would not take the job unless it were changed. Remember, when you ask to negotiate, the employer may withdraw the offer. The employer may have other candidates who would be willing to take the job as offered. In some cases the employer may not be able to change the offer due to contract or budget limitations.

2. If money is the issue, be sure you know the salary range you will accept. Having a range is better than an exact figure because it allows for compromise. For example, it may be easier for an employer to provide more in benefits than in salary by providing perks, like free parking or tuition assistance. The Living Wage link will help determine a salary and benefit table in order to calculate an acceptable wage. 

3. Keep your military benefits in mind. When you calculate the value of the many benefits, use it as a negotiation tool for your entry into the private sector. Online calculators are available and links are available on the transition website.

Following are some general suggestions and guidelines on negotiating. Keep in mind the idea is to let the employer know you are very interested, but there are some things that make you uncomfortable. Remember, always keep a positive attitude.

1. Salary can be an issue to negotiate. Salary does not include benefits which are a large percentage of your annual earnings. Benefits may include health and/or life insurance, parking, flexible work hours, training/education opportunities,

use of a company car, relocation assistance, administrative leave, sick leave, vacation, participation in professional associations, and so forth. Look at the total compensation package.

2. Do your homework and find out the salary range for the job. Also, find out what working conditions are like throughout the industry. Be sure you get the information for the state or region in which the job is located.

3. Do not ignore job progression as a salary issue. You can sometimes make a compromise by accepting the job at the salary offered and asking for a review sooner than company policy normally allows. Focus on what the job pays after two year’s experience.

Negotiating in Person An in-person discussion offers the advantage of allowing you to deal with the employer’s objection on the spot. If the job you are applying for is one where an offer may be made at the end of the interview, you should be prepared to negotiate

at that point. The following guidelines will be helpful in an in-person negotiation: 1. Be positive and polite. Thank the interviewer for the offer and express your interest in the position. 2. Mention the issues of concern and suggest compromises. If money is an issue, remember to suggest a range rather than a definite amount. 3. If you cannot reach agreement and you are uncertain about accepting the bottom-line offer, ask if you can think about it overnight and call the next day with your decision.

Negotiating in Writing It is always preferable to negotiate in person, however, in some situations you may have no choice but to negotiate in writing. It can give you the opportunity to word your remarks carefully (without getting flustered). It gives the employer a chance to evaluate your ideas, talk them over with others, and to make a counter offer. It  avoids instant refusal. If you decide to do this, ask for the employer’s preference for delivery—via e-mail with attachment, in the text of an e-mail, USPS overnight, hand delivery, etc. Remember to keep the letter positive and factual. Use the following rules to work

your negotiation letter: 1. Express your appreciation for the offer. 2. Mention that you are interested but would like to suggest some changes before accepting the offer. 3. List the issues of concern and suggest specific changes. 4. Suggest you are confident a mutually satisfactory arrangement can be reached. 5. Request a personal meeting to discuss issues, and suggest a date. 6. Do this within 24 hours of the offer. See the examples on the following pages.


COMMUNICATE YOUR DECISION TO THE EMPLOYER  There are several possible outcomes for your analysis of job offers. You can:

• accept the offer (as is or negotiated);

• reject the offer; or

• request extension of the decision.

Whatever your decision, communicate your decision immediately either verbally or in writing. If the offer was made verbally, a verbal response is sufficient. If the offer was made in writing, a written response is required. Usually the written offer from the employer will include a second copy for you to sign and send back. It is a good idea to request a written job offer, particularly if you are relocating for the job or if there is a time delay before actually starting work. If you are requesting to delay the decision, the request should be made verbally and then follow it up with a letter.


Following are guidelines and samples of various types of letters that correspond with your decision about offers. Use the guidelines and examples to draft your own letters. Note that all letters should conform to standard rules of letter writing. Pay particular attention to the tone of the letter and carefully proofread it before mailing.


Thirty-seven percent of the people who ask for something get it. One hundred percent of the people who don’t ask, don’t get what they want. (Richard Gaither; author, job search consultant)