Find Employment/Evaluating an Offer
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Evaluating a Job Offer
Once you receive a job offer, you are faced with a difficult decision and must evaluate the offer carefully. Fortunately, most organizations will not expect you to accept or reject an offer immediately.
There are many issues to consider when assessing a job offer. Will the organization be a good place to work? Will the job be interesting? Are there opportunities for advancement? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits? If you have not already figured out exactly what you want, the following discussion may help you to develop a set of criteria for judging job offers, whether you are starting a career, reentering the labor force after a long absence, or planning a career change.
Background information on an organization can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work. Factors to consider include the organization’s business or activity, financial condition, age, size, and location.
You generally can get background information on an organization, particularly a large organization, on its Internet site or by telephoning its public relations office. A public company’s annual report to the stockholders tells about its corporate philosophy, history, products or services, goals, and financial status. Most government agencies can furnish reports that describe their programs and missions. Press releases, company newsletters or magazines, and recruitment brochures also can be useful. Ask the organization for any other items that might interest a prospective employee. If possible, speak to current or former employees of the organization.
Background information on the organization may be available at your public or school library. If you cannot get an annual report, check the library for reference directories that may provide basic facts about the company, such as earnings, products and services, and number of employees. Some directories widely available in libraries either in print or as online databases include:
- Dun & Bradstreet’s Million Dollar Directory
- Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations
- Mergent’s Industrial Review (formerly Moody’s Industrial Manual)
- Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
- Ward’s Business Directory
Stories about an organization in magazines and newspapers can tell a great deal about its successes, failures, and plans for the future. You can identify articles on a company by looking under its name in periodical or computerized indexes in libraries. However, it probably will not be useful to look back more than 2 or 3 years
The library also may have government publications that present projections of growth for the industry in which the organization is classified. Long-term projections of employment and output for detailed industries, covering the entire U.S. economy, are developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and revised every 2 years. See the November 2005 Monthly Labor Review for the most recent projections, covering the 2004-14 period, on the Internet at: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/mlrhome.htm. Trade magazines also may include articles on the trends for specific industries.
Career centers at colleges and universities often have information on employers that is not available in libraries. Ask a career center representative how to find out about a particular organization.
- Does the organization’s business or activity match your own interests and beliefs?
- It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does.
- How will the size of the organization affect you?
- Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and better employee benefits than do small firms. Large employers also may have more advanced technologies. However, many jobs in large firms tend to be highly specialized.
Jobs in small firms may offer broader authority and responsibility, a closer working relationship with top management, and a chance to clearly see your contribution to the success of the organization.
- Should you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well established?
- New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people, the excitement of helping to create a company and the potential for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss. However, it may be just as exciting and rewarding to work for a young firm that already has a foothold on success.
- Does it make a difference if the company is private or public?
- An individual or a family may control a privately owned company and key jobs may be reserved for relatives and friends. A board of directors responsible to the stockholders controls a publicly owned company and key jobs usually are open to anyone.
- Is the organization in an industry with favorable long-term prospects?
The most successful firms tend to be in industries that are growing rapidly.
Nature of the job
Even if everything else about the job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day work. Determining in advance whether you will like the work may be difficult. However, the more you find out about the job before accepting or rejecting the offer, the more likely you are to make the right choice. Actually working in the industry and, if possible, for the company would provide considerable insight. You can gain work experience through part-time, temporary, or summer jobs, or through internship or work-study programs while in school, all of which can lead to permanent job offers.
- Where is the job located?
- If the job is in another section of the country, you need to consider the cost of living, the availability of housing and transportation, and the quality of educational and recreational facilities in that section of the country. Even if the job location is in your area, you should consider the time and expense of commuting.
- Does the work match your interests and make good use of your skills?
- The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained in enough detail to answer this question.
- How important is the job in this company?
- An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you are supposed to contribute to its overall objectives should give you an idea of the job’s importance.
- Are you comfortable with the hours?
- Most jobs involve regular hours—for example, 40 hours a week, during the day, Monday through Friday. Other jobs require night, weekend, or holiday work. In addition, some jobs routinely require overtime to meet deadlines or sales or production goals, or to better serve customers. Consider the effect that the work hours will have on your personal life.
- How long do most people who enter this job stay with the company?
- High turnover can mean dissatisfaction with the nature of the work or something else about the job.