Post Interview Process
Preparing for an interview takes a lot of time and thoughtfulness, but what do you once it’s over? You will go through several more steps before actually starting a new position, assuming you get the offer! This chapter will help you navigate the process of learning from each interview you have, evaluating job offers, negotiating a starting salary, knowing how to humbly decline an offer, and accepting your new career position.
Evaluating an Offer
In the excitement of receiving a job offer, resist the urge to immediately accept without doing an evaluation of the salary, benefits, and other factors like work environment and time demands. Find out by what date the company would like a response and be sure to get back with them by that time.
Beyond salary, there are other considerations you should make in determining whether or not to accept an offer. The Evaluating an Offer Worksheet will help you know what questions to ask, what was mentioned in the interview and what to discuss when they give you an offer.
Everyone in the organization seems to know where they’re going and why and everyone knows what their part is in achieving the overall vision. This indicates a culture where the leader of the organization is a clear communicator and has been able to make everyone feel a part of a common goal. When people reach their goals, they are rewarded and recognized for their efforts. This indicates a culture that fosters a sense of personal accomplishment surrounding their particular area or department.
New employees go through a thorough training period and all employees at various levels are encouraged to engage in mentorship relationships. This indicates a culture where there is an emphasis placed on relationships and constant growth that is both to the benefit of the individual and to the organization.
People feel free and comfortable approaching their supervisor and believe that when they have an idea, a complaint or request, they will be heard. This indicates a culture where every person is respected individually and leaders don’t abuse their position of power. Employees feel like they fit in and have positive interpersonal relationships with others in the organization. They feel others and their supervisor have concern for their wellbeing and life outside the workplace. This indicates a culture that treats people as people and not as cogs.
Negotiating an Offer
Generally, you should never talk about salary unless the employer initiates the conversation (you will come off as being just concerned about the money!). The employer might tell you,
“The salary range for this position is between $X-$X,”
or the employer may ask,
“What kind of salary are you expecting?”
In that event, say something like,
“Based on my experience and qualifications, I would expect to make between $X and $X, which according to my research is appropriate for this position and hopefully within your acceptable range.”
Remember that it is easier to start higher and negotiate down than to start lower and try to convince them you’re worth more. They may ask you this question just to make sure that your expectations are appropriate.
Salary negotiation does not have to be a dramatic confrontation or an initiation of conflict; it is a business conversation that does not need to be taken personally. Be confident in who you are and what you offer. Research your position thoroughly so that your appeal is not an emotional one but rather one that is based on facts and evidence.
After receiving the offer from the first company, ask to get it in writing, and then request a few days to review. Then, contact the hiring manager at the dream employer and say something like,
“I am a candidate for the available position, [title]. I understand that you have a very thorough interview process, but I wanted to let you know that I recently received a very attractive offer from another company to which I need to respond soon. Because I am still very interested in working for your company, I wanted to request information on where I am in your interview process.”
If the dream employer makes you an offer within your time limit - great! Compare them and decide which is best. If they do not, decide whether you’d like to take the concrete offer you’ve already received or take the risk on the dream job.
Before you launch into an articulate and well-researched pitch of why you are worth a higher salary, it is appropriate to first ask,
“How negotiable are the salary and benefits?”
If they give the impression that there is wiggle room, ask when their response deadline is, and complete your research before that time. If they firmly state that the salary is set, then decide if you are willing to accept the position at a lower pay rate than anticipated in order to gain other potential advantages (quick promotions, vacation time, etc.).
Be aware that there is always a risk for an employer to rescind their offer if they feel offended by your negotiation tactics. Always be professional and kind. Here are a few tips:
Genuinely thank the employer for the offer.
Focus on one or two parts of the offer to counter - don’t pick apart the whole thing!
Make sure you present research - your counter should be in line with what appears in the industry
Do not respond immediately, which can cause you to make a decision based on emotion.
You can write your counter if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Make sure you’re negotiating with the decision maker and not an intermediary.
Many things are negotiable beyond just the salary and benefits. Here are few examples:
Responsibilities - If you can justify that you are capable of doing more than what the job requires, this might give you grounds for a bump in pay.
Title - Like responsibilities, you can convince an employer that you are deserving of a more prestigious title by showing evidence of your leadership skills and level of expertise.
Signing Bonus - If you are being recruited from another company or are taking on a sales role, you may be eligible for a signing bonus. These tend to be staggered over time, and sometimes you can negotiate more if you increase your waiting time (ex: instead of $500 in six months, ask for $750 in one year).
Review Date - Expedite a possible raise by negotiating a sooner review date.
Tuition Reimbursement - Convince your employer that you will become a greater asset to them if they invest in your education. This could be worth tens of thousands of dollars!
Work Schedule - Do you like to work independently and on your own time? Negotiate your work hours or see if they will let you work remotely, if you can prove that it will not affect your productivity.
Though you can decline to provide this information, your application might be automatically discarded. Employers ask for this information to have the upper hand in negotiation and to evaluate candidates. If you are currently making less than what you feel you would deserve in the new position, be prepared to justify the value you will bring. Whatever you do, don’t lie about it - this information can usually be sought out anyways!
Properly Declining or Accepting an Offer
Sometimes, for a myriad of possible reasons, it’s just not a good fit. That’s ok! If a company has offered you a position that you would like to decline, make sure that you are positive and professional, careful not to burn any bridges. Send this letter within the time frame they gave you, or sooner, so as to respect their time and allow them to move on to other possible candidates.
Sample Decline Letter
Dear Ms. Brown:
Thank you for the offer for the position as [position] at [firm]. After much consideration, however, I have decided to pursue another opportunity. Thank you for your assistance throughout the interview process; I enjoyed learning about your company and wish you the best.
When you decide to accept an offer, you should confirm your acceptance both verbally and in writing. By this time, you will have arrived at an acceptable salary and benefits package through negotiation, and you are ready to accept the agreement. You should have also decided against all other opportunities, as once you accept an offer, you have made a commitment and given your word.
Sample Acceptance Letter
Dear Ms. Brown:
I am pleased to accept your offer to join [firm] as the new [position]. As we previously discussed, I understand my salary to begin at $[amount here] annually with a benefits package including: [list benefits].
I look forward to reporting to your office on [date] eager to train and contribute to your current projects. Please let me know of any in-processing paperwork you would like me to complete in preparation.
Thank you for your assistance throughout the interview process, and I am excited to be a new member of the team.