So You Have A Job Offer, Now What?


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Congratulations! You have an offer!

Now What?  We all know that we are supposed to negotiate, but what do we ask for?

Once you receive the offer via phone or email, thank them and politely let them know that you would like time to review the offer. Trust me - no respectful company is going to revoke an offer over this! They may try to rush you, so provide a reasonable timeframe - either by the end of the day or within 24 hours.

Think Total Package
As you review your offer, think about the total package. A lot of people only consider the base salary when considering an offer. However your ‘package’ at a company includes equity, health & wellness offers, personal / career development, perks, culture etc.

You can improve your chances of success by considering the package you’ll receive as a whole. Keep in mind that, depending on the company, some parts will be negotiable and some won’t.

Let’s breakdown the package!

This can include base pay, bonus, commissions, signing bonus. You always want more in your base pay since its guaranteed income and will compound any future increases. However, the employer may have budget restrictions that they can’t get around. In these cases, get creative with signing bonuses or increases to your annual bonus instead.  

This may be in the form of restricted share units, stock options, employee matching programs etc. The value of an equity grant is not always easy to determine for privately held companies, but ask about the strike price, vesting schedule, and what happens when you leave.

Health & Wellness
This is a broad category, which includes paid time off, parental leave, health plans, insurances, wellness funds etc. These may not be negotiable, but make a big difference in your work/life balance. Are you planning to have a child in the next few years? Make sure you know about their parental leave policy.  Smaller companies may allow you to negotiate for paid time off - most companies offer 3 weeks of paid time off to start with.

Personal / Career Development
There are a few parts to this section of the package. There are the tangible items, like paying for conferences, certifications, and formal training programs. And there are the intangible items, like the company’s attitude to growth and informal learning opportunities.

This includes discounts, free food, pets at work etc. These are not deal-breakers, but the ‘nice to haves’ and can tell you about the company’s culture. Personally, I don’t know how I would work somewhere without dogs in the office anymore!   

Of course, you can’t negotiate culture but this is an important piece to consider when reviewing the overall package. The culture will determine the way that work gets done. If the company moves fast and changes a lot, but you prefer to be slow and methodical, you are going to burn out a lot faster.  

What’s important to you?
This is the time to reflect. What is important to you? This is the part that no one can advise you on.

At this stage of my career, growth is a huge driver for me. I want to work where I can learn fast. I love to travel, so a generous vacation package (and a boss who is supportive of time to recharge) is very important to me. I also commute to work, so the ability to work remotely saves me 2 hours per week and provides some distraction-free, deep work time. I’m lucky to have a partner with a reliable benefits plan, so a generous extended health plan is a nice-to-have but not a priority for me. However, this is all unique to my personal circumstances. It’s up to you to determine what your priorities are and negotiate based on those.  

Try to limit your negotiation to 1-2 things. Don’t go overboard and ask for more of everything. Ask for what is fair and understand that they may not provide everything you ask for.

Make sure you know what your minimums. If they say no, will you reject the offer? Deciding this in advance can prevent you from making an emotional decision in the moment.

*The content for this article was originally created and presented by Angela Wright and Ashley Dhaliwal of Hootsuite in June 2017.

Written by: Ashley Dhaliwal, Guest Writer + Contributor at Talent Lab

Ashley Dhaliwal is a Sr. Advisor on the Rewards & People Operations team at Hootsuite.  Her interests are in program development and project management for all-things-People around the globe. Outside of the office you’ll find her in a constant pursuit for knowledge - either through travel, books, or trying out new hobbies. Say 👋🏻 on Linkedin