Great work! You have been offered a tremendous new engineering job and are poised to accept. Subject to a final negotiation session to finalise the details, of course.
When you are offered a job – this is normally a signal that you are near end of a long road of a job search, investigating the opportunities and then going on interminable interviews. This period of time when you are close to acceptance of the job is a critical one as you have a huge opportunity to shape the job and remuneration – more so than for many years after you have accepted this job offer.
A few suggestions follow below on considering the job. Remember in all your discussions with your would-be employer or HR recruiter that you must stay positive, enthusiastic and level-headed in the discussions. You should always remember that ultimately you may have to reject the job.
Suggestions on Assessing the Job Offer
While salary is a vital component of the job (and often a reason for changing jobs); bear in mind that this is only one component of a happy job. Look at the salary package holistically and trade-off other non-financial benefits such as sick leave / time off / study leave and the actual quality of the job and location. For example, you would be expecting huge compensation for working on a remote mine site for a company with a dubious safety record which is financially highly stressed and which has high turnover of employees. On the other hand; getting a dream job in a beautiful part of the world with fabulous professionals in a very creative industry may not pay as much. Thus do a careful and dispassionate assessment of salaries on the internet, through job sites and recruitment consultants. The latter often have a very good handle on remuneration levels in your area.
Requirements of the Job
What does the job require? What are the daily activities? How many off these tasks do you love and how many do you hate? Are the requirements for the job aligned with who you are and what you enjoy doing? How will you be measured for promotion and success in the job? What are the prospects for growth in the organisation or is it a tiny one-woman band?
People and Culture
What are the people and culture like? Is it a free wheeling flat organisation or frightfully bureaucratic and structured? Which culture do you fit in with? Talk to others who know the business and people and confirm that you will be happy.
Unspoken benefits or hidden defects are often a minefield. Investigate carefully the features of the job that no one has explicitly spent too much time talking about. What are the hidden benefits of the job? Lots of international travel to exotic fascinating places? Or perhaps, regular trips to ghastly polluted industrial sites staffed by unhappy people. Is the job flexible allowing you to work from home or to take time off ? Does the company pay for further study with good study leave? Do you work a four day week with longer hours?
Design a Strategic Plan
In going forward it is important to come up with a creative plan to negotiate some additional features or to change the structure in the job to something more aligned with who you are. Above all through the discussions stay positive and enthusiastic about the job. Ensure you don’t sound mercenary after the ‘buck’. You don’t want to poison the relationship with your future employer who may feel that you are avaricious and self-serving.
Do not Hesitate to Say NO
Sometimes, you simply have to say no if you have doubts or unresolved concerns about the job. As Robert De Niro says: When in doubt do without.
Katharine Whitehorn hits the nail on the head with her comment:
Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for doing it.
Thanks to Rebecca Knight of Harvard Business Review for some inspiration.
Yours in engineering learning