When you want a job -- whether it's your dream job or you're simply ready to move on -- it can be all too easy to accept any offer you're given, even if it's not the right offer for you.
"The No. 1 misstep I see clients take is the failure to step back, take a breath, and meaningfully assess a job offer," says Karen Elizaga, executive coach and author of Find Your Sweet Spot. "They are almost inclined to jump immediately at an offer."
So how can you pause to determine whether an offer is really worth it? Luckily, it's easy to do with Glassdoor's How to Get a Job guide. It offers a bevy of questions you can ask yourself to assess the offer, gives tips to help you negotiate, and it even provides a complete email script for sending your initial negotiation email you can use word-for-word.
Here, we've distilled the basic steps you need to take to assess any offer, and how to begin a negotiation with a potential employer. It doesn't have to be intimidating with these steps!
Ask the right questions
When you receive a job offer, you need to hit pause long enough to ask yourself questions before you give an answer, according to Glassdoor's guide--and Elizaga totally agrees.
"It is crucial to take a step before taking a leap," she says, advising that you first ask, "Is this job what you want to be doing? And does it align with your skills, talent, and purpose?"
Glassdoor recommends you assess the company post-interview to make sure it seems like a place you would like to work. You can ask yourself, "What's the culture at this company, and how do I fit in?" Elizaga recommends. "I have seen clients take a job where the fit -- in the context of their skills and talents with the job -- was excellent. But in the end, these jobs didn't work out because the company's culture did not jive with their own moral compass."
You may also want to evaluate what the upward trajectory, in other words, the possibilities for advancement at this company, are, says Elizaga. "You want to consider not only the wonderful aspects of this job, but where you might rise to in the future," Elizaga explains.
Look at the offer details
The next step in evaluating a job offer is to move past the job and look at what is also being offered in the pay and benefits package. Glassdoor suggests you ask yourself the questions, "Does the salary align with what you were expecting [and] do the benefits offered feel fair and reflect what you were looking for?" With the answers, you'll know whether to negotiate.
Negotiate like a pro
The idea of negotiating can be unnerving to many people, but it doesn't have to be difficult.
According to our guide, "One of the worst things you can do during salary negotiation is just make up a number. By backing up your ask with research, you'll likely feel more confident about making it." Luckily, you can use Glassdoor's Know Your Worth™ salary calculator to discover the job's average pay range. "It's important to know what is reasonable for the market," Elizaga agrees. That's because, in part, "you don't want to be negotiating for more when, in fact, what you are being offered is entirely reasonable and/or generous," she says.
Of course, you don't want to focus on salary alone. Before you begin your negotiation, think about whether the other benefits -- vacation, commissions, bonuses, stock options, and so on -- are appropriate and appealing, or could be tweaked to make the offer even better.
Then, "When negotiating, think about what value you bring to the table, rather than how their first offer is deficient or not enough to cover your lifestyle," advises Elizaga. "Consider the offer from the employer's point of view. What are they getting for the compensation that they're offering? If you think you contribute more value than the compensation would indicate, then definitely ask for more." Or ask for an expansion of their benefits package.
Lastly, "When going in to negotiate, have a strategy and be entirely comfortable with what you're asking for," she says. Employers can tell when you don't believe your own story. You're much more likely to get what you want when you emphatically believe your value."
This article originally appeared on Glassdoor.com.
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