Good news! You just received a job offer. Now comes the hard part. Do you really want to accept the position?
When evaluating an IT job offer, it’s important to examine every aspect of the potential deal — including salary, benefits, and job requirements, advises Agustina Alberto, people director, North America, at technology consulting firm Globant. “Doing independent research into current market rates and speaking with your [personal] network is important, since economic changes can quickly impact and change what’s considered competitive.”
Determine whether the organization can help you meet your goals. “Do this at every step of the process so that when you get to the offer stage, there are no surprises,” recommends Jennifer Henderson, senior vice president for global talent acquisition at IT consulting firm NTT DATA Services. Next, review the offer with the recruiter or HR representative you’re working with. “Ask questions to make sure the offer is clear and meets your goals,” she says.
Key Points to Reviewing Offer
Step one, Alberto says, is to focus on the proposed salary. “Next, look for additional monetary benefits, such as the potential for bonuses, long-term incentives, and any stock options,” she advises. Make sure these items are included in the offer letter. “Finally, don’t forget to consider non-monetary benefits, including quality of health insurance, paid time off, any wellness reimbursements, and other miscellaneous perks,” Alberto says.
Check to see if the job title and job description accurately reflect the role you have applied and interviewed for, recommends Christy Schumann, senior vice president of talent operations at freelance talent specialist Toptal. “You’ll want to be sure the company’s expectations of you are a match for your skillset and level of experience,” she says. The “great resignation” has forced many enterprises to bend their employment guidelines as they struggle to find and retain talent. “Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for organizations to try to force a round peg into a square hole, mismatching people into roles strictly to get someone in the door,” Schumann notes.
Additionally, be sure that the offer specifies exactly where you’ll be working. “While this topic was likely discussed in your interviews, companies continue to adjust their location policies, so it’s best to have guidance in writing,” Schumann says.
Read the offers’ fine print, Henderson recommends. What does the company’s employment agreement cover? Is there a non-compete clause? “You may not be able to negotiate clauses in the agreement, but you need to understand the implications,” she notes.
If the agreement includes something objectionable or confusing, ask for clarification and carefully consider your options. It’s important to understand the legal implications of what’s in the offer package, so you can protect your rights, Henderson says. “Most companies have good intentions; just make sure you’re informed.”
Scrutinize the offer document gig work restrictions or similar clauses that could limit your mobility once you accept employment. “Also consider any [contract] language that indicates your salaries, bonuses, or other perks and benefits are not guaranteed,” Alberto says.
Thoroughly research your prospective employer, particularly the organization’s leadership and vision, as well as its culture, benefits, and promotion paths. Alberto recommends asking yourself a series of key questions.
- Are the company’s values in alignment with my beliefs?
- Does the company culture seem supportive?
- Does the enterprise have a rapid staff turnover, particularly in IT?
- What opportunities will I have for education and training?
- Will I be able to obtain a satisfying work-life balance?
Before reaching a final decision, review the offer one last time. Determine whether the opportunity supports your career goals. “This will not only clear the air in your mind about why you want to join this company, but also give you valuable insights into what to expect,” Henderson says.
Check to see if you have any connections with people working at the organization that’s trying to hire you. “Get insights about the organization first-hand, including their perspectives on the culture and career progression,” Alberto says. “There are no other insights so valuable as a company’s current employees.”
Schumann notes that enterprise culture plays a major role in work satisfaction. “You can work with the most talented people on really incredible projects, but if cultural expectations are misaligned, productivity and success are much more difficult to achieve on a personal and team level,” she explains.
Finally, ask yourself if this is an employer you really want to work for. Do you like the service or the product? Can you see yourself working there five years from now? Do you see opportunities for professional growth? “Consider the bigger picture, and not just the immediate circumstances when making your final decision,” Schumann advises.