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    Negotiating the Job Offer

    March 18, 2004

    There are a number of critical decisions that successful Jobhunters need to make at some point during their Jobsearch. Some of these choices are fairly obvious, and others are relatively easy ones.

    The easiest decision for most people is quitting their present Job (that's why they're in the Jobhunt to begin with). The hard part is realizing that you probably need to remain in your current Job until you've found the Job you really want. Harder questions require more soul searching, and sound more like this:

  • What do I want to do with my life?

  • What are my best skills and how do they translate into a career I will like?

    After due diligence in the Jobhunt, you will have narrowed your target companies and preferred Jobs to a select few. Networking your way into informal, then formal Interviews should generate (eventually!) Job Offers. This is where Jobhunters often make their most egregious errors - they are so happy to get an offer after months of rejection that they jump at the first offer they get.

    A well-executed Jobsearch could yield the best offer from the best company for the Job you really want. But don't count on this result, and hesitate when you get a Job offer. There is rarely any harm in telling a Hiring Manager, "I need to consider your offer and will be ready to discuss it with you tomorrow." They've taken weeks to figure out whom they should offer the Job to, and at what salary - now it's your turn to evaluate their offer.

    When you hire someone to complete some work for you, do you accept the first bid you get? Wisdom suggests that you get competitive bids for the service you want performed, or else you'll have to suffer the consequences of your impatience. The same holds true when you sell your labor to an Employer. Competitive bids indicate what your market value is and allow you to make better career decisions.

    The first offer you get is rarely the best offer, whether you are negotiating with one firm or evaluating several offers from different companies.

    -Mark Poppen

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