Zookel Blog: News & Views

Why is it that candidates always leave it too late to evaluate a job offer?

Job offers rarely come as a complete surprise. Even if you’re headhunted the process is likely to take more than a month to complete. So my question is – Why do candidates almost always wait until the offer is in hand to start evaluating it?

The answer – most candidates consider the offer to be primarily about the salary. Whilst it’s true salary is critical, people working solely for money will eventually feel unfulfilled.

So if salary’s not the only factor – What should candidates be considering before the offer is made?

The four most important – pre offer considerations.

1. The job. You’re likely to have applied for it, but that doesn’t mean you actually want it. From the initial application through to offer you will generally go through a number of interviews, during which time you’ll learn more about the true nature of the job and the day-to-day responsibilities. The more you can find out about the job before receiving the offer, the more likely you are to make the right choice. Asking yourself the following questions will help:

  • Does the job match your interests and make good use of your skills?
  • How important is the job to the company or organisation?
  • How long do most people who enter this job stay with the company?
  • Is the job a lateral move or promotion?
  • Does the job title adequately describe what the job is?
  • How will accepting the role alter my lifestyle?
  • Are there clear opportunities for growth and advancement?

2. The organisation. During the interview process you’re likely to gain a greater insight into the organisation, its culture and whether it is a good place for you to work. It’s also likely you’ll have the opportunity to review any press articles, track the share price (if it’s a public company), and ask peers within the industry for their opinion on the company. Factors to consider include:

  • Does the organisation’s business or activity match your own interests and beliefs?
  • Is the organisation financially sound and what are the growth prospects?
  • Should you work for a relatively new organisation or one that is well established?
  • What is the reputation and image of employer?
  • Who are the organisation’s key competitors and how are they viewed in comparison?
  • Is the organisation rigid or flexible? Does it work strictly by the book?
  • Does the organisation have a record of layoffs or downsizing?

3. The Industry. The industry the company works within or earns the majority of its revenue from (for multi industry companies) has a large influence on the company culture, will impact on how success is measured, and will to some extent shape the boundaries of its future growth prospects (assuming it remains within that industry), Some questions to think about:

  • Is the industry high growth, commoditised, or at risk from technical innovation?
  • How does the macro environment or business cycle effect the industry?
  • Is there any industry dependence on government policies and programs?
  • Is the general publics’ view of the industry positive or negative?
  • Would working in the industry help your long term career prospects regardless of the organisation?

4. Your Manager & the team. The impact of your direct manager and the team you work within is often underestimated when taking a new role. And yet when you talk to people who are happy within their role they will consistently refer in part or whole to their boss and workmates. Without a boss who is committed to helping you learn and succeed, and a team that works towards common goals you may quickly find the other benefits of a role simply aren’t worth that much. It’s therefore worth trying to:

  • Assess how the boss will serve as a mentor, and what you will learn from him/her.
  • Ask questions around his/her interpersonal and management style.
  • Talk to your potential boss about the team before you accept the position.
  • Understand (as much as possible) the team structure, chemistry & dynamics.

Should I do this for every role I apply for?

Definitely not – that would be a waste of time and energy.

You do however want to consider them before any final interview. Not only will they make you better prepared for any offer when it comes, but they should also help you to ask sensible, clear, concise questions in the interview itself. And as an employer I can assure you that seeing a prepared candidate with considered questions is always positive!

As always good luck with the job hunt, and please feel free to drop us a note if we can help.

Paul & Team Zookel

1 Comment so far

  1. JaneRadriges @ June 13th, 2009

    The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

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