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Questions You Must Ask Yourself When You Get an Offer

The kind of questions that you ask yourself, and others, like a spouse or maybe a mentor, when you get an offer are more important than they have ever been. This is especially true given today's erratic and unpredictable business environment.

Fifteen years ago, maybe even ten years ago, the idea of lifetime employment and career with one firm was still, at least in theory, a business concept. But now, and for the foreseeable future, this idea is a small consideration. You have to interview as though you were going to work for a company for the rest of your natural business life, but, as we've noted, you need to assess an offer with realization that the probability is very high that you will only be there for two to three years.

With that in mind, you need to evaluate an offer based on the short term with the hope of the job lasting for the long term. If and when a company talks to you about the long-term possibilities of promotion opportunities, don't buy into it. If that happens, that is fine. However, you have to judge a job offer based on what it can do for you and your career now and over the next two or three years.

Emotions rule most decisions, especially the ones that have to do with one's job and career. No matter how objective you might be, no matter what kind of formula you come up with, the primary difference between your taking a job and not taking a job comes down to how you feel about it. However, there still has to be some logic, common sense, and reason to the decision. I've developed a ten-question formula to help people decide if an opportunity is good for them. These are simple questions with simple yes or no answers:

1.

Do I like the nature of the work that I will have to perform?

Yes

No

2.

Can I do the job? Is there a good balance of risks/ challenges to the job?

Yes

No

3.

Am I aware of the company's stability or position's stability?

Yes

No

4.

Is the chemistry of the people appropriate?

Yes

No

5.

Is the compensation program fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the job?

Yes

No

6.

Is the opportunity for growth in keeping with my personal goals?

Yes

No

7.

Is the location or territory appropriate?

Yes

No

8.

Is the philosophy of doing business compatible with my personal philosophy?

Yes

No

9.

Does this opportunity build on my previous experience?

Yes

No

10.

Is it likely that this experience would have carryover for my future goals?

Yes

No

My basic guideline is this: If you can answer "yes" to all ten of the questions, that's about as good as you're going to get. If you can answer "yes" to five to seven of the questions, the opportunity may very well be reasonable one, but you need to think about what kind of compromises you may have to make. If you answered, "yes" to less than five of the questions, the opportunity is probably a questionable one.

Now this is about as simple and logical as you can get. The purpose of this approach is to make you think. It is mostly a quantitative exercise and does not take into account the qualitative aspects of how you feel about the entire situation. There is no way to speculate about that for anyone. However, I will tell you that if you only have, say, six yes answers to this exercise and you do not feel emotionally attracted and strong about the opportunity, then you should not take the job because you probably won't be very successful or happy. If you have a total of five yes answers to the survey and feel tremendously passionate, enthusiastic, with a "failure is not an option" attitude toward the opportunity, you may well be able to make it a good one.

These questions do not take into account things such as how long you've been out of work and how many other opportunities you may have available to you. If you have been out of work for six months, and this is the only offer that you ever received, the number of yes answers may not even matter.

Another way to evaluate an offer is the Ben Franklin approach, which means to simply write down the pros and cons, and analyze them. If you have twelve or more reasons as to why you ought to accept the job and only two or three reasons as to why you should not, the decision is obvious. The idea is to make you think about all aspects of the position. The format for this Ben Franklin approach simply looks like this:

Cons

Pros

Forcing yourself to write out the pros and cons and see all the issues can be cathartic. Having your coach helping you out with this exercise is certainly of value. Talking it out with your coach is also of value. Hearing yourself talk about an opportunity and discovering what you think and feel about it will give you a great perspective.

After you consider the two exercises above, you need to address the distinct probability of considering an offer and a job that may only last two and a half to three years. Everyone's hope is that any job will last longer than that, but the reality is that two and a half to three years is going to be more of the average.

So, here are some questions you also should answer.

 
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