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Mondays with Rick: Weighing the pros and cons of job offers

Dr. Rick Franza, Professor of Management at the Hull College of Business, discusses a different, timely business topic each Monday in this column. This week, he gives tips on how to evaluate a job offer. The interview has been edited for clarity and impact.

ABD: We all hope to be happy at our jobs, but sometimes, we reach a point where we have to look for something else. What are some things to keep in mind when evaluating a job offer when seeking new employment?

Rick: Part of what might influence your decision is why you left or are leaving your current place. Were you let go? Were you unhappy? Was the salary not competitive? You put more emphasis on the reason you left, the “recency bias.”

If, for example, you were let go, you might look for a place that is more secure even if it pays less. If you left because the workplace culture was bad, then culture will be the most important. If you felt undervalued or underpaid, then you might put more weight on the salary.

You want to go in as clean as possible. Know what things are most important to you. Make sure the other things meet the minimum, but that the things that matter the most are there.

ABD: One thing we hear more about from the younger generations is social consciousness. How important is that?

Rick: This generation is much more socially conscience and wants to find a company that meets their values. If that’s important to you, then you should go with that.

Time flexibility is also becoming more important. They want more personal time off, remote working, and the ability to flex when they do their work.

Another thing to consider is how much the job will develop you. That can be a straight-on investment in sending you for training, but also it comes from on-the-job training. That’s why sometimes, working for a smaller company allows you to do more things.

ABD: Sometimes job offers come your way even when you’re not looking for anything, from recruiters and headhunters. How do you evaluate the offers you weren’t necessarily seeking?

Rick: I can speak of this one from personal experience because it’s happened to me.

The first thing is to take stock of your current position. Why do you like it? What does the new offer provide that the current job doesn’t? What is my long-term career goal and how does that fit in?

It’s very important that you explore as much as you can about the job, especially those things that aren’t quantitative. If you know anybody at that company, it’s well worth talking to them.

The first time I got called for a dean’s job when I was an assistant dean, it was too soon and too big of a school. It was too big of a job for my experience. You have to remember that if you fail at this new thing, you could be viewed as damaged goods.

ABD: If you’re considering a job offer, at what point do you let your current employer know?

Rick: At the point that you’re willing to leave. It all depends on how you frame it when you talk to them about it. You can’t just assume your company doesn’t value you. You could say that you’d be willing to stay if they can counteroffer. It may not even be about money. It could be about more flexibility. Getting that offer may lead to other discussions about your path for advancement with the company or getting more training.

Open lines of communication are important.

Discussing your next steps with your current employer could open the door to available possibilities.
ABD: I’ve talked to a few business owners who saw an employee leave, only to come back six months or a year later because they realized the new job wasn’t as good as the one they left. Is that something to consider?

Rick: That’s why it’s always important that when you leave, you leave on good terms. If you do go back, you could say, I realized money is not as important as the quality of life. I think if you were a good employee, they’d listen. But you have to realize that they may not have any open positions.

ABD: Usually, when we think of new jobs and job offers, we think about the salary. But you’ve mentioned very little about money as a decision-making factor. Why?

Rick: I’ve found that chasing the money is not a good idea. Culture is the most important. Don’t give up salary for it, but money isn’t everything. I’ve always been of the belief that you can’t pay me enough to be miserable.

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