Over the decades I’ve been involved in reviewing, making, approving, and coaching job offers, I can count on one hand the number of times when the person receiving the offer wasn’t glad to have received it. They may not have liked the terms of the offer, but most people experience a huge relief in finally having received one!
At this point in the job search process, most people default, to “Whew! The hard part is over! I just need a few adjustments, or I can just accept the offer.” But wait! Not so fast! Particularly when contemplating an offer for remote work!
Two scriptures come to mind as I think about how to position our thinking around receiving an offer for remote work. The first is Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,” and also Matthew 10:16 where Jesus says, “…so be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” I encourage you to read the passages for full context of these verses, but what I pull out of them for our application today is encouragement, patience, wisdom, and being helpful (in addition to being harmless).
Receiving an offer
Now that you have received an offer, you should feel GREAT and totally encouraged that all the hard work and perseverance you displayed has been rewarded with an offer! But, the race isn’t over yet, and there’s a need for wise counsel and diplomatic tact as you patiently press forward.
As with all offers received, I’d advise never to accept the offer on the spot. Rarely have all possible questions been asked and further opportunity to market yourself been accomplished. Additionally, there’s a significant opportunity to lay the groundwork for future compensation and benefits. When considering a remote work offer, here are some fundamental filters I’d encourage you to pass the offer through, in addition to the usual process I’d suggest with all offers.
Fundamentals to think about
First, I would get clarity on whether the offer to work remotely is a long-term or temporary offer to work remotely. Has the organization truly landed on this role being classified a remote position, or are they still working through the ups and downs of people returning to work. Of course, an organization can change their mind, but to get clarity on how they are classifying this role in their system is important.
Second, I would ensure you have a clear understanding of what office and technology support you will be receiving. You may have discussed a variety of scenarios while going through the interview process, so to revisit and confirm what your understanding is will be worth it, both mentally and potentially, financially.
Third, revisit with your hiring manager what this position’s success looks like. Again, much may have already been discussed, but I’ve found ‘out of sight is out of mind’ can come back to cause harm without nailing this down before an offer is accepted. Most supervisor / employee conflicts originate from a simple lack of expectations alignment. The boss expects one thing, and the employee expects another. Rarely is conflict intentional, but just as rarely is clarity achieved. Do your best to achieve it.
Fourth, get a good feel for how your onboarding and assimilation process should work. Since you won’t be wandering around a physical office space with other employees with whom you can ask questions, it is important to know who to direct your questions toward. And if the hiring manager keeps referring to him/herself as the answer for all your questions, I’d put a caution flag on the field. What’s the age-old ‘back up’ plan for you to get oriented and be productive if your direct supervisor is not available?
Last, and probably most important, get all of this in writing. Most offer letters will not spell out everything I’ve outlined above. But that doesn’t lessen the importance of getting it all in black and white. One very well-received approach I’ve experienced is for you, as the future employee, to document your understanding back to the hiring manager. For example, after you talk through the answers to what’s outlined above and other questions you’ve worked through, simply send an email to the hiring manager playing back to him / her what you believe you’ve heard. Ask for them to edit or confirm what you send them. By making it easy for them to agree, it can provide you clarity and alignment and prevent many headaches in the future.
So…congrats on receiving the offer! With some encouragement, patience and wisdom, bring it across the finish line!
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.