What To Do When You Get An Offer:  10 Questions!

As we’ve outlined in this blog series so far, we are exploring the Offer Receipt Due Process.  At this point, you have: 

  • Received the offer you have worked so hard to get!   
  • Graciously and enthusiastically thanked the recruiter / hiring manager for the offer, but you haven’t said yes yet. 
  • Started to ask yourself some questions, along with getting some wise counsel from others. 
  • Set up a meeting with the hiring manager for some additional questions you’ve developed to be answered. 

SO! What are those questions?!?!?  The quick answer is “it depends.” 🙂 However, I will outline 10 questions you should get answers for, along with some guidelines to customize additional questions for your discussion. 

What We Know So Far

As a backdrop for these questions, let’s quickly assess what we know, or are assuming, at this point: 

  1. We know the hiring manager wants you to work for him / her.  After all, you have an offer. 
  1. We don’t necessarily know how badly he / she wants you.  Is there a close second choice? Has he / she really seen the “best” of you? 
  1. You know quite a few things about the organization / role / hiring manager / team through your networking and interview process.    
  1. Odds are quite high, however, there’s a LOT more that could be helpful to know. 
  1. You probably haven’t had much discussion about money yet other than giving the recruiter a range of your expectations or your past annual earnings. 
  1. You also probably haven’t had much discussion about the wide range of benefits available to the organization’s employees, or “how things really work around there” (culture). 

Additionally, since we like to go to our official source of truth, the Bible, for topics we tackle, what does the Bible say about asking questions? While I didn’t find a passage directly affirming asking questions, if we look to Jesus as our example, one count I found had Jesus asking over 300 questions, while directly answering only three of the over 180 He was asked.  A pretty good example to follow! 

Proverbs 2:2-4 states, “Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  Cry out for insight and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.”  While this Scripture is specifically pointing toward spiritual questions and answers, the general principle applies for us. 

10 Questions You Need Answered Before Saying Yes

Back to the topic at hand.  Let’s ask some questions! 

The bottom line of the Offer Receipt Due Process is for you to avoid surprises when starting with a new organization and to lay the groundwork for your expectations of the organization in a polite and direct way. 

To that end, with what you know and / or don’t know, here are 10 questions you should know answers to before you say “yes” to an offer.   These are in no particular order of priority, and your prioritization of asking these and other questions will depend on the give / take of the conversation and your relationship already established with the hiring manager. 

  1. Within the job description for this role, what do you think will be the most difficult task to perform? 
  1. Along those lines, what’s not showing up in the job description that you’d like me to be able to accomplish? 
  1. What is something you found out about the organization, after you had started, that you wished you had known prior to starting? 
  1. What is an attribute of an employee who has worked for you successfully over a period of time that you most admire? 
  1. For you to say I am an outstanding employee after the first 90 days of working here, what are three things I would have had to achieve? 
  1. What do you perceive I bring to the team that could help them all work more successfully together? 
  1. What cycle does your performance management and compensation process follow?  Annual?  Anniversary of hire date?  Other? 
  1. Based on my start date, will I be eligible to be considered for a compensation increase? 
  1. What have been the past two year’s of annual percentage increases to base compensation for your employees? 
  1. For you, what is the best value of the healthcare benefit you and your family receive? 
  1. What do you believe are the 2-3 best non-monetary benefits of working with this organization? 

Whoa! There is a bonus question in there for you! 🙂   Now, you may already know the answers to some of these questions, or think you know the answers, but I would encourage you to directly ask the hiring manager these, or similar, questions.  In fact, we could easily come up with another 30-40 questions for you to get the answers to – – so much depends on what you’ve already been able to ascertain through the networking and interview process. 

Why? Remember what you know as well as what you don’t know. 

What you are trying to achieve is avoiding surprises while also engaging the hiring manager to shift from liking you – to loving you – to “gotta have you!”   The more engagement you can have with him / her, the better the odds you’ll have a terrific start to your working relationship with him / her if you decide to say yes to the offer. 

Time To Reflect And Review

Back to the meeting. 

You’ve now finished the conversation with the hiring manager, and he / she asks if you can now say “yes” to the offer? 

Ideally, I would hold off.  You’ll want to gather your thoughts, reflect on new information gathered from the meeting, have another conversation or two with wise counsel, and determine if you’d like to counter the original offer. 

And that is what we will cover next week – should you accept or counter the offer you’ve received.   

In the meantime, please take advantage of a free, confidential conversation with one of our experienced Crossroads Guides to assist you with this process or anything else you are looking for support on through being unemployed or unfulfilled.   

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.

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