How do you know when a job offer is a good one?

Tracy Luo February 20, 2018 5 mins read

Even before you're offered a new role, have you thought about what a good job offer is? This practical advice will help navigate what you really want in a new role, and if the offer is the best one for you.

Every day a recruiter will send out offers which may or may not get accepted. Often an interviewee will receive several offers and struggle to work out which offer he or she should take. And unfortunately, there are many people who regret that they did not wait and take the other offer available.

So here comes the question:

What’s the best offer a person can achieve?

There are generic criteria that we can benchmark against regardless of the job type. I met a professional from a top-tier FMCG company who claimed to be looking for a new opportunity. During an interview with her, I found out that she was a management trainee graduate who had became an assistant manager. She was also a top-tier student at school and amongst her peers, however was keen to leave because her current role was not “challenging or commercial enough.”

I told her that she faced two choices:

  • a decent title and salary at a comfortable place
  • a position where she can challenge herself

She strongly went for the second option and I introduced her to another top-tier company recruiting a commercial role that didn't require much industry background. She received the offer straight away and I was convinced that this is exactly what she wanted - it even gave her a good salary increase instead of a flat move.

Surprisingly, she asked me for a larger increase, claiming her HR friends recommended her to negotiate her salary. I asked if she was sure she would take the offer if it helped her hit her target number?

After several hours, she got in touch asking for another increase.

Me: “Are you sure you will take the offer if I help you hit your target number?”

Her: “I would like a work-life balance.”

Me: “But you wanted challenge and growth.”

Her: “Yes, that as well.”

She sounded uncertain on the phone.

Me: “With your feedback, I have to pull you out of the pipeline immediately.”

Her: “But I am not saying I want to reject the offer, I am negotiating the best offer.”

Me: “Sorry.”

Her: “So, can you recommend me for other opportunities if this one doesn’t work out?”

Me: “I am afraid there is nothing for you at this stage.”

This situation is not rare for recruiters and professionals may argue that they are entitled to bargain for the best offer themselves.

So, technically, what is the best offer?

Money

Believe it or not, in everyone’s career, salary is the least important factor to consider. If you are a junior earning RMB10,000 per month, the difference between a 20% increment and 40% increment is RMB2,000 and would mean further taxes, making the difference of no more than a discounted handbag.

If you are a senior candidate earning RMB100,000 per month, you need to choose a job that allows you to work without constantly worrying if your headcount will be cut due to global redundancy or the business being merged. Only when companies cannot attract quality candidates, will they be cornered to increase the hiring budget; how likely you will survive is the question to ask before you take the larger offer.

Life is always fair, people earn the money that they deserve in line with their skills and capability.

Job responsibilities

This is the main factor to consider as it’s probably the main reason why you want to leave your current position. You need to consolidate your own rationale: why do you want to leave and what you want to do and unclick the items one by one.

The common situations are:

  • Professionals looking to expand their responsibilities by covering a bigger scope:
  • leading more people
  • participating in more decision-making processes
  • working with more senior internal and external stakeholders

 

  • Professionals looking to reduce the responsibilities for work-life balance, family or health reasons
  • Professionals looking to switch responsibilities

For example: a commercial finance business partner wanting to have plant exposure to consolidate his/her bottom line skills, or an HR Shared Services Center candidate wants to become HR Business Partner to horn his/her business acumen.

There is absolutely no best option, professionals need to link their demand with what they actually lack or intend to gain more of. For example, most accounting candidates firmly believe financial planning and analysis is a more stylish option, but not everyone has strong business analytic skills and can manage a complex business situation. When accounting candidates forcefully change to financial planning and analysis function - some of them struggle to provide sharp business insight or have strong control of the commercial stakeholders who bring up challenges and tough requests.

In addition, changing responsibilities might lead to the reasons that you gave up your previous career accumulation and become the most “junior” person in the new team, which might further affect you in terms of peer competition, promotion, salary and even daily performance.

The happy ending is that you will become a better-rounded professional with more exposure and new learnings and the sad ending is that you might suffer at the new position and eventually decide to quit.

Big name companies

Big name changes can be tricky: will it be necessarily better to work in a big company?

Large companies mean more competitors and less chance to stand out, but also mean more opportunities to learn in a highly mature and systematic environment making your CV look more upscaled. Do you prefer to be a leader in a small platform and have diverse exposure in all aspects? Or do you prefer to play safe at a narrow but deeper platform?

Other factors

There are definitely other factors that also determine if it’s a good offer, such as team and company location. However, it’s a lot easier for people to align that we all want a team with a supportive boss, friendly colleagues and collaborative culture in a convenient location.

Overall, despite the fancy names and big money, we want someone who can recognize what we have done by the end of the day and we don’t want to spend three hours a day to pursue a career.

Tracy Luo's picture
Associate Director | Finance & Strategy Recruitment
tluo@morganmckinley.com