Q. After months of job searching following graduation, I finally landed a job. I am supposed to discuss details of the offer with my new boss and HR manager later this week and start to work on September 15. For a while I was willing to work for next to nothing, but I now need to get my head straight about what to expect. Any advice? -NL
A. Congratulations on the new job. It’s not unusual these days for entry-level offers to be extended before specific details are worked out, but you are wise to consider questions that allow you to assess the total compensation package–both salary and benefits.
For entry-level positions, there is little or no room for negotiation, but it is essential to be clear about the essentials: title, reporting relationships, base pay, overtime policy, career path, tuition reimbursement, vacation policy, 401K, and medical/dental care and effective date for coverage. Most will be spelled out in the job offer discussion with the HR manager, but come prepared with your own list of questions. Be careful not to appear too “greedy” by asking about things that aren’t likely to be in an entry-level compensation package, such as a bonus or free parking.
For anyone actively in the job search mode, be sure to spend a few minutes thinking about questions that should be on your checklist. You need to have these questions in mind since job offers sometimes come at unusual times and employers today increasingly expect immediate responses.