Offer, Negotiation and Acceptance  

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What are the most important things for you to consider?

Is it salary, health benefits, or vacation time? Or could it be the corporate culture or the length or your commute? What about your boss and co-workers -- will working with them be pleasant? How about your family? Will you find housing, schools, spouse employment, sports and other "creature comforts"? As you can see there are a number of factors to take into consideration and only some are negotiable. You can try to get a higher salary or more vacation time. However, health benefits are often standard packages. The corporate culture isn't going to change for you, and your boss and co-workers aren't going anywhere. And, most important, will your family support the move?

Each of us, of course, is different. According to a recent survey the following questions were asked and these are the results.

"What gives you the most job satisfaction?" Given three answers to choose from, here is what people said:

  • 20% chose "Respect from my boss,"
  • 17% said "The amount of money I make," and
  • 62% said "I love what I do."

As you can see, while the majority responding to the survey felt that loving what they do is the most important thing, there are those whose opinions differed.

Evaluating the Offer


Even if money isn't what gives you the most job satisfaction, no one can argue its importance. You need a certain amount of money to pay the bills, for example. Most of us also want to make sure we are being paid what we're worth and what is the going rate for jobs similar to ours. It's important to find out what others are making for related work in the same industry, and in the same geographic region.

Office Environment

Every office has a different feel to it. Some feel kind of "dark pin-striped suitish" while others feel more “dockers and a golf shirtish”. And most are somewhere in between. Some are highly professional and others more casual. Some encourage healthy relationships while others do not. Some are friendly and some are not. Some need high stress environments and some do not. Some like the challenge of "building" and moving forward, others prefer to excel on the improvements of a solid foundation and some just "punch a clock".

Corporate Culture

Defined as "the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a company or corporation," corporate culture should be an important factor in your decision making process. Working in Native American environments can be extremely different than a corporate environment. We have found Native American business environments are a blend of the Traditional culture, at times EXTREME politics, the desire to be financially successful, self-sufficient and provide an opportunity for employment and career development for Tribal members.

For most of us working in Indian Country... it is our duty and responsibility to train and develop other people.

Relocation / Commute Time

When you're considering a job offer, take into account the length of your commute. What may have seemed like an okay distance to travel for a job interview may begin to wear thin when you have to make that trip twice a day, five days a week, in rush hour traffic or very long rural roads.

For those of you that are considering a relocation, consider the housing and living conditions in the area.

And for many of us in this industry, if you are not able to make a move and feel you and your family are able to live apart, discuss this with your family and consider it carefully as it will create challenges and demands that you may not already be aware of.

Your Boss / Co-Workers

What seems to be their respect for each other? What are their communication styles like? 

Do co-workers seem to get along with each other.? They may not influence your job, but they will influence the quality of the time you spend at work. Generally an interview will involve a tour of the office. Try to notice if people seem friendly and happy. This may be difficult to ascertain, but it's worth a shot. This is where networking comes in handy. Start calling people on your list of contacts to see if anyone knows something about the company.

Each of these factors taken alone may not make or break your decision to accept or decline a job offer. When you put them all together, though, you will have the information you need to make an educated choice. And then it will be time to let the potential employer in on your decision. 

Accepting or Declining the Offer?

Whether you choose to accept or reject a job offer, please inform your recruiter, or the employer who made that offer, in a timely manner. If you are using a recruiter, please call them immediately upon making your decision. If you are not using a recruiter, this should be done formally, in writing, and if you wish by telephone, as well.

We encourage you to do the "T" chart of the three most important aspects of life. How does this fit in with your career progression, quality of life and family? What are the pros and cons in each of these areas?

If your answer is "yes" it's obvious why you'll want to make a good impression with your future employer. But, why is it important to be polite to someone you don't plan to work for? Well, you don't know where your future will take you. You may, at some point, wind up with that employer as a superior, a colleague, a client, or even your next door neighbor. You certainly don't want to leave a bad impression.

If your answer is "no", please remember our industry is small and you want to leave a good and professional opinion with the people you meet and the people you work with.

Most people wouldn't put salary negotiation high on their lists of desirable activities. Even though you may prefer getting a "root canal" to "negotiating your salary", if you want to get paid what you're worth, you might want to learn how to do it right.

Salary negotiations can help get you a salary that is fair for you and the employer.

"Do" Research Salaries in Your Field: Look at recent salary surveys and area cost of living reports. Find out the tax structure for the state and region. Talk to others working in your field to find out what other people are paid for doing the same work. Remember that salaries differ by geographic region. Salaries also differ by size and scope of responsibility.  Salaries also differ by what experience you, as the candidate, bring to the new employer.

"Do" Consider How Much Experience You Have: Those with more experience can hope to earn more money. Remember to talk about the amount of experience you have, your education, your training and your certifications. if it will help you negotiate a higher salary. If you don't have a lot of experience, be realistic about the salary for which you can ask.

"Do" Talk About The Salary You Feel You Should Be Earning - Based on Statistics: When presenting your case during a salary negotiation, talk about how you will earn the salary you are requesting. Highlight what you have done, or will do, for the company. In speaking with a future employer, please be specific with them about your measured accomplishments.  Also discuss the salaries in your field and their region, based on your research.

"Do" Be Flexible: When going through a salary negotiation, you may not to get the exact amount of money you want. You will probably have to compromise. Logically figure out how much you are willing to compromise and what you will do if your employer doesn't offer you a salary you find acceptable.

"Don't" Talk About How Much Money You Need: When you are going through salary negotiations, don't tell your employer (or future boss) that you need to make more money because your bills are high, your house was expensive, or your child is starting college. 

"Don't" Look at How Much Money Your Friends in Other Fields Are Making: If they aren't working in the same field, have the same qualifications, or similar size of shouldn't make those comparisons.

"Do" Consider the Entire Package:  This might include... beyond salary.... bonus, insurance benefits, premium costs, 401K (contribution & match), cost-of-living increase, relocation assistance, temporary housing, vacation, contract, severance... and any other benefits offered by the employer.