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Career Counselor
Factors to Consider in Evaluating a Job Offer

May 2007 You've just received the exciting news of your first accounting job offer. How do you decide whether it's the right fit for you? In a Robert Half survey of chief financial officers, salary was noted as job candidates' leading consideration when evaluating an offer. Stability of the company ranked nearly as important, followed by the work environment. The following suggestions can help you assess these factors in evaluating the desirability of offers you receive.

Salary. Thanks in part to the Internet, it's relatively easy to determine whether an offered salary is competitive. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics contains helpful information, and there are a number of other tools available. Also consider offline resources, such as the annual salary guide from Robert Half.

In evaluating the compensation offered, ask the hiring manager about company stock-option and profit-sharing programs, as well as whether and what the company will contribute to employee retirement plans. Also consider benefits such as vacation days, training programs and tuition reimbursement.

Company stability. If job security is your top concern, you might choose an established corporation with strong profitability and leadership over one that offers a higher salary but is struggling financially. To learn more about a company, visit its Web site and read its annual report. Also research investor and analyst opinions to determine future financial confidence, and, where appropriate, ask people you know who have dealt with the organization for their impressions.

Work environment. When interviewing with an organization, observe the way its employees interact with you and with each other. Reserve time in each interview to ask questions about the group's dynamics, preferences and work styles. Do you sense that your prospective manager shares the same values and ethics you do? Is the work environment formal or casual? Did you establish rapport with the employees you met? In short, how did the environment "feel"?

Job offers can be exciting but should not be accepted hastily. In evaluating an opportunity against the factors you find most important, you'll be better equipped to determine whether it's the right career choice for you.

ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2007 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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