Have you ever gone into a process thinking "I'll go through with it and see what happens" not really understanding whether it is the right job for you or not? You wouldn't be the only one. So many interview processes might feel quite one sided and therefore you don't get the opportunity to quiz the employer to find out if it is the right job for you.

Then you get offered the job. 

How do you know if it's the right role for you? How do you evaluate the job offer. Did you know that NOW is probably the best time to negotiate the offer and terms - before you start the role?

This great article by Harvard Business Review gives you some tips to be able to make the right decision for you; when you could feel under a lot of pressure to commit. Now isn't the time to back off by the way - keep moving it forward. 

Still, evaluating a job offer is not always straightforward — especially since you may not have the luxury of comparing it to others. “Step back and think expansively about your objectives,” advises Jeff Weiss, president of Lesley University and author of the HBR Guide to Negotiating. “Think about the offer in terms of your development, your quality of life, and the variety of the work you want to do.” No job offer will be perfect, so a big part of the evaluation requires you to “think about the trade-offs you are willing to make.” Here are some ideas to help you figure out if the job is right for you.

Shift your mindset - realising this is just the next phase of evaluating the role - be enthusiastic, and mindful of how you question - confirm that you are pleased/delighted but wanted to clarify a few points - be cautious about looking uncertain yourself as this may raise concerns about the offer

Be methodical (salary, job content, cultural fit, flexibility, holiday, perks, willingness to walk away) - money is one part of a new role, but money won't be what keeps you happy. Don't hinge everything on the money - if there is no wiggle room what else can you negotiate with to keep you happy? Try not to go into any recruitment process thinking "yes the salary isn't enough, but I'll negotiate at the end" - there is never an open cheque book. Find out the range before you go into any process and be prepared to work with it - think "where can I add value" and show that in your negotiations

Devise your plan - Once you have clarified in your own mind what you are happy to negotiate, you need to “decide which cards you are going to play and the sequence of how you will play them,” says Lees. Come at it from the “perspective of joint problem-solving.” He suggests saying something like, “The salary you’re offering is great, but I want to keep developing in this role. I can imagine some possibilities that might make the job more palatable such as having access to a mentoring program, a rotation program, or an educational allowance. Which of these might be possible?’”

Be tough but cheerful - Adds Weiss: “It’s not what you ask for; it’s how you ask for it. Be well-prepared, respectful, and constructive. You want to be seen as someone they want to work with.”

Say no (politely) if it’s not right - there is no shame in turning down a job offer if it’s not the right fit. “As long as you turn it down politely with one or two good reasons — it will not stretch you enough or you want to work in a different sector — you shouldn’t feel bad about it,” - better be truthful than let them down a week before the start date. 

Use your recruiter relationship to help you negotiate the deal if possible. 

This is a time to show the new employer how you communicate and how much of an influencer you can be. All "negotiation" is influencing each other to meet in the middle, and so you must think win/win too. 

Too much win/lose you could create unrealistic expectations of yourself, and too much lose/win you're going to feel resentful and potentially turn down an interesting career development. 

Most of my successes have come from taking a salary drop in the first instance - to move forward!! I've looked at the overall gain to me in the longer term, but more importantly how the offer adds value to both parties. It has worked for me.