When a Job Offer’s on the Table

When you’re applying for jobs, the first thing you’re waiting for is a phone call with an offer. It’s a very exciting moment when that call finally comes, and there are often many questions that arise when an offer is truly on the table.

Questions to Ask

When you have a new job in the offing, some of the first questions to ask include but are not limited to:

  1. What salary is being offered?
  2. What benefits are included in the compensation package?
  3. Are family members all covered in the company’s healthcare insurance policy?
  4. What is the deadline for accepting the offer?
  5. What would be your official start date?
  6. What will the orientation entail and how long will it last?


Always be sure to have your potential new employer quote a number first in terms of monetary compensation. If they ask for your preferred salary range, respond by asking them to share the budget for the position. Try your best to force them to quote a number first since the first party to name a number is at a permanent disadvantage in the negotiation process.

Be sure to do your research and find out what comparable positions are paying in your geographic region. Understand what the average wages are, and then use that information to embolden your efforts.

If you feel that the salary being offered is lower than you would like it to be, you can say something like, “I appreciate your offer, but I was expecting something closer to $_____. Is that amenable?” (Always ask for more than you really want so that you can be seen as making a compromise. If the original offer is $80,000 but you really want $84,000, ask for $88,000 and then allow them to negotiate you down. You’ll be perceived as reasonable.)

If salary is non-negotiable, you can also ask for lower health insurance premiums, more vacation time, or other improvements to the benefits package.

Other Considerations

Beyond salary and benefits, there are plenty of other factors that can make a potential job more attractive than your current one.

If you’ve been working nights and have been wanting a change, a new position on days might even be worth a cut in pay. If you currently commute 90 minutes a day and your new job is a 10-minute drive, consider the savings on gas, time, and wear and tear on your car. That’s worth a lot!

Additionally, a position with more opportunities for career advancement has great value, even if the pay is slightly lower.

When it comes to benefits, if your new employer’s health insurance plan could save you $2000 a year in copays and premiums, figure that into your calculations. You also want to measure the value of vacation time, sick days, and other benefits like 401(k) or tax shelter plans for medical expenses and day care costs.

Consider Everything

There are multiple factors to consider when a new job offer is on your desk. While salary is what most of us consider most keenly, the relative value of other aspects of the job should not be overlooked.

If you have multiple job offers to juggle, that is a blessing indeed and you can use the fact that you have another offer as a bargaining chip. If an employer really wants you and feels they may lose you to someone else, they may up the ante and proffer more money and/or benefits.

Play your cards right, negotiate wisely, and only accept offers that you feel 100% good about. After all, your happiness is essential!

About Keith

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Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist.

With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms, as well as at NurseKeith.com.