Don't Accept That Tech Job Until You Read This

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Your stellar resume got you that all-important phone call. And you hit a home run during the interview with the recruiter. Now it’s crunch time—negotiations for salary and working conditions. Here are some things you should consider before accepting that tech job.


Beware the Recruiter’s Hard Sell

Recruiters are salespeople. Driven by tight deadlines, they’ll often “square peg” you in the wrong post to make their commission. They’ll dance around the job description and promise you’ll get a raise or bonus down the line if you just accept the employer’s lowball offer. The “sell” is to convince you it’s the best you can get right now—since you’re a college grad with little experience. Software engineer Lukasz Kujawa says the real intention is to make you invest time and emotion into the role to increase your chances of accepting the offer. Using the right language can make or break an opportunity, notes Cynthia Shapiro, career strategist and author of What Does Somebody Have To Do To Get A Job Around Here? “If they say, ‘what are you looking to make’ you would say, ‘I would be willing to consider whatever your range is’ or if they throw out a range, you could say ‘for this job that I’m really excited about, that is something I would be willing to consider,” says Shapiro.  


The Options Overture

To make up for a lowball salary, some companies will offer stock options. This is a tactic often used by small startups. It’s a promise to let you profit from the value that you’ll help create in working for them. To fully enjoy this benefit, you’ll need to be "vested" in the company, which means you need to stay with them for several years before you can exercise your options and buy stock. What options are they offering? What’s the vesting period? What happens when you leave the company? These details need to be spelled out in writing.


The “Conditional Salary” Sidestep

If the employer offers you a conditional salary, consider it a red flag rather than long green. Conditional means the company expects you, your group or the entire organization to reach certain goals—before you get that bigger paycheck. If you take such an offer, says Kujawa, be prepared to never receive the money. Goals might change, investments might never come, and you have no control over that.


Check Out Your Workplace

Too few IT job seekers ask to see their workplace. Check it out. You’re going to be spending the better part of your waking hours in that cubicle, so consider your desk, meeting areas, kitchen, and potentially annoying co-workers. Does daylight enter anywhere? Are you right next to the bathroom? Or beside a noisy printer or water cooler where employees come to gab? While you’re at it, check out your computer. If it’s ancient, Kujawa suggests you ask for a new one as a condition of employment. Once you sign the employment contract, it might be too late.


There are many landmines young IT job seekers need to be aware of and prepare for. Some can be deal breakers, others can be negotiated to improve the job.


Image courtesy of stockimages/


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  • Janet S
    Janet S
    Good info, thank you!
  • Harleen N
    Harleen N
    Good article, Good advice.
  • Michael O
    Michael O
    Good points to consider.  It doesn't matter if you are looking for your first job or your 10th job.  Most of us don't job search often enough to remember these tips.
  • Alex A. Kecskes
    Alex A. Kecskes
    Thanks for all your kind comments. Theresa: Try to negotiate for more pay or a shorter commitment.  
  • MarkL
    excellent job.  thanks for the info.
  • Kirit K
    Kirit K
    This article really helps everyone at whatever level they are seeking jobs.
  • shane k
    shane k
    Very good article also if an employer say's we can only give you 14.00 hr now and When you do this or that we will up it to18.00 hr. Get it in writing even if big man comes in and say's you got my word. I got burned this way but caught up a 2year backlog of testing and trouble shooting 10,000 circuit board's in 60 days asked big man for $$ he said no.. I walked out right then.
  • Manny R
    Manny R
    I like the suggestion about checking out your work place.
  • Bartolome L
    Bartolome L
    this article was very informative
  • Mary O
    Mary O
    really good information, thanks
  • Phyllis H
    Phyllis H
    Right on all accounts...sometimes we are so desperate to land a job we don't think about what we are really getting or how the decision will affect us down the road.   
  • Gary M
    Gary M
    As Deric notes, the article is informative, and is probably useful for a young person on their first job. But when you're old and have been out of work for over a year, all this stuff goes out the window. You're going to take what is offered and be thankful that it has been offered.
  • Greg D
    Greg D
    I think it's more crucial to keep in mind what's important to you as a new employee. Sometimes you have to put up with some pitfalls such as noisy coworkers or equipment in order to gain valuable job experience. Requiring lots of changes to workplace conditions during negotiations can come off as demanding and not so much a "team player" so pick your battles. Chances are there is another candidate who is just as eager and less picky right behind you. Good advice on the salary and options tho.
  • Theresa W
    Theresa W
    What if the job is temporary but they want you to commit to say 2 years as a temp with no intention on hiring you; also low paying.  What to do.
  • Keisha F
    Keisha F
    This is very insightful & informative information
  • Marilyn D
    Marilyn D
    Great article.  A close friend of mine took a job and later it came to attention that her office co-worker chewed gum in a very loud, smacking and annoying way.  When she asked the coworker to view the annoyance, the coworker enhanced the noise level of chewing gum.  The supervisor was informed and did nothing about it.  These types of incidences are hard to predict when gaining new employment and no supervisor with an ethics  backbone to ensure a non threatening or respectful work environment.
    This appears to be some good information t know. I thank you for this and will consider it when applying for my next position.  
  • Deric H
    Deric H

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