5 Red Flags to Look for in Your Next Offer Letter

5 Red Flags to Look for in Your Next Offer Letter

So you’ve had your interview, they want to hire you, and your job hunt is coming to its conclusion. You may think it’s a done deal. However, once an offer letter is presented to you, it could become apparent that the job may not be for you. Whether it’s lackluster benefits, or grammatical errors, your offer letter is a good indicator of how much a company values you. Here we’ve identified the 5 biggest red flags we’ve seen in our experience. Below you’ll find insider advice on what to look out for when it comes to the offer letter.

Shorter than Average Paid Time Off/Vacation

On average in today’s market we generally see paid time off at 2 weeks per year. Usually this allotment increases over time. We often assist with the negotiation of additional vacation days for our candidates when we are able to. Some local companies pay less than 5 days of Paid Time Off per year. In the case that you need to use several of these days as sick days or for family emergencies, you will not be able to take a vacation your first year. Having such a low number of days off raises questions as to why a company is being so sparing with their time off. Are there not enough staff to do the work and support staff members taking vacation? Is this a 24/7 job, or are employees simply not a priority for management? These are the questions you should ask before accepting a job with so little vacation time promised to employees.

Technical Mistakes

Some of the mistakes that we often see in offer letters are misspellings of a candidate’s name, incorrect job titles, or even the name and salary of a different candidate altogether. Be sure that you accept the correct terms of the offer letter, salary, vacation, and so on. Such mistakes in an offer letter typically indicate a lack of proper HR support, or a general lack of detail from management. The offer letter is and extremely important document that serves to introduce a new candidate to the company. If this is not done properly, it should raise some questions about the organization in general. Will they also make mistakes in your benefit application process that could cause you to lose coverage? If you have an HR related issue, do they have the proper HR support available to address the problem? Understaffing is a huge problem in many companies at the moment, and an offer letter filled with mistakes could be a good indicator that a company is not properly staffed.

Long Waiting Period to Receive Health/Dental/Vision Benefits

The majority of the employers we work with have very short waiting periods for benefits. Typically, you can enter into the plan a set day of the month following your start date. This is considered a good sign. Companies that have 90 day waiting periods for the same benefits often do this to save money. This helps them conserve resources in a number of ways. First, it saves around 24% on the first-year benefit costs of all new hires because the company isn’t providing coverage for this time period. Second, for companies with higher turnover rates, they plan that a certain percentage of new employees will either quit or be fired during this 90 day period and the benefit cost will be 0 for this group of employees. Having a very long waiting period for benefits can create financial hardship, as benefits are extremely expensive if you must pay for COBRA, or pay out of pocket for a health plan on your own. In several cases, we have seen candidates turn down job offers for this reason alone.

Lower than Market Salary

Currently we are seeing candidates receive offers that are 5-8% higher than their current salary. In some cases, candidates will receive lateral offers and in certain cases that is sufficient. If you have a long gap in employment or have a higher than market salary history, it will sometimes be necessary to accept a lower offer than your most recent compensation. However, you should be aware of companies who try to low ball you during the offer process. This can indicate that the company is stretching to be able to afford you in their budget and you may have a problem receiving regular raises in the future. This could also be indicative of general poor financial conditions at the company, which could be temporary or permanent. The worst-case scenario is that they simply don’t value their employees and are trying to get the best deal possible by paying the least amount of money possible.

No Retirement Plan

Several of our current clients offer 5-8% matches on any contributions that you make to your plan. This is well above the market average and this higher matching percentage allows you to quickly build retirement savings and catch up if you are behind. With the future financial projects of US Social Security, having a matching retirement plan has never been as important. According to the experts at Fidelity it is recommended that you save between 10% and 15% of your current earnings in a retirement account. The average company, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will match 401k contributions at around 3.5%. Companies who do not offer these plans are typically start-ups with cash flow problems or established companies that are in poor financial conditions. These can all be warning signs. If a company does not offer a retirement plan and there is a legitimate reason, you can always ask for a higher offer and start your own plan with the additional money that you receive.

When it comes down to it, you want to be sure that a company is going to value you as an employee. If the offer sends up red flags, it may be best to walk away and find a better opportunity somewhere else. A good employer will make the offer attractive to you and will be open to negotiation. A sloppy offer letter with disappointing benefits should make you think twice about accepting. Ask questions, and be sure that you are making an informed decision– one that’s right for you.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike. https://bradleystaffinggroup.com/contact-us/

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