How do I evaluate a job offer?

“Ask Brianna” is a Q&A column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans – all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna?

Q: I got an offer for a full-time job. How do I decide if it’s right for me, or if the salary is fair?

A: The job hunt can feel like a decathlon: multiple contests, many competitors and one victor _ hopefully you. There are so many individual events, from the resume revamp to the post-interview thank you note, you may feel nothing but exhaustion by the time you get that congratulatory call or email.

But keep your energy up. Closely evaluating an offer can be the difference between taking a job you run to and realizing you made a huge mistake, forcing you to start the job-search process from the beginning.

Of course, you may not have the luxury of weighing multiple options. But even if you have a single offer, you can still think critically about how to make the best of the opportunity _ and whether you want to negotiate for perks you value especially highly, such as health insurance starting on day one.

After doing your happy dance, thank the hiring manager and request 24 hours to respond. Then use the following framework to assess the position from all angles.


The proposed salary will have a big effect on your day-to-day lifestyle and your future earning power, so make sure you know what you’re worth. Use resources such as PayScale or to find the average amount your role commands where you live.

Rick Sass, a career coach at Lee Hecht Harrison near Seattle, recommends having two numbers ready, ideally before the official offer comes in: the salary you want to make (say, $55,000) and a lower amount you’re willing to accept (say, $50,000, which is about the mean wage, or average salary, for 25- to 34-year-olds across all education backgrounds, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). If you haven’t already shared these salary expectations or your pay history, don’t do it just yet.

“The first person who gives a number is generally the loser,” Sass says.


Turn your attention next to employee benefits, such as health insurance and matching retirement contributions. These add up: As of September 2016, 31.4 per cent of what employers paid for the average civilian worker’s total compensation was for non-salary benefits, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

Ask the hiring manager for a summary of your total package. It should include paid time off, out- of-pocket costs for health insurance and whether your company offers a retirement plan or matching contributions. Check whether there are tenure requirements to participate in any of these programs.

Consider your non-compensation priorities, too. You might want your gig to include a strong social mission, a more reasonable commute, a boss committed to mentoring you or experience working for a big-name company.

If the offer checks most of your boxes for salary, benefits and values, it’s time to negotiate.


The employer will expect you to negotiate, so don’t let nerves or a fear of seeming overbearing get in the way. If the proposed salary is lower than what you deserve, say thank you for the offer and then counter with what you believe is appropriate for your skills and experience.

If salary negotiations stall, ask instead for a non-salary benefit you value. That could be the option to work remotely one day a week or a signing bonus, Sass says.

When Camille Galles was looking for a new sales job in the digital media industry, she had four job offers. One was a startup that didn’t offer her as much in salary as the more established companies. But when she asked for a signing bonus and an additional performance-based bonus after her first 90 days on the job, the startup went for it.

Now Galles, 31, is the CEO of her own three-person digital advertising company. Weighing different job offers based not just on salary but on how much she could learn in each role helped her get where she is, she says.

“It’s really given me the fuel to stay two steps ahead of my peers.”


New sexual assault policy at Saskatchewan university called critical for safety

Officials at the University of Saskatchewan say a new policy on sexual assault is a critical step to ensuring campus safety.

The draft of the policy defines what constitutes sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, coercion, consent and stalking _ something previously missing at the university.

Sexual assault was previously included as a prohibited behaviour in the university’s non-academic misconduct regulations.

But university officials say they realized more needed to be done.

Cheryl Carver, associate vice-president of human resources, says it was also clear that the policy needed to cover everyone on campus, including faculty, staff and students.

Public comments on the policy will be taken until Oct. 5 and the next step will be to have it approved by the board of governors in December.


CBC issues apology after scathing report on Jian Ghomeshi scandal

A scathing report detailing the failure of CBC managers to stop star radio host Jian Ghomeshi’s alleged inappropriate workplace behaviour elicited a profuse apology April 16, 2015 from its president, who admitted Canadians “have a right to expect a higher standard from their public broadcaster.”

A humbled Hubert Lacroix offered his “sincere an unqualified apology to our employees and to Canadians” as findings of a 52-page report were revealed, including allegations that the disgraced Ghomeshi belittled colleagues, played cruel pranks, and, in a “small number of cases,” sexually harassed them.

The report, which redacted portions that could identify employees, also concluded that Ghomeshi’s managers knew about inappropriate behaviour but failed to act or hold the former ‘Q’ host accountable. In effect, that “gave him licence to continue,” the report said.

“The findings of this report are troubling, they’re disappointing and they point to lapses in our system and concerns about our culture,” Lacroix told a conference call. “We remain committed to creating a workplace in which safety and respect for one another is a fundamental attribute and is non-negotiable.”

Outside investigator Janice Rubin interviewed 99 people over five months to prepare the report, which proposed nine recommendations that include a confidential hotline for employees, a “respect at work and human rights” ombudsperson and a task force with the union to support younger workers who might be vulnerable to impropriety.

The investigation was launched after CBC fired Ghomeshi in October, saying there was “graphic evidence” he had caused physical injury to a woman.

Claims eventually emerged from more than a dozen women who alleged sexual or physical assault. Ghomeshi has admitted in a Facebook posting that he engaged in “rough sex” but insisted it was always consensual.

Ghomeshi faces seven counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking, but his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty to all charges. One of the complainants is a former CBC employee.

Rubin’s report listed several alleged transgressions that initially went unpunished, most of them non-sexual in nature such as chronic lateness, being “moody and temperamental” and “critical and mean” to co-workers.

According to the report, a majority of witnesses who worked with Ghomeshi over the course of his CBC career described “a pattern of behaviour and conduct” that was “deeply disrespectful to employees,” however some witnesses reported have “no difficulty” working with him.

“Sexualized conduct” included allegations that Ghomeshi was “overly familiar” with a number of female employees and gave them “back rubs and massages,” the report said.

“Most of the witnesses did not find these massages sexual (although several did) but instead described them as creepy and disrespectful of their personal boundaries,” the report said.

One woman was allegedly subjected to unwanted physical contact “that was sexual in nature,” while Ghomeshi also asked women out on dates, flirted with colleagues and on-air guests and made colleagues uncomfortable by speaking graphically about his sex life, the report said.

Ghomeshi’s lawyers did not return a phone message seeking comment Thursday and he refused to be interviewed for the report.

The report also contained allegations that managers who worked with Ghomeshi failed to investigate his behaviour or take steps to stop it, describing any actions they did take as “ineffective, infrequent, and inconsistent.”

“The evidence shows that while Mr. Ghomeshi’s star was allowed to rise, his problematic behaviour was left unchecked,” the report said.

Rubin took particular issue with at least two unnamed managers who knew about a relationship between Ghomeshi and a junior co-worker in a non-permanent position. The report noted that even though the relationship appeared to be consensual it was problematic because Ghomeshi was in a position to influence her career.

But when it came to sexual harassment claims, the report stated: “To be clear, we did not find evidence that managers were aware of information relating to sexual harassment, or any complaints or allegations in that regard.”

In fact, the report found “no evidence of a formal complaint made against” Ghomeshi under CBC’s policies, but went on to say that’s not surprising.

“We do not wish to overstate the powerlessness of those who worked with him,” the report said.

Witnesses said they were reluctant to complain because of “a lack of trust and confidence in the complaint process … and that it was expected that they deal with their concerns regarding Mr. Ghomeshi internally.”

CBC also announced it was “severing ties” with two top executives, Chris Boyce, executive director of CBC Radio, and Todd Spencer, the head of human resources and industrial relations for English services.

Before Rubin’s report was ordered, Boyce and Spencer conducted interviews with “Q” employees as part of an internal investigation. The two were put on indefinite leave in January.

A heavily redacted portion of the report also took aim at the Canadian Media Guild, noting that although a union member alerted them to “an allegation of sexual harassment” there was no convincing evidence that anything was done to investigate.

CMG national president Carmel Smyth said she’s not privy to the information referred to and didn’t know how Rubin came to that conclusion.

“We could have done better, it’s true,” said Smyth. “We relied very heavily on a formal process of filing a formal complaint and it turns out many people don’t want to do that. I think the lesson we’ve learned from this is that in future if someone doesn’t file a formal complaint we still have to investigate and find different ways of getting the information.”

She said a joint committee is already in place to bring in the recommendations.

The CBC said it will be working with the union to review the recommendations and “implement as many of those as we can, as quickly as possible.”

Lacroix said the report needs to “be a turning point in our continuing journey.”

The report noted participation was “entirely voluntary” and investigators did not see it as their role to “aggressively cross-examine” anyone involved.

Ghomeshi is free on $100,000 bail with numerous conditions and is due to return to court on April 28.


Ten Things Great Leaders Do

This video first ran in July 2011. 

Have you ever wondered why some people stay in the same job for years? So why aren’t all employees loyal to one employer for their entire careers?

Two words explain it: Great Leadership!

Here are ten things that great leaders do to engage their employees and keep them on staff:

  • They lead with humility and selflessness, putting the needs of their employees ahead of their own.
  • They work tirelessly, setting a great example for their team.
  • They support their workers when they have problems or get into trouble.
  • They listen constantly and consistently to their workers.
  • They respond immediately, openly and honestly when asked a question.
  • They do not play favourites and they treat everyone fairly.
  • They never show impatience or anger toward employees.
  • They never speak negatively about employees behind their backs.
  • They make good decisions for the business and for their workers.
  • They understand that every person is different and that no two people perform the same way.

A leader without long-term, engaged and devoted followers is just a lonely person with a title.

I’m Wayne Kehl from Dynamic Leadership.

Dynamic Leadership and ILScorp offer a varied and unique array of leadership courses. Click on the titles for more information

18 Steps to Dealing with Confrontation

Behavioral Selling

Job Security During a Recession And Beyond for ILS

Positive Passion

Ten “Easy” Commandments for Getting Along With People

The Secrets of Commercial Insurance


Check out Wayne’s  other segments on ilstv!

A big ego is a terrible thing to waste

Ten things great leaders do

The four agreements

Generation  Y

Electronic hit and run

All good things must end

Are you truly kind?

Find a job you love

Do you have perseverance?

Do you ever think about happiness?




Six Types of Problem Employees You Never Want to Hire

When it comes to a company’s assets, talent is the most valuable—and also the most difficult—to replace. A great hire can encourage innovation and lead your team to greater success. On the other hand, one wrong hire can wipe out morale and kill productivity.


Most businesses have come across a toxic hire or two, and these employees probably cost you more than you know. As an eight-time CEO, Fred Mouawad, founder of the task and management platform Taskworld, knows a thing or two about identifying problem employees.

Take a look at the six employees Mouawad warns most strongly against bringing on board.

1. The Self-Crowned King of Ethics

These employees are also called “the tattletale” because they typically enjoy complaining about others. They’ll be the first to tell management about co-workers coming in late, leaving early or not working hard enough.

“In general, employees who like to point out what others are doing wrong are often trying to hide their own unethical behavior,” Mouawad says. “They try to divert attention from their own flaws. People who are honest have no reason to tout their honesty around the organization—those who are honest don’t need to mention it, and do the right things naturally.”

The self-crowned king of ethics will destroy your company because they’ll ruin trust and morale. This employee isn’t a team player and will never pick up the slack for colleagues, if needed. Even if your company is full of strong leaders and exceptional talent, they’ll eventually need to come together to form an unbeatable team. The self-crowned king of ethics is unable to do this and, thus, is unable to help lead your company to success.

2. The Baby

These types of workers are insecure and will go to extreme lengths to hide their shortcomings. Similar to the self-crowned kind of ethics, these employees like to steer attention away from their own faults and are often quick to blame others.

“Such employees are good at highlighting problems, but they’re not capable of solving them,” Mouawad explains. “They hide their inability to find and implement solutions by lamenting about problems.

“They typically demotivate others, deplete energy and don’t add value,” he adds. “What’s required are people who identify performance gaps and thrive to find and implement solutions to drive continuous improvements—these are the grown-ups who can improve the world around them. The babies just cry.”

Think about it: What good is someone who constantly points out problems but can’t be any help finding solutions?

3. The “Yes” Man

This is the employee who thinks that everything—every idea, every existing process, every new suggestion—is brilliant. This person is a risk because they won’t give you the honest advice your company needs to grow.

While the “yes” man may appear pleasant and capable, their biggest fault is that they’ll only tell you what you want to hear. They’re incapable of discussing challenges and, because of this, they’d rather quietly suffer even as the problems become more damaging. These types of employees destroy company value and are detrimental to any organization.

4. The Joy Sponge

The joy sponges are those employees who feel they need to always be the center of attention and make sure that no one is happier than they are. These employees may explain that they’re simply trying to be cautious or realistic, but their behavior actually destroys teams.

“Energy in the workplace is highly contagious,” Mouawad says. “Those who exude positive energy can energize others to enhance execution. Those with negative energy are more dangerous, as negative energy is five times more powerful than positive energy.”

Since negative energy tends to affect us more, we also have a tendency to remember negative employees more than those with positive energy. With this in mind, think about how many of your employees would be affected simply by having one rotten egg around.

5. The Know-It-All

We all know these types: They refuse to listen to anyone else’s opinions or ideas because they always believe their ideas are the best. According to Mouawad, you should get rid of these employees immediately.

“If people think they have all the answers, they usually stop growing,” he notes. “They become complacent and don’t spend enough time trying to find the best answer to a problem. They stop researching and become less inquisitive. When that happens, it affects judgment, and [they] become more shallow and more prone to errors. We think we know it, and therefore conclude superficially.”

6. The One Who Won’t Change

If an employee can’t change after a negative habit or behavior has been brought to their attention, let them go—for their sake, as well as for your company’s.

“The key to growth is the ability to learn and adapt. Those who stagnate cannot move forward—their performance can only decline over time,” Mouawad says. “It’s not the strongest species that survive but those who are able to adapt to their environment. If damaging behaviors can’t be improved, it’s best to let go rather than persist in changing people.”

Hiring the wrong person can set a company back years and cost you more money than you’d think. That’s because it isn’t the man who’s stealing or the woman who’s not doing her job that you need to worry about—those are the usual suspects. The employees who are most devastating to any business are the ones who don’t play by the rules because they don’t want to be part of your team.

By Vivian Giang

Freelance writer/editor, American Express


Ontario Employment Law For Foreign Employers

Peter Straszynski discusses Ontario employment law for foreign employers including what a non-Canadian company planning to hire in Ontario needs to know with regards to The Human Rights Code, The Employment Standards Act, The Common Law and Wrongful Dismissal, Employment Insurance Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, Pay Equity Act and Ontario Labour Relations Act as part of the Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video Series.

Q.  What does a non-Canadian company, planning to hire in Ontario, need to know?

A non-Canadian business planning to hire employees in Ontario should be aware of our particular set of workplace statutes, as well as some of the more important aspects of our “common law” system…..  Foreign businesses are sometimes surprised by how different our laws and rules can be when it comes to the employment relationship……….. Any business looking to employ people in Ontario should first get advice from qualified counsel, so that they fully understand the system of laws governing the employment relationship.

The Human Rights Code

Ontario employers are governed by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The Code provides that every person has a right to be free from discrimination and harassment in their employment on the basis of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or handicap.

The Employment Standards Act

The Ontario  Employment Standards Act provides for certain minimum terms and conditions of employment for most employees in Ontario.

The Act sets out minimum standards regarding wages, hours of work, overtime, vacations, public holidays, leaves of absence (including pregnancy and parental leaves), termination of employment and rights to reinstatement, among other things.

The Common Law and Wrongful Dismissal

There is no recognized concept of “employment at will” in Canada, similar to that recognized in some U.S. States……. Under our “common law” (Judge-made law), employment can be terminated at any time, without just cause, but only upon the provision of “reasonable” prior notice of termination or payments instead.

At common law, it is not at all unusual for Judges to routinely award notice periods in the range of one month’s notice for every year of employment, and possibly more.

Employment Insurance Act

Our federal Employment Insurance Act is designed to provide income protection for employees who are unemployed for a variety of reasons………… Aside from benefits that may be available after terminations of employment, the statute also provides for benefits that may be payable during periods of illness or, for example, a pregnancy leave of absence.

Both employers and employees contribute premiums to the Insurance scheme.

Occupational Health and Safety Act

Our provincial Occupational Health & Safety Act requires the establishment of Health and Safety Committees in most workplaces, and is aimed at the prevention of workplace accidents or injuries.

A violation of occupational health and safety legislation can generally be prosecuted as a provincial offence. Individuals and corporations may be subject to fines if found guilty, while individuals may face the additional risk of incarceration.

Workplace Safety & Insurance Act

Our Workplace Safety & Insurance Act (formerly known as Workers’ Compensation) creates a system of compensation for workplace accidents or injuries which occur while workers are in the course of their employment.

Employer contributions are the exclusive source of funding for Workplace Safety & Insurance scheme…….

Pay Equity Act

The Ontario Pay Equity Act is legislation aimed to redress systemic gender discrimination in compensation for work performed by employees in female job classes.

The pay equity model is based on the concept that employees should be paid equally for work which is of “equal value” to the employer, not just for work which is substantially similar.

Every private employer with 10 or more employees must establish and maintain compensation practices that provide for pay equity in their own “establishments”.

Ontario Labour Relations Act

The term “labour relations” typically refers to the body of law that governs unionized workplaces.

The Ontario  Labour Relations Act deals with issues like :

Who can belong to a union;

How and when a union can obtain bargaining rights;

How, when and at whose initiative, can bargaining rights be terminated;

The duty to bargain in good faith by both a union and an employer;

The statutory “freeze” on terms and conditions of employment during Union organizing drives;

The content and operation of collective agreements and the arbitration process through which such agreements are enforced;

The right to strike or lock out;

Successor rights in cases which a unionized employer transfers a unionized business or undertaking;

Unfair labour practices by employers or unions; and

Procedure for applications or complaints before the Ontario Labour Relations Board in respect of any of these matters.


If you’d like to learn more about any of these topics and how Ontario Employment Law may affect your plans to do business here, please see our related publications titled “Summary of Ontario Employment Law”, or contact us any time …by phone or by email.

Article by Peter C. Straszynski

Torkin Manes LLP
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