The road to the end is now in sight. All of the preliminary work, research and interviews have been completed. Now comes the preparation for the offer and final negotiations.

The natural tendency is to take a well-deserved emotional break and wait for the company to return with a fair offer. But there is still much to do. The first issue is to determine what is an appropriate offer for this position.

You must consider a number of factors relating to that number, such as cost-of-living, parity with similar positions at other companies, amount of risk in the job due to the company’s standing, location, responsibilities, level of control, amount of travel, etc. Do your research prior to the actual offer so you may be adequately armed when final negotiations take place.

Where can you find this information? The answer is to go back to our initial sources when we first began our job search. You’ll need to network in the local marketplace with peers and mentors. Spend some additional time on the internet to gather information from websites that provide salary comparisons, cost-of-living comparisons, company financials, and other useful tools. Complacency at this stage could result in settling for a lesser salary or perks, or even making an unwise final decision.

Many companies expect an answer within 48 hours of an offer being extended. Some will allow for a week plus the weekend, but rarely beyond. Their assumption is that you have asked all of the necessary questions concerning the position, corporate structure, and benefits, and all that remains is whether the compensation package is attractive enough for you to accept the position. Taking too much time to reach a decision runs the risk of having the offer withdrawn.

Once an offer has been extended, make sure you ask for a written offer letter and the appropriate benefit information packet to be sent to you by overnight mail. You must perform your due diligence prior to accepting or rejecting the offer.

You are so close to having your dream position, you can almost feel it. Make sure you are ready for it!