Receiving a job offer can be exciting yet stressful. It can be tempting to accept it right away if you’ve been job searching for a while and are either unemployed or in a current job you are dying to move on from. But even if the offer sounds perfect, there is always a lot more to consider when evaluating a job offer than meets the eye. Even before the negotiating begins, ask for a window of at least 72 hours to decide if the job is really worth taking or if you are only seeing what you want to see. Here are some helpful tips on how to evaluate a job offer:
1) First take a close look at salary and benefits
There are many factors to take into account when deciding whether or not to take a job, but if the salary isn’t enough there’s no point in considering the offer. And even if the salary seems high, if the benefits aren’t satisfactory it may not be as good of a deal as it seems. When evaluating a job offer, here are a few things to examine regarding salary and benefits:
- Take a look at websites such as Salary.com and Payscale.com to determine the typical salary for a person in the position you are being offered with your level of experience. If the company is offering you less than that you can try negotiating for a higher number.
- Does the salary cover your budget and expenses? Do the math to make sure. Also, when evaluating a job offer, consider any commuting expenses that will be involved and if you will have to cover them. Then subtract this from your annual salary.
- How often will you be getting paid? If you are a salaried employee, you should be getting paid at least twice a month.
- How soon will you be eligible for a raise, and what requirements must you meet to receive one?
- Does the company offer bonuses, and when will you receive them? Are they based on employee performance or the success of the company?
- Find out the name of the health insurance provider and the plan the company offers when evaluating a job offer. Find out what is covered, and the co-pay and deductible expenses you will be responsible for. This can all really add up. A lower salary with 95% of health insurance expenses covered can often mean more money in your pocket than a higher salary with only 10% of health insurance expenses covered.
- Find out the type of retirement benefits the company offers, if any. If the company offers a 401k, find out if the employer will match your contributions. This can increase your pay greatly over the long run.
2) What will your work-life balance look like?
Do you have a family? A passion for traveling or extracurricular activities that require schedule flexibility? Or maybe you have health problems or a disability that requires certain accommodations. When evaluating a job offer, it won’t matter how much money you will be making if you won’t have time to enjoy your life. Here are a few factors to consider regarding work-life balance:
- More and more companies are giving schedule flexibility. Find out their policy on this, and if your job can be performed outside of your regular hours if needed.
- When evaluating a job offer, find out the company’s policy on remote work. Can you work from home and if so how much? This will add time to your day and cut down on the cost of commuting.
- How much vacation time will you be receiving, and how flexible is the company with when you take it? You should receive at least 2 weeks initially. If you want more vacation time, don’t be afraid to ask for it up front. You may have a lot of power to negotiate this, especially if you got more vacation time at your previous job.
- What about sick and personal days? Many people forget to find out about this when evaluating a job offer. And if you have any important engagements coming up soon, let the company know. At some companies, personal days don’t kick on until after a couple months.
- What perks does the company offer if any? Depending on your needs, extras such as daycare and health club memberships can reduce a lot of stress in your daily life.
3) Career Potential
When evaluating a job offer, it’s important to think long-term. When you meet your potential manager, find out as much as you can about their management style and personality. Does it fit well with your personality and needs? Meet as many employees as you can to get an idea of whether you will feel comfortable working with them. This will have a huge impact on your happiness and ability to succeed at your job. Then take a look around the office. It’s important for the work environment to be suitable since you will be spending a lot of time there.
Do some research to learn more about the company’s culture and mission and see if it aligns you’re your own values. Finally, ask about career advancement opportunities when evaluating a job offer. Is this a job that will allow you to develop the skills and experience you need to continue to grow in the professional direction you want?
Remember, any of the details you negotiate in a job offer need to be in writing. If you accept the job, keep the offer for your records to ensure that none of the conditions of the agreement slip through the cracks.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.