How to Evaluate a Job Offer
You spent countless hours searching, you aced the interviews, you waited patiently and it finally comes – you’ve just been offered a new job. Congratulations! Few things can match the prospect of a new job for excitement. But before enthusiasm takes over and you sign the offer letter with a dramatic flourish, slow down. You need to evaluate the complete offer before making your decision. Remember, the time to ask questions and negotiate is before your first day of work. Here are several things to consider when evaluating a job offer:
Salary – Chances are, the hiring manager has already asked your salary requirements, so the offer should be in that general neighborhood. However, if it comes in too low, it’s time to negotiate. Be sure to do your research so you have facts and figures on your side, rather than just an arbitrary total. If the employer absolutely refuses to budge, consider asking for a signing bonus (they’re not just for professional athletes) and find out if there is the potential for any quarterly or annual bonuses based on individual and/or company performance. If money continues to be a sticking point, negotiate for other things that work in your favor, such as working from home one or more days a week.
Benefits – When evaluating the benefits, remember to take into account more than just health care coverage. You also need to consider whether you will have the chance to participate in a retirement plan, whether or not the company matches your contributions, and the amount of vacation and sick time you’ll receive, along with how and when it’s granted. Also be sure to find out when benefits begin; some employers make new employees wait as long as six months. Will you be able to cover the cost of insurance on your own in the interim?
Deal Breakers – Something that may not seem like a big deal initially can become one when you’re faced with it day in and day out. For example, if you’re not a morning person but you’re expected to be at the office, ready to go at 7am every day, you’re probably not going to be very happy for long. Or if you work best on your own in a quiet room but the work environment is a giant collaborative work space, you might have a hard time concentrating. Remember to find out all those important day-to-day details before making your final decision.
Unexpected Expenses – Will you suddenly have a longer commute? That means spending more on gas and vehicle maintenance. Moving from a jeans and t-shirts environment to a business casual setting? You’re going to need to spend more on clothing. Are you expected to dine out with coworkers for lunch regularly? Those costs will add up. These are all things to consider as you’re evaluating your offer.