How to evaluate a job offer
You’ve landed a job offer and it’s irresistible. Sure, it’s great being the “chosen one,” but don’t let that heady excitement drive you toward a rash decision.
You don’t want to end up taking a job that sounded awesome only to find yourself working in a tiny cubicle for 10 hours a day, getting paid peanuts and facing a long and painful commute.
Take a breath. Consider the whole picture. Make a list of what you really need and want from your next job.
Think long term and judge if the move is sustainable. Use this four-part checklist (below) to evaluate a job offer.
1. Start with the compensation package
Salary is probably your top most consideration when it comes to determining whether a job is a great fit. Once you’re offered a salary, double check your budget to make sure it’s really enough. This is especially important if the job requires a move or major change in your commute. Will your commute be longer? Will this require more gas or taking a train or bus? How much will that cost?
2. Other financial aspects to consider
Bonuses - Is there a sign-on bonus? Is there an opportunity to earn performance-based bonuses?
What are the health insurance and wellness benefits? Do analyse the premium you’ll pay and compare that with co-pays and deductibles.
Profit sharing or stock options - request details and timelines, if this is part of your compensation plan, check if you have any relocation assistance. If you have to move for this job, will the company pay for all or part of your expenses?
Ancillary benefits - Ancillary or voluntary benefits are things like cancer insurance, life insurance, identity-theft protection or legal services. Some companies also throw in other enticements like free bus passes or complimentary dry cleaning.
3. Company Culture
You’re going to be spending a majority of your time at this new job. Yes, it’s important that it pays your bills, but you also want to feel like you fit in. Here are some things to consider:
Work environment - ask to take a tour including where you would be seated. Can you see yourself working in that space? If it's a large room with cubicles, is there a place to go to make private calls on your break or lunch? Do the other employees seem happy or overwhelmed? What's the dress code?
Professional development - ask about opportunities the company offers for advancement, obtaining certifications and additional development training.
4. Personal needs and considerations
Just as the in-office culture is important, so is the balance your job strikes with the rest of your life. Will you be able to spend as much time with your family as you want? Will you get to travel for fun, or be so tired of travelling for work that you don’t even want to? Here’s what to consider:
Travel requirements - how much travel will be required of you? What are the travel-related expenses that can be reimbursed? Will you have to arrange childcare or a pet sitter when you’re out of town?
Paid time off, vacations, personal or sick days, family leave. Find out upfront about time-off policies. What happens if you need to take extended personal leave?
Remote work - will the company let you work from home sometimes?
Schedule flexibility - It can be difficult to negotiate more flexibility once you've started, so go for it now. If you’re hesitant to ask straight out, check the company’s careers page to see if they mention flexible work arrangements there.