With so many opportunities in the job market these days, many job seekers are receiving more than one job offer. If this is you, you might find yourself in unchartered waters. How are you supposed to know which job is the right one? What factors should you be taking into consideration besides simply which company is offering the highest salary? It’s hard to look past the hourly pay when companies are finally loosening up and being more competitive with compensation!
There are several factors to consider when weighing the value of a job offer, including benefits, environment and culture, perks, growth prospects, and logistics. Picking the right job may seem like a daunting task, but there are a few explainable steps that can help you chart those waters.
Step 1: Desirables and Priorities
Contrary to what you might think, this whole process actually starts with you, not the offer. Before you take into consideration what the company is offering, you need to draft a list of “Desirables and Priorities.” This step can happen before you even take the interview, but it should certainly happen before an offer is made; you need to know what you want and need first. Once you complete your list, you can use it to assess and compare offers; see which offers fulfill those desires, and also which items the offers did not meet and decide how important those things are.
Step 2: Assess the Offer
Now it’s time to look at the company and everything that comes with the job. There are some important questions, aside from pay, that you should be asking when you’ve come to this step.
- What are the benefits? What all is included and paid for?
- Have you heard good things about their insurance providers?
- What percentage of the premiums will the company pay? How much will be out of pocket each month?
- Do they offer a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program, Aflac and/or a Cafeteria Plan/HSA?
- Do they offer any paid life insurance?
- Do they offer a 401K or IRA and do they match?
- Do they offer long and short term disability?
- Do they offer any kind of signing bonus or relocation package?
Taking time to understand your benefits package is imperative as it is a large piece of the offer as a whole. If you have dependents, this could potentially be an even more important factor, so be sure to ask questions and understand your benefits before accepting the job.
Environment is quickly becoming a factor that rivals salary. Studies show that more and more people are willing to compromise on salary in exchange for a desirable work culture under the reasoning that you should “love where you work.” Culture fit is an important factor when considering an offer, because it often correlates to longevity within the company.
- What was the feel of the company when you interviewed and toured?
- What matters to the leadership, what are their core values, and do they live them?
- Do they offer volunteering hours to their employees or give back in ways that are important to you?
- Are they a Green operation?
- What are the other team members like and how is the retention rate?
- Do they make time to celebrate and build relationships within their teams?
- Do they acknowledge the wins?
- What are their Glassdoor reviews like?
Be sure to read ALL the Glassdoor reviews, and look at the whole picture. You will want to balance between knowing that you’ll have your own experience and identifying repetitive issues within the reviews. It will be important to assess the company based on your intuition as well as with research.
Growth and Logistics:
- Do they encourage growth and development for their employees?
- Does the opportunity offer you a happy career for more than a year or 2?
- Do they offer structure yet some flexibility as well?
- What are the perks of working there?
- What will your commute be like every day to and from work?
- Do they offer subsidized transportation or parking?
Looking at these questions, you can understand how salary is only one piece of the pie. You should have a figure that you would be comfortable with in terms of salary, but money only goes so far and lasts so long in terms of the whole offer. If you are offered a higher salary but don’t have much growth potential, 3 years down the road can look completely different there than with another company who career tracks their employees or offers commissions and bonuses. You might be offered generous pay, but if the culture of the company doesn’t fit your personality you might end up leaving in less than a year. Taking the time to answer these questions is an important step in considering the offer.
Step 3: Pros and Cons
A simple ‘Pros and Cons’ list is a very effective approach. You have gathered all the information, answered all of the questions about benefits, culture, and logistics, and now you have the data to compare to your initial ‘Desirables and Priorities’ list. Creating a Pros and Cons list for each offer you receive should give you clear, comparable data points that should lead you to an informed decision.
Step 4: Consult an Expert
A final step to consider would be to speak with an expert in the marketplace, such as a Career Coach or a trusted Recruiter. They can be an objective opinion for you and may know things that you don’t, and ask you questions that will help you determine the best choice. When you are working with a Recruiter, it will be very important for you to share the lists you’ve made with them so they can look through the correct lens while assisting you in your search. It is important for recruiters to consider the right things for you, and to know what value you put on each desire so we can match you to all of the opportunities that best fulfil your career goals, short and long term.
The key to making an informed career decision is to look at salary as a piece of the offer, rather than as the entire offer. Being prepared and knowing what you need from a job will help you sort through the opportunities that you are offered.