Advancing

4 Ways to Evaluate a Job Offer

evaluate offer

You did it. You got a job offer, and it’s a good one. No doubt you’re happy, especially if you have been looking for a while or your current job is just about killing you.

I don’t want to kill your buzz, but before you sign on, take a deep breath and make sure this job is really what you want.

Here are 4 keys things to consider when you evaluate a job offer.

  1. Money. This one comes first because it is important, but it is also the easiest to judge. Make sure you get full details on the entire offer, including salary, benefits, perks, vacation and sick time, bonuses, etc. Consider the entire compensation package, and how you can approach negotiating various aspects of it to get the best offer you can. Be sure to identify which are the most important to you and where you are willing to compromise before starting those discussions.
  2. Culture. A workplace’s culture can be the hardest thing to evaluate from the outside, but it is crucial to your happiness at work. Try to objectively judge the office environment—was it lively or dead silent? Did the people you meet seem upbeat and relaxed? Were the offices bright and clean? Think through what type of environment you really want. For example, if you do best with a routine–which is true of most people–you may not like working on a team where people have flexible hours or work remotely. Know what really matters to you and look for signs that the culture will provide it. Read online reviews and ask current employees if you have any doubts.
  3. Advancement. No matter where you are in your career, you don’t want to get bored a few months or years down the line and have nowhere to go. If you didn’t get a strong sense of potential pathways you might take during your interviews, don’t hesitate to ask about them now. Find out if the company tends to promote from within, and how long most people stay at the level of your new job. Ask about the routes your predecessors have taken, and about how easy it is to transfer between departments. These answers are particularly important if you are in a department or company that isn’t growing.
  4. Tasks. Forget all of the above, and the title and prestige of a company for a moment and think about the specific ways you will be spending your days. Go through the tasks and responsibilities that make up the job. If you are at all unclear about what they are, get specifics. Do you really enjoy most of those tasks? Do they make best use of your talents and skills? Is there enough challenge in the role? If more than half the tasks are not what you enjoy—but feel that you have to do or should do—that may be red flags.

No job is perfect, of course, but often job seekers will be so happy to have an offer that they settle for a job that isn’t close enough to perfect. Be sure you have as much information as you can before you make a decision. Be honest with yourself and your circumstances. If your potential job doesn’t score high in all of the above areas, you may be on the market again pretty soon.

About the Author

Susan Price has been writing about careers, entrepreneurs and personal finance for more than a decade. She’s been an editor at BusinessWeek, Money, and iVillage.com, among others.