When you receive a job offer, you are likely to feel elated and may be tempted to rush into accepting. It is in your best interest to slow down and fully consider your next steps. Remember it is important to evaluate all aspects of the job offer and think objectively about your choices before responding to an offer.
Deciding whether to take a particular job offering or choosing between different jobs offers can be difficult. Although there is not a universal set of criteria that will determine whether or not you should take one job over another, there are some key considerations that might help you in this process. Below are seven key factors and associated questions individuals often use to evaluate a job offer:
It is important to consider: (a) whether you are interested in the mission of the organization and its products or services, (b) whether you will enjoy the specific job responsibilities of the position and (c) whether the position will allow you to develop professionally:
- Will you be proud of where you work?
- Do you know your job responsibilities and are you excited by them?
- Where will this position ultimately lead you? How does the position help you toward your long-term career goals?
Although things change rapidly in many organizations, it is important that there by good chemistry between you and your prospective supervisor:
- Will he or she be a good mentor?
- Is he a self-confident person who will be genuinely interested in your success or will he be threatened by you?
- Do you feel comfortable with her management style?
Your work environment will largely be shaped by the individuals with whom you work. Try meeting with some of the people you will actually be working with day to day before you accept a position:
- How was your rapport with your interviewers?
- Were they professional?
- Are they people you would enjoy working with?
- Team players?
Salary and Benefits
Conduct research on the competitive range for salary for your position.
- Based on your research, is the salary at market level?
- Does the salary enable you to meet your financial obligations (ie. school loans)? What is the potential for salary growth?
- Are there perks (i.e. international travel, professional conferences, association memberships, on-site fitness and childcare facilities)?
- Consider your total salary and benefits package and compare multiple offers by using the Total Compensation Calculator
- Salary resources: NACE Salary Calculator Center, Glassdoor, CareerJournal.com, Jobstar, Monster – Salary Center, Quintessential Careers, Salary.com, Find the Data: Salaries by City, GuideStar (search non-profit tax forms for salary data)
- Benefit description resource
- What is your start date? Can you negotiate to fit your schedule?
It is important the demands of the position fit with your overall lifestyle. Consider the following when evaluation the position:
- In general, can you achieve a comfortable work-life balance?
- What is the customary number of hours required each week?
- How much travel will be required?
- Do they believe in “comp time”?
- Will they be flexible in the case of family emergencies?
When interviewing, particularly on-site, try to take note of the type of organizational culture and whether or not it meshes well with your personality and values. Such considerations might be:
- Is the organization rigid or flexible? Is it casual or formal?
- Does the dress code suit your preferences?
- Do you feel comfortable in the physical office/field environment (e.g. light, space)?
- Is it bottom-line oriented? People oriented? Mission oriented?
Consider the physical logistics of working at this organization, including:
- Is the job based in a desirable place to live? Is the physical location isolated or are there conveniences nearby?
- How long is the commute? Is there a public transportation option?
- Is parking available?
It may be that the person who makes you the offer refers you to someone in Human Resources to discuss the details of the benefits package. If so, make sure to call HR and ask any questions you may have.
Information adapted from Fletcher School/Tufts “Evaluating Job Offers and Negotiating Salary” (2013).
Once you have made the decision to accept an offer, inform the employer verbally. They may also ask for it in writing. You may also want to get a formal offer from them in writing at this point if you have not already. After officially accepting an offer, withdraw from any other search where you are being considered. It is unethical to continue searching for a “better” offer after you have accepted one.
If you decide to decline an offer, do so in a polite and respectful manner. Let the employer know that you appreciate the offer, but that you have chosen to decline. They may ask for a reason, and you may choose to provide them with one if you wish. It is recommended that you be as tactful as possible so that you do not burn any bridges.