How to Evaluate a Job Offer

Congratulations! You have a job offer. But now you need to decide whether to accept it or not! Here are some things you need to think about before you make your decision.

Research Your Prospective Employer

Your prospective employer has researched and assessed you for the job, and you should do the same on them.

Spend a little time in investigating whether the company is a good fit for you before you accept the offer. As well as Googling them, look them up on social media – what are people saying about them? Have a look at what is said about them on www.glassdoor.com.

Gather information about the company’s working environment and culture – about its reputation and values. Would you be proud to tell your family and friends that you work there? Will you fit in with the people already working there and with the environment? When you were there for interview, did you get a sense of a good atmosphere and environment?

If you can, talk to somebody who already works for the company – find out what they and their colleagues think about it.

In particular, find out about your prospective boss’s management style – do they micro-manage or give people sufficient autonomy? Will you get on with this person?

Research the Job

If there is a job description and person specification, read through them carefully. If there isn’t, does the letter of offer describe exactly what your job entails? If you only have a verbal offer, you should talk to HR or the hiring manager to get more detail on the job.

From the information to hand, do you think or feel that the work is what you expected and want to do? Will it give you job satisfaction, enjoyment and fulfilment? Are you likely to perform well in the job? These are important factors because if they are absent, you are unlikely to last in this job.

Does the Company “Fit” with Your Work Values

You need to spend a little time in identifying your work values – those factors that are important to you about your work. Then you need to determine whether your work values align with the company’s values.

Many companies list information such as their mission, vision and values on their website – they may also have something about their corporate social responsibility (CSR), or about their stance on the environment, etc. These are good sources of information on their values. The HR department may also provide the information you need.

Ask yourself if each of your values will be met or facilitated in this company. If some aren’t, how important is this? Think about each of your values separately, how important it is to have each in this job, and whether it is a ‘deal breaker’ if it is not met or facilitated.

Salary

Salary is always an important factor in evaluating a job offer. Know the amount you would like to receive, and the amount below which you will walk away.

You should research the ‘going rate’ for the job on offer – how does the offer compare? Have you (or others) put a cash value on your SQE’s (skills, qualifications and experience)?

The website www.glassdoor.com can be a good source of information on salaries in various industries, professions and locations.

It is important that you think or feel that you are being paid fairly for the work involved. If you don’t, you won’t be satisfied and you won’t stay long-term.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you have a fair case for a higher salary, make it – but prepare your case before you have the discussion. Remember, you already have an offer, so you know they want you!

Benefits and Perks

As well as salary, benefits and perks are an important part of the overall compensation package on offer, and you need to be clear about what is included. Consider these in conjunction with the offered salary – a good benefits package can make a lower salary more attractive!

Time

It is important to know the number of hours you are contracted for and the actual number of hours you are expected to work. You might already have dealt with this issue if it is one of your work values.

Talking to someone already working in the company is the best way to get this information, especially if they are in the same department or section you would be working in, or if they are in the same or a similar job.

Are people regularly expected to work late? Are they paid overtime or given time off in lieu?

Another consideration is the time it will take to travel from home to the new work location and back. Is this greater or less than before? If greater, how will this impact your (and your family’s) life. What are the public transport options – are these reasonably good?

How does the Job Fit Your Career Plan?

Hopefully you already have some idea where you want to be in your career in seven to ten years’ time – this is considered a long-term career plan. How does the job on offer fit into this? Will it be a stepping stone on the way to your career goal?

What are the prospects for promotion? Will there be career and skills development? What is the company’s attitude to training and development?

You also need to consider how long you might stay in this job or with this company. If it doesn’t seem to be at least a medium-term prospect, how will it look on your resume if you leave after a year or even a few months? You don’t want to look too much like a job hopper!

From Evaluation to Decision

When you have considered all the factors above, you should write them down in order of their importance to you. Perhaps you would like to give each criteria a score or weighting. If so, what score level will influence a positive decision and which would make you refuse the offer? A high score would indicate that the job under consideration is a ‘good fit’ with your values and expectations. On the other hand, if the score is low, then it is probably best to walk away – to refuse the offer. Either way, only you can make this decision!

One other consideration is where you feel you have no option but to accept the offer because of some compelling reasons. These might be because of high financial commitments; a prolonged period of unemployment; fear or anxiety about unemployment or that you might not be able to find a job; etc. If this is the case, then you might accept the job offer but have a time limit on how long you will stay – it will give you the space and financial freedom in which you spend more time in finding a more suitable job.