What to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer
Congrats! You survived the interview process and have an offer in hand, but the journey isn’t over just yet. Oftentimes, an offer letter is read for the dollar signs. How much did they offer me? How much can I negotiate? What is my end of year bonus? Is commission uncapped?
While it is important to look at the compensation (money pays the bills!), don’t get lost in short-term numbers and forget to look at other important long-term elements that make up the complete job offer.
I’m sure you have seen it splattered across LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, but money isn’t the main reason people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Oftentimes, it is lack of appreciation, bad managers, toxic cultures, etc. that make people want to leave a job. Wouldn’t it be better to evaluate those things on the front-end rather than jumping into a job for the money and getting blindsided?
Evaluating job offers for more than just compensation allows you to choose a job that maybe doesn’t pay the highest right off the bat, but offers much more long-term gain. It is up to you to determine if the short-term setback is worth the long-term gain.
It is up to you to determine if the short-term setback is worth the long-term gain.
The following list will help you better understand if you fully evaluated the job offer for all it could be, not just all it looks like right off the bat.
If some of these questions were not answered during the interview process, don’t be afraid to set up a followup conversation with the hiring manager to ask any clarifying questions.
Is there opportunity to be promoted?
Is there opportunity to touch different units/departments of the business? Are they open to internal transfers?
Are their leaders being hired from the outside or promoted from within?
On average, how long does it take to get promoted?
Check current employees’ LinkedIn profiles.
Ask the hiring manager.
Ask current employees (use discretion).
Do I trust, respect and admire the person directly managing me?
This one person will play a major role in your career trajectory, so you need to assess quickly if they will work for you or against you. Good managers want to see people promoted away from their teams. Insecure managers want to suppress talent and keep people “working for them.”
Good managers want to see people promoted away from their teams. Insecure managers want to suppress talent and keep people “working for them.”
Look beyond the company’s published core values. What do they really value? It’s easy to profess integrity, hustle, team spirit, etc., but make sure the leadership team AND employees truly demonstrate this.
Is there a lot of turnover? If “yes,” why?
How is the company’s Glassdoor profile?
Take this with a grain of salt as it is well-known that someone with a bad-experience is much more likely to leave a review than someone with a good experience (source).
While reading through Glassdoor, pick up on trends. Come up with respectful questions to ask the hiring manager to get to the truth.
Are these people you want to spend 40+ hours with each week? Do they energize you or drain you? Is it a dog-eat-dog environment or a family-style one?
You spend more time with your colleagues than you do with friends and family.
Do the coworkers seem to like each other?
Can I (and my family) live off this compensation?
Being brutally honest with yourself allows you to have the freedom to make “take a risk.” If you are evaluating taking a step back for a job you are excited about it, just do the math. Will this really work for you? Maybe you make some life adjustments, but it could be worth it in the long-run.
What is the total compensation including benefits and perks? (See this blog for help understand what a total comp package includes.)
Don’t get hung up on the number alone. Assess the overall compensation and benefits package.
For example, the base salary might be lower than you want, but what about the monthly gym membership they cover? What about their benefits package? Did you notice they cover 99%? What about their transportation stipend?
Create an Excel doc if you need to, and do the math!
For salespeople: Are reps hitting their quotas? Is it attainable?
Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring managers this question in your interviews.
Nothing is worse than getting a comp package that is sky-high, but in actuality, no one is hitting their quotas and you end the year with just your base salary, aka a massive pay cut.
How much more/less am I having to commute for this role?
How will commuting affect my personal life - time, money and relationships?
Will I quickly burnout of commuting? Have I burnt out of commuting the past?
If you hated commuting in the past, chances are you will hate it again, even if you love the job.
Ask current employees/hiring managers if there are toll stipends, transportation stipends, flexible work hours, etc. that would make the commute take less of a “toll” on you (pun intended).
How does the day-to-day compare to what you are doing currently?
What do you already know you like/dislike about the day-to-day of this type of role?
Are there opportunities to do projects/work beyond the typical day-to-day?
Now, review your answers and sign or decline that offer letter with confidence knowing you fully fleshed it out for what is truly worth. For another deeper dive on each of these categories, read Evaluating the Full Potential of a Job Offer by Associate Client Director, Sedona Vickers.