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How to Evaluate a Job Offer: 5 Tips Before Saying 'Yes'

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What we’ll cover:

  • Evaluating a job offer can be challenging no matter what stage of career you’re in
  • Keep in mind that salary is only one part of your compensation package
  • Many companies offer other benefits to help attract and retain talents
  • Job satisfaction and work culture can make all the difference
  • If you’re mulling over your offers, take a moment to ask yourself: What do I value most in a job?

Getting a job offer feels good. Most of the hard part – the searching, interviewing and waiting – is over, and you’ve come out on top. Congrats!

But here comes the next big question: Do you accept?

Evaluating a job offer can be challenging no matter what stage of career you’re in. After all, what made sense for you five years ago may not make sense now. Our priorities can change, along with our ambitions and expectations. 

In ways big and small, the pandemic has also changed the way many of us think about work and what we value most in a job. For instance, those who’ve been able to work from home may have come to appreciate the flexibility of remote work. And what might have once been a “nice-to-have” perk has become a non-negotiable for many.  

With companies eager to snap up talented candidates in a tight labor market, job seekers (or even ones who are just looking) are in a great position to land a job that better aligns with their career goals, finances and overall well-being. 

If you’re mulling over an offer(s), here are five things to consider before you seal the deal. 

1. Salary: Know your worth

While there’s more to a job than salary, at the end of day, the money you take home matters. We all have bills to pay and financial goals that we’d like to hit.

And even if you’re flexible on salary, you still want to be fairly compensated for your experience and the work you’ll be doing. Market research is key to ensuring your salary offer is competitive for your industry, position and location. 

Good to know: If you have to move for your new job, make sure your salary is appropriately scaled to your location. For example, don’t forget to account for differences in cost of living as well as state and local taxes.

If the base salary isn’t quite what you were aiming for, take a look at the rest of your compensation package. 

Does the company offer bonuses, annual cost-of-living adjustments or incentive compensation (like stock options) that could help sweeten the deal?

If the numbers still fall short of your expectations, speak up. 

Talking about money can be uncomfortable for some people. But it’s better to have this salary conversation with your prospective employer now – when you can still negotiate – rather than after you’ve taken the job, at which point you may have to wait anywhere between six months to a year before revisiting the salary discussion.  

2. Employee benefits and perks: Don’t forget the extras

Keep in mind that salary is only one part of your compensation package. Many companies offer other benefits to help attract and retain talents. These may include:

Paid time off (vacation, sick leave, etc.)

Parental leave

Insurance (health, life, disability)

Retirement plan (401(k), employee match, pension)

Relocation pacakage

Child care or back-up child care assistance

Wellness perks (fitness centers, fitness reimbursement, counseling)

Competitive compensation

Matching 401k contributions of up to 6%

Competitive medical, dental and vision benefits, as well as telehealth and *on-site health centers services

Resources to support fitness including *on-site fitness centers fitness reimbursements and recreational leagues and events

Access to 20 weeks of paid parental and adoption leave, 4 weeks of family care leave, and additional marriage or civil partnership leave 

Access to back-up near-site or *on-site child care

On-site fully equipped lactation rooms in most US offices

Competitive compensation

Matching 401k contributions of up to 6%

Competitive medical, dental and vision benefits, as well as telehealth and *on-site health centers services

Resources to support fitness including *on-site fitness centers fitness reimbursements and recreational leagues and events

Access to 20 weeks of paid parental and adoption leave, 4 weeks of family care leave, and additional marriage or civil partnership leave 

Access to back-up near-site or *on-site child care

On-site fully equipped lactation rooms in most US offices

Advice and counseling services, expectant parent resources and transitional programs for parents returning from leave

Stipends for adoption, surrogacy, and egg donation and retrieval

Generous PTO, commensurate with level and tenure 

Tuition reimbursement for education advancement and professional certifications

Resources to enhance resilience and mental health including weekly meditation classes, mindfulness trainings, employee assistance program and a digital resilience app

Ongoing events on wellness topics with thought leaders and best-in-class vendors

The value of these benefits and perks cannot be overlooked as you evaluate your job offer. These benefits could help you save money on certain cost-of-living expenses that you may otherwise have to pay out of pocket. The savings could add up over time, and you could put those funds towards other financial or investment goals. 

Like salary, benefits and perks may be negotiable. So if something like a flexible work arrangement is important to you, don’t hesitate to ask and see if your prospective employer is willing to work with you. (If they’re responsive, that’s a good sign!)

  • Paid time off (vacation, sick leave, etc.)
  • Parental leave 
  • Insurance (health, life, disability)
  • Retirement plan (401(k),employee match, pension)
  • Relocation package
  • Child care or back-up child care assistance
  • Wellness perks (fitness centers, fitness reimbursement, counseling)
  • Paid time off (vacation, sick leave, etc.)
  • Parental leave 
  • Insurance (health, life, disability)
  • Retirement plan (401(k),employee match, pension)
  • Relocation package
  • Child care or back-up child care assistance
  • Wellness perks (fitness centers, fitness reimbursement, counseling)
  • Paid time off (vacation, sick leave, etc.)
  • Parental leave 
  • Insurance (health, life, disability)
  • Retirement plan (401(k),employee match, pension)
  • Relocation package
  • Child care or back-up child care assistance
  • Wellness perks (fitness centers, fitness reimbursement, counseling)

Good to know: A high-dollar salary may seem enticing at first, but if it comes with little to no benefits, the math may not work out in your favor at the end of the day. This is why it’s a good idea to look at the total compensation package when comparing job offers.  

There are basic compensation calculators you can use online. Or if you have a financial advisor, you can ask them to crunch the numbers for a more personalized assessment.  

3. Job satisfaction: What’s love got to do with it?

Job satisfaction is one of the more subjective considerations when evaluating a job offer. And trying to gauge potential satisfaction requires us to be a little forward-thinking.

You may feel good about the job in the beginning when everything is new. But what about over the long term? 

This is where you’d want to look at your job description and review the details of your role carefully. 

  • Will your skills, strengths and experience be put to good use?
  • Will this job challenge you in all the right ways and set you up for success? 
  • Is the work meaningful to you?
  • Are there growth or advancement opportunities?
  • Do you believe in the company’s mission? Its approach to achieving that mission? Its values?

Because job satisfaction can be hard to predict, you may want to talk to someone at the company (or even a former employee) who’s in a similar role as you. Their experience and insights could help give you a better picture of the job you’re signing up for.  

 

4. Company culture: Are you feeling the vibe? 

Sometimes, job satisfaction is less about the work itself but rather the people you work with every day. 

If you’ve worked in a high-stress or high-pressure job before, you may have already realized that having supportive and trusted colleagues can make all the difference. 

On the flip side: Even if you love your work, it can be hard to fully enjoy what you do if your manager or leadership is less than stellar. It’s been said that people don’t quit jobs, they quit their bosses. 

The point is work culture matters. 

When we think about “fit,” we also have to think in terms of cultural fit. You may be just the right person for the job, but would you be happy working there?

Here are a few questions that could help you get a feel of the vibe.

  • Does the company and its people align with your values? 
  • Will the company support your growth and help you develop professionally?
  • How’s the work-life balance? Do people actually take vacations?
  • What is the turnover rate?
  • Who was the previous person in your role? Were they promoted or did they leave? If they left, what was the reason?

See if you can meet with your prospective team members to help you get a sense of the office culture. 

You can also lean on your professional network and ask if they know anything about the organization or people you might be working for. Read online reviews for the company – how’s their reputation among former or current employees?

Unlike salary and benefits, work culture isn’t really something you can negotiate, so find out as much as you can before you say “yes” to the job.

5. The big question: What do you value most in a job?

The Great Resignation trend (aka Great Reshuffle, Great Renegotiation) has shown that many workers are willing to walk away from jobs that no longer align with their lifestyle and values to seek better opportunities elsewhere.  

If you’re trying to decide between job offers, take a moment to ask yourself: What do I value most in a job? 

Is it better pay, greater flexibility, a healthier work environment, more meaningful work – or some combination of these things?

Each of us will weigh these categories differently, depending on where we are in life and our career. But once you’ve figured out your must-haves, you can then evaluate your job offers accordingly.   

To be sure, no job is going to be perfect. But it should check the boxes that matter most to you. With the amount of time we dedicate to work, we deserve to get it right. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.