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