Last month I mentioned I was interviewing with two companies. Well, I have great news – I received job offers from both companies last week! Now I need to make a decision between them, and quickly. One of the offers is only good until this Friday because they need to get the position staffed ASAP.
The positions are fairly similar on several levels, and on other levels they are very different. But there is a lot involved when evaluating a job offer, so I thought I would share some of the factors I am considering while I am making my decision.
Evaluating a job offer
Job / Position. How does this job fit into your long term career plans? Is this job offer for a job or a career? In my opinion, a job is usually a short term means to an end; a task you perform in exchange for money. A career is a chosen profession that often takes development and planning. Other factors to consider: job title, responsibility level, number of people you manage, reporting structure, etc.
Opportunity. Do you have the chance to grow as a professional and individual? Will you have a chance to make decisions, lead or manage groups, is there promotion opportunity, and can you learn skills that are easily transferable?
Company health. How healthy is the company giving you the job offer? Do they have long term contracts or long standing relationships with their customers? Are they having financial difficulties? You will probably already know some of this from your research prior to your interview, but if you have multiple job offers, you can compare the companies to each other.
Work / Life Balance. Quality of life is one of the most important things to me and to a lot of other people. Will you need to carry a pager or cell phone over the weekend? Do you have rigid work hours, or can you work flex time? Can you work from home part of the time? Will you be required to work night shifts, or weekends and holidays?
Commute. How long is the commute? Long commutes can have a negative impact on both your health and your cash flow – especially with these rising gas prices. A long commute also cuts into your quality of life because it takes you away from your family longer every day. In my opinion, the shorter the commute the better!
Company culture. Is the company culture stiff and uptight, jeans and a t-shirt, or somewhere in between? Do people hang out together after work, have frequent happy hours, or participate in intramural sports teams, or is it primarily a culture of “go to work, go home, repeat?” Other factors to consider: company organization, corporate structure, dress code (I know people who refuse to wear a suit and tie everyday!), etc.
Travel. Are you required or expected to travel? How far and how often? Personally, I don’t mind the occasional business trip, but I wouldn’t like being on the road every other week, or for an extended period of time.
Benefits and perks. I will separate benefits from salary, even though they are closely related. One of the most important factors to consider is whether the health care package meets your needs. Other important benefits: 401(k) plan, pension plan, vacation time, sick time, disability, life insurance, tuition reimbursement, sponsored day care, etc.
Salary / Compensation. Compensation covers a lot of factors; the salary you earn as direct compensation is only part of it. You also need to consider factors such as a commissions, bonuses, stock options, and projected salary increases.
Choose what is best for your situation. Accepting a job offer is about more than just accepting a salary. There are many other factors that are just as important, if not more important, than the final number on your paycheck. In the end, you have to do what is best for you and your situation – even if that means leaving salary or other compensation on the table. If you dread going to work each day, you will be miserable, and that isn’t worth any price.
Your tips… Do you have any tips for evaluating a job offer, or are there things that are more important to you when you decide between jobs? I’m interested in reading them – I have a decision to make very shortly! Feel free to leave a comment!