So after some time pounding the pavement, submitting resumes, talking to recruiters, and sitting through stressful job interviews, you’ve finally done it – received the call with a job offer.
The offer is good. The salary is what you expected (if not a bit more) and you’re ready to jump on it. But should you immediately accept the offer and secure your new position?
Express appreciation for the offer, and ask for a day or two to consider it. Even if the money meets your expectations, there is so much more to think about when accepting a new position. You want to be sure that the overall fit is a good one.
Is the overall compensation package adequate?
It’s tempting to look only at base salary when making a career decision. We think that as long as the base is above a minimum threshold, we are being fairly compensated. But have you looked at the other components of compensation? What is the target annual bonus amount, and when is it paid out each year? Is there a company-funded pension plan? Does the organization offer a 401K retirement plan and, if so, does it match any percentage of employee contributions? Are there performance incentives available, and how are those earned? Does the company fund any life or disability insurance? Consider all of these factors when assessing a new position to be sure you are comparing apples to apples.
How much will medical insurance cost you?
Different organizations have vastly different medical benefits available. A coveted few pay 100% of all monthly premiums while offering top tier coverage, while most require the employee to share the cost of monthly premiums for more average coverage. Some newer plans allow the employer to fund a certain amount or percentage of fees upfront, or allow the employee to roll over remaining unused funds year over year. It’s important to understand exactly what plans are offered and what your out of pocket expenses will be for coverage for you and all dependents. Don’t forget to also review dental and optical coverage plans. Consider whether you have any known upcoming medical expenses, such as orthodontic care or prenatal/maternity coverage.
Are there any free or discounted perks that will become available to you?
Let’s say you’re considering a position with an automotive manufacturer. Most of these offer free or heavily discounted employee leased vehicle programs, substantially reducing your transportation costs. Likewise, perhaps you’re looking at a role with a mobile phone provider that will take over the cost of your monthly bill. Whatever industry you’re looking in, find out what the perks are and how they will impact your bottom line.15 things besides #salary that you should consider when reviewing a #job #offer. #Career Click To Tweet
Is travel required?
And, if so, how much? It may be that you look forward to the travel and don’t mind exploring new cities and countries on the company dime. Or, you may have personal commitments that limit the amount of travel you can reasonably take on. Find out what the role requires before accepting.
Are any type of flexible working arrangements offered?
More and more organizations are recognizing the fact that modern day employees are looking for better work-life balance. Accommodations for this include alternative schedules (e.g. four 10-hour days a week with Fridays off), flex schedules (e.g. start times anywhere from 6am-9am), and telecommuting (the ability to work out of your home one or multiple days a week). Find out what the organization offers and how quickly you would be able to take advantage of any flexibility.
What is the time off policy?
Time is money. Therefore, time off in the form of vacation days, sick days, or personal days directly impacts your bottom line. Inquire about how the company handles time off. Is all time off bucketed together under the umbrella of Paid Time Off (PTO)? Or are vacation, sick, and personal days handled separately? How much time off is a new employee allotted, and when does that allotment increase? How far in advance must time off be requested in order to be approved? How are competing time off requests handled for popular vacation times throughout the year – do tenured employees get first pick, or is it rotated each year? How many holidays are provided each year?
What tools will be provided to do your job?
Will the organization provide a company-paid mobile phone and data plan? A laptop and portable data tool? A tablet? And perhaps more importantly, what is the expectation of these tools? Does having a company-funded mobile phone mean that you are always on call?
When and how is performance reviewed?
After you’re hired, pretty much the only way you will receive a salary increase is through a promotion or an annual performance review. Learn how the performance review process works. Is there a formal policy in place? When is performance reviewed each year? Does only your direct manager review your performance, or do other leaders and/or colleagues weigh in as well? Roughly what performance ratings result in what merit increase percentages? Will you be responsible for writing performance reviews for other team members? If possible, try to obtain a copy of the objectives/goals that you would be rated on for the position you’ve been offered.
What is the career path for the position you’re considering?
Your prospective manager should be able to provide an idea of where you can go beyond the position. Is the logical next step to eventually move into your manager’s role? Is that a role that interests you or that will likely be vacated any time soon? Or are there other roles available that this position will prepare you for? Can the hiring manager provide examples of employees who have successfully moved on from this role to greater challenges?
Is the company culture a fit?
This can be difficult to assess through just a few interviews, although you may get a hint. Did you deal with the hiring manager directly, or did he or she delegate scheduling and follow-up responsibilities to an assistant? Are there many layers of management in the organization (hierarchical) or is the structure relatively flat? Are employees dressed casually, or in suit and tie? As you walk through the office, take a look around. Do the employees generally seem relaxed and collaborative, or excessively stressed and harried? How are employee ideas and suggestions handled? A great way to obtain better insight into the culture is to ask the hiring manager if you can talk to a current employee – a colleague to your potential role. This benefits the organization by allowing them to hear someone else’s opinion of you, and you by providing a different perspective of the work environment.
Is your prospective boss someone you like?
Let’s face it: people don’t quit companies, they quit bosses. So it’s important to ensure that your potential boss is someone you can work successfully with. This doesn’t mean you have to be their best friend or agree with everything they say, it simply means that you have a good rapport, feel comfortable communicating with them, and feel that they respect you and your opinions.
Is the work exciting to you?
Sometimes people jump to a new company looking for a change, but then find themselves doing the exact same work they were burned out on before. Take the time to really understand the type of work you will be doing, and whether it is something that truly interests you. Is there a new challenge you can take on and learn from? Will you have the opportunity to further develop your skills? Will the work augment your current experience?
How are employees developed?
You don’t want to accept a new role only to realize that you will be stuck in that role forever. Assuming you want to continue to grow in your career, find out how the company supports continuous learning. Are there classes available to employees, and does the company provide time for the employees to attend them? Are college courses reimbursed? Are there any leadership or specialty development programs that you might be able to attend? How are professional credentials (e.g. CPA or PMP) handled – does the company cover certification and maintenance costs?
Where is the office located?
Assuming you will have to commute to the office at least part of the time, it is important to consider distance, traffic, and parking. Would the commute be the same or better than your current commute? Are there public transit options available (e.g. train, subway, bus)? Is parking free or do employees have to pay for it? And, finally, is the office in a desirable area – somewhere you would feel safe walking around at night?
How long have employees remained with the organization?
This can be very telling. Organizations with low employer turnover tend to regularly solicit employee feedback and implement suggestions to ensure that they keep their talent happy. Companies with high turnover or a history of many re-organizations, layoffs, or senior leadership shifts may just be less mature – or may be struggling. It’s worth your while to figure it out before accepting an offer.
Perhaps most importantly, does the potential role and organization feel like a fit? Could you see yourself going to work there every day, and being energized by the work that you’re doing? Did you identify any potential red flags during the interview process?
Understanding all facets of the new role beyond just base salary is extremely important to ensure you’re accepting a position that will be satisfying and a strong fit for both you and the organization. Once you’ve completed your due diligence, don’t hesitate to follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager on any additional questions you might have. Otherwise, you can accept the new role knowing that you have a full understanding of what to expect. Congratulations!
Are there any additional factors you consider when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer?