Analyzing the Job Offer to Choose the Right Fit
“One job has a better salary, but the benefits aren’t as good. The other job doesn’t pay as much, but there’s more flexibility and better insurance for my family,” a recent client said to me. Most people judge a job solely based on the salary. But there are a number of factors that should be considered when choosing whether to take a new job—work environment, the company’s stability, benefits and compensation, flexibility, for example. Let’s take a look at a few key factors you should keep in mind as you evaluate a job opportunity.
Compensation, Benefits, and Perks
Obviously compensation is important. There are a number of tools at your disposal to gather intelligence and determine a fair salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salary.com, and Glassdoor.com provide a wealth of data on national and local averages for industries and job fields. Although many times organizations don’t post a specific salary in job advertisements, some do; you can use online job boards to get an idea of what’s currently available on the job market.
As you gather salary information, consider geography. A job in New York, New York is clearly going to pay more than one in Rapid City, South Dakota, as the cost of living in each city is vastly different. Also consider job demand. If your particular field simply isn’t in high demand, average salary will most likely follow the trend.
Keep in mind that salary isn’t everything. Sick/personal time, disability, health insurance, life insurance, and 401(k) matching programs can have a big impact on your bottom line. A jobseeker who is single and in her early 20s will have a very different perspective on benefits like health insurance than a candidate in his 40s with a spouse and two children to support.
Performance bonuses, commissions, and other incentives should play a key role in evaluating a job, too. Will the employer provide relocation assistance? Does the company offer flexible work hours or a work-from-home option? Does the organization provide tuition assistance? A job that requires a two-hour commute or 30 hours of travel per week may impact child care, transportation, lodging, and food costs, for example. Consider all the benefits and perks when determining whether the position makes for you.
Advancement, Stability, and Satisfaction
Beyond benefits and compensation, don’t forget about career growth and stability. Spending a year in a job with lower compensation may be worth it if it means more opportunity for growth, responsibility, and job satisfaction in five years. A company with a 40-year history may provide greater stability than a startup, too. Many jobseekers are excited to join a cutting-edge startup only to have the company miscalculate its costs or needs and shut its doors six months later.
Do your research, and as you interview, ask questions about career paths and employee satisfaction. Does the company appear to have a high turnover rate? Is the employer facing money problems or reputation issues? If the company suffers high attrition rates, its reputation is questionable, or its future looks unclear, it might be too risky to take the job.
There are many factors to consider as you assess a job opportunity. Ultimately, the most important questions are:
“Will this job meet my financial needs?”
“Will this job help me achieve my future goals?”
“Will the work be satisfying?”
We’ve all heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side.” After you’ve considered the factors outlined above, ask yourself, “Is it time to stay where I am, or is it time to move on to greener pastures?”