Did someone just offer you a job? Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off, and you have an exciting new opportunity.
After a quick initial celebration, take some time to think about how to evaluate, manage, and negotiate your job offer. If you’re like many job seekers, you’re probably tired of the search and want it to end. But be cautious of accepting an offer immediately.
Job Offer Checklist
Before saying yes, take some time to thoroughly consider the job. Be honest about how it fits with your requirements and preferences. Carefully assess the offer to see if it provides an acceptable mix of what you need and want.
Here’s a checklist to help you evaluate the position to ensure it’s a good fit for you. This list is also useful if you’re considering multiple job offers. Compare how each position measures up against the following factors.
- Salary. Of course, money is at the top of the list. First, find out what the salary range is for the position relative to your experience. Does the offer fall within the range? If it doesn’t give you a raise from your current salary, make sure it at least allows you to maintain your current standard of living for the following year. (Most companies only offer raises once a year, after a yearly review.) Also, find out if the position or company offers any hiring, performance, or annual bonuses.
- Pay Period. Another thing related to salary that you may want to consider is the paycheck schedule. Some companies pay weekly or biweekly, others pay twice a month (on the 1st and 15th of the month, for example), and still others might just pay once a month. How does the cadence and frequency of your paycheck affect your lifestyle and finances?
- Benefits. Your paycheck isn’t the only compensation you should consider when accepting a new job. Carefully evaluate the position’s health and dental benefits. Ask about their retirement plan, disability benefits, and other health financial factors. Make sure you understand how they compensate or account for sick days. How much vacation time and how many paid holidays do you get? Can you negotiate for more? Do they offer any special discounts for transportation or health clubs or other services that would be an added benefit to working there?
- Schedule. Find out what the typical work day looks like for your team and position. What time do people normally arrive and leave? How many hours are you expected to be in the office each day, and how many breaks do you (actually) get? If needed, can you work from home? Consider how important flexibility with work hours and telecommuting is to you, and how this new position accommodates your needs.
- Role and Responsibilities. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the job duties and your supervisor’s expectations. Also, consider whether you’re happy with the job title itself. Does the title match the responsibilities that come with the job? Is there an opportunity to negotiate for a more fitting title?
- Reputation. Consider the prestige and stability of the company or industry. Have they received any awards? How has their financial track record been in recent years? Do they give back to their community? Is this an industry with a future? How important are these factors to you?
- Leadership and Team. Did you meet your potential new boss in the interview process? Do you think you could work well under his or her leadership? What about the people who will be on your team or anyone you will be directly supervising? Make sure you’re comfortable with them. If you are at all concerned, maybe ask a few questions to help you understand the team dynamics a bit more.
- Career Goals. When you started your job search, you likely had an idea of what your new job would look like. How closely does this one match your idea? Is the offer compatible with your short- and long-term career goals, values, and interests? Do the company and the position have advancement opportunities that will help you grow on your career path?
- Location. How does the job location affect your commute? Consider how this travel time will impact your personal or family life. Is it near your home, daycare, kids’ schools, gym, or other key places you frequent? If not, are you okay with that?
- Red Flags. Do you have concerns about the offer? What are they? Make sure you identify and address any potential red flags.
If you thoroughly examine the job offer(s) you’ve received using this checklist, you can feel confident in your decision to accept, and maybe even reject, the offer to ensure your next move is the right step for your career.
The Capella Career Center offers networking tips, job search tools, career counseling, and more. Its mission is to empower students and alumni to proactively manage their careers and make meaningful, and effective, career decisions.