|  November 20, 2012

How to analyze a job offer

When you get a job offer it’s tempting to just jump up and down with excitement and say yes.  After a long, exhausting search, this is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.  While you probably will get to “yes”, make sure you’ve had time to ask some key questions.  Here are some tips on how to analyze a job offer:

The compensation:

Make sure you fully understand the details of your compensation.  Compensation isn’t just about base salary.  There are lots of other factors that impact your take home pay such as perks, health benefits, vacation time, bonus, stock, and much more.  Especially if you are comparing offers side by side, don’t forget to consider all of the components.

The opportunities for growth:

Most people walking into a job these days won’t want to do that same job forever and growth within a company is a great way to stay challenged without bouncing around. Ask this question in the interview process or even after you receive the offer.  Is the company focused on growth or do people have to wait for someone to quit in order to reach that next level?  How long does the company expect people to be in their current roles before taking a next step? Is the company creating new positions each year or will you have to wait for your boss to quit? These are all really important questions if moving up is important to you.

The culture:

This is something I completely underestimated going into my first job and realized the importance of during my second one.  Regardless of how much you love what you’re doing, the type of work environment you are in every day will have a huge impact on your overall happiness (and quality of life).  Be honest with yourself about what type of environment you would do best in.  Is it structured or constantly changing? Is it big or small? Is it predicable or creative?  You know what’s best for you more than anyone else – so trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right.  Better to know now versus later.

The work:

Though you probably looked at a job description when you applied, make sure you’ve asked people to share what they think the role is.  You’ll want both things to feel somewhat consistent.  If you fully understand the nature of the work, you will be able to gauge whether or not you feel excited about doing it.  You’ll also be able to get more knowledgeable about the areas you have less experience with prior to coming on board.

The people:

The people you work with are key to your happiness on the job.  Not only do you want them to be friendly and helpful, but you probably also want them to be smart and talented (so you can learn from them).  You’ll get a feel for this based on the type of people who are interviewing you but it’s also important to ask what type of people are successful at the company.  Then you will learn a bit more about the common thread that ties everyone together.

Of course, I could sit here all night and tell you every last thing to consider about an offer and a company.  No company will be perfect and hit absolutely everything on your list either.  The most important thing I want to say is that, you really do know yourself better than anyone else.  Think about how much weight these different components hold to you personally and then do your research, ask your questions, and know what you are getting into!

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