Evaluating Job Offers

by Kristy Amburgey

youre hiredWith salary being the important aspect of a job offer for the majority of people, the other parts of the employment package often get lost amid the dollar signs.  Instead of just seeing dollars, it important to evaluate the other factors of a job offer, in addition to salary, that can have a major impact on your decision to accept, negotiate or reject a job offer.  You need to consider all parts of your job offer, including what the company is offering and how the job and commitment will impact you personally.

The company’s job offer and benefits package needs to be thoroughly examined before making any job offer acceptance or rejection decision.  Consider these aspects of what the company may offer you to compensate you for your work.

Salary

The bottom line dollar amount is important to evaluate.  Know if the salary amount offered meets your needs and coincides with your career progression plans.  Understand if you will be paid hourly or if you will receive a specific salary regardless of the hours you put in per week.  The dollar amount should be a top priority when making your decision, but don’t forget the many other elements.

Other Financial Compensation

Companies also reward their employees in other ways, including bonuses, awards, commission or comp time.  For anyone working on commission or receiving bonuses, know how your employer will withhold taxes on this financial compensation.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is another key part of your job offer.  Some employers cover a large percentage of your health insurance while some companies will have you pay a chunk of money. You also need to ask yourself if you like the health insurance plan(s) offered.   There is a difference between a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) among others; know the difference and how it will impact you.  Dental and vision can be offered but not at all companies, so you may need to spend extra money to get both of these plans.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plans are important as companies often contribute to programs such as a 401k, 403b and other savings plans.  Some companies still offer pensions, and others might be involved in IRAs.  Stock options or profit sharing are other benefits that companies can offer as part of your retirement compensation.

Other Benefits

Benefits can range from flexible spending accounts to child care discounts and from educational benefits to life insurance.  Tele-working can also be a perk to your job package.  As you evaluate your offer, consider how each benefit will impact you financially and whether or not it is truly a benefit to you.

Vacation Time and Sick Leave

Everyone needs the option to have time to conduct their personal business, take advantage of a much needed break or stay at home with an illness.  If you accrue vacation leave, make sure you understand how much time you earn a pay period.  If you get a set amount of time, know if that time increases the longer you are employed by the organization.  Another element of this benefit is holiday time off; know what days you automatically have off of work.

Perks

Perks are those extra benefits that can make life more convenient for you.  Travel benefits, on-site dry cleaning pick up, a cafeteria with free food, a company fitness center, freebies/discounts  and more can be options for your perks package, but you need to decide how important these are to you and if you consider them benefits.

In addition to looking at the job offer and benefits package, you must also evaluate how the new job will impact you in other ways like your personal and professional happiness.

Company Culture

Each company has a distinct culture that can greatly impact your personal satisfaction and growth.  Some companies have reputations of being fun and playful.  These types of companies often tout their extra perks that make life a bit more convenient, and they like to encourage having fun at work.  Some companies are much more serious and conservative in nature.  You need to decide what you want in a company culture to better ensure your satisfaction with the environment and your ability to grow within the company.

Work-Life Balance

Finding your ideal work-life balance in a job can be difficult.  You don’t want to come across as not willing to put in the work, but you don’t want to neglect your personal commitments either.  As you decide on a new job, ensure that you understand the expectations the company will have on your time, specifically your “outside” time.  Are you expected to work weekends or evenings, and will this conflict with other obligations you have?

Relocation

Relocation is also an important topic.  Will the company help you cover any costs if you must move, and how much will the move cost you personally?  Also consider how a move will impact you and your family as you settle into a new community.

Community

If you move to a new area, you need to look at the community in which you will be living and working.  Does the community have the amenities that you both need and want?  Also remember that the state, county and/or city in which you live may impose additional taxes on you outside of federal taxes.

Commute

Your commute to work affects your work-life balance and has a financial impact on you.  How much gas will you need for the week, or how much is your train ticket?  Do you have to pay for parking, or does the company cover that?  Is there an optional shuttle service, or are you sitting in your car for a long period of time?

As you delve deep in your job and benefits offer, you need to look at the various aspects of your offer package, not just the base salary.  While that dollar amount is the easiest way to interpret a “good” offer, you need to also look at how an offer will impact you personally, understanding how the job and job offer fits into your current and future goals.

Do you want to know what other graduates are seeking when looking for employment?  Check out the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) article titled, New College Grads Seek Annual Salary Increases Over Healthcare Benefits.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

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  1. Job Search and Relocation Q&As | Going Places with Embry-Riddle Career Services

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