6 Steps To Evaluate a Job Offer
Receiving an employment offer can feel exhilarating, and it’s an occasion that calls for celebration, but before you get too caught up in the emotions, it’s important to carefully evaluate the opportunity.
How do you decide whether to accept an offer? Are there times when you should flat-out reject an opportunity? In this article, I share important steps to take when evaluating a job offer.
How to Evaluate a Job Offer in 6 Steps
Here are six steps you can take to effectively assess a job offer:
1. Get the offer in writing.
Be wary if a company is apprehensive about providing you with the offer in writing. An employment offer is not the kind of situation where you want to take someone at their word.
Consequently, the first and most important step in effectively evaluating a job opportunity is to get the offer in writing, as well as documentation of any incentives advertised during the interview process, such as a sign-on bonus, performance bonuses, or company stock.
If the company is unwilling to back up their promise in writing, it’s safe to assume the offer won’t be realized. Ensuring you receive your job offer and all the additional details in writing is one way to avoid online job scams.
At the bare minimum, it should include:
- Job title and description
- Salary, compensation, benefits, and terms
- Work schedule and location
- Management structure
- Employment start date
- Any contingencies (for example, contingent on a background check, reference check, proof of employment to work in the U.S., etc.)
If you’re currently employed, it’s also critical that you receive a final offer and start date before providing your current employer with your resignation. The last thing you want to do is give your current employer notice and then later attempt to get your job back if the offer fails to go through.
2. Understand the total compensation.
Next, you want to understand the total compensation being offered by the company. While companies offer a base salary, there are often additional perks extended to you if you’re a W2 employee.
Benefits like healthcare insurance, stocks, and bonuses can make up a significant portion of your total package and make or break an offer.
My job seeker clients share with me that these additional types of compensation are often one of the deciding factors when choosing between multiple job offers, as they can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in additional annual compensation.
3. Research your prospective employer.
You also want to perform due diligence on your prospective employer before signing on the dotted line. You can begin with the company’s website, social platforms, and recent news, as well as their Glassdoor reviews.
I also highly recommend checking to see if the company is on the community review platform Team Blind, as they require users to confirm they work at an employer before commenting, in order to avoid fake reviews.
Additionally, you can reach out to current and former employees via LinkedIn to learn more about their time at the company. If you’re a member of an intentionally ignored community (shoutout to Dr. Akilah Cadet for this language), try to speak with fellow members of your community to learn about their experiences with the organization.
4. Reflect on your initial priorities.
As you evaluate the job offer and decide whether you want to accept or reject it, consider how it aligns with the priorities and criteria you originally set when deciding to look for a job, such as:
- Location and work conditions
- Company profile
- Job title and responsibilities
I recognize that not all job seekers have the luxury of turning down an offer, particularly if you’re unemployed, yet it’s still worth reviewing the goals you initially set for your job search and seeing how this opportunity lines up.
5. Vision the future—with and without this job.
Now, take a moment to envision yourself accepting this offer. How do you feel about the picture you paint in your head? Does this role align with your personal definition of meaningful work?
What other questions do you need to ask yourself that would make accepting this offer a “heck yes” or “heck no”? Is there any additional information you need to gather to make an informed decision before accepting or declining the offer?
Then, take a moment to envision yourself rejecting the offer. What feelings come up for you? Are you upset? Relieved? Indifferent? Spend some time really weighing your options and reflecting on what your future would be like with—and without—this job.
6. Run the job offer by an expert.
Another important step you want to take in evaluating the offer is to run it by someone you trust who is experienced in reviewing employment offers, such as a mentor in the industry, an employment attorney, or a career coach.
This step is particularly important if the job offer feels too good to be true. The recent layoffs have unfortunately led to an increase in online scammers who are preying on people who are unemployed or underemployed.
Tip: If an employment offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Again, get all promises made by a prospective employer in writing.
Conclusion: How To Evaluate a Job Offer
To summarize, before deciding on a job offer, make sure you get it in writing and understand the total compensation. Additionally, be sure to conduct your due diligence on the company and culture. Also, take time to reflect on the priorities you set at the beginning of your search, then see if you can envision a future in this role and at the company. Finally, don’t forget to run the offer by an industry expert.
Oh, and of course, whether you decide to accept or reject the job offer, be sure to take a moment to celebrate landing the job in the first place.