Guidelines for Evaluating a Job Offer

Getting a new job offer is both exciting and nerve-wracking at once. The excitement goes hand-in-hand with any step forward in your professional career. The nerves come into play as they do with any major life transition. Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s settle in and keep a cool head while we examine the preceding step to all this: receiving a job offer and how to properly evaluate it while keeping your best interests in mind.

A solid job offer provides a glimpse of what individuals should expect from their future employer, even beyond compensation and job description. New hires just need to keep their ear to the ground to pick up on all the details, such as the seriousness of the proposal and hints toward the culture of the company, itself.

Job offer


Perhaps most importantly, new hires should not feel compelled or pressured to decide immediately. Let the initial rush settle before you reply so that you can take a clear and level head, with your own interests and career goals firmly in mind before you engage with their overture. Even career-veterans sometimes allow themselves to act with a bit too much spontaneity; and understandably so. After all, at its heart, an offer is an open acknowledgement of your value and talent.

Step by Step

There is a superfluity of guideline compilations out there, yet many of them reiterate similar notions.  We’ve drawn together some of the best (and occasionally overlooked) items for you to take along as you consider if a new position is right for you.

  • Salary. Your primary and most obvious consideration: The compensation must be within your acceptable range.
  • Benefits and Perks. There can be a lot to unpack here and not all of it is going to be glaringly obvious. So make sure that you review the list carefully. Consider (and ask, if they don’t mention) whether the position offers savings, health care, relocation compensation, leave, vacation time, profit sharing, reimbursements, etc. The list can go on extensively, so write out those that matter the most to you in descending priority and tackle them in order.
  • Ancillaries. These can range extensively, and may include items such as child care, specialty insurance, hazard pay, travel allocations, and so on. The list may be extensive, so be sure to cross-check the position you’ve been offered with the company background and the types of duties they’ll be expecting you to perform. As with any perks, if you don’t ask directly the matter may never come up.
  • Job Title and Description. Is your role congruous with what was decided upon during your final interview and/or verbal agreement?  Be sure that there are no surprises in your listed title and responsibilities, as far as your written job offer is concerned.

Do your Research

This point cannot be overstated. Before responding in any way to the offer, get online and do some sleuthing. Look up the company, look up consumer reports, employee reviews, media events, and so on. The insight and data you’ll glean will be absolutely invaluable towards making the right decision, and will arm you with the surety to ask for more than you may have previously thought you could.

There’s another aspect to all this that you shouldn’t forget to think about: the nature of the company itself. In your professional career, as in all things, your core values must come into play. Your life is the sum total of what you stand for and who you are as a person; and your career is not magically separate from that equation. People often have to make moral compromises to their values and personal ethics in their line of work, but what to remember is that there is a line, and it’s never comfortable to cross over it.


Young businesswoman sitting at workplace and reading paper in office

Do your best to ensure that your next professional steps will be in line with your core values and the things that matter to you as a human being; or at the very least, don’t compromise you to the point of feeling irredeemable.

Further Reading:  How Job Seekers Can Identify Their Best Company Culture

Fred Coon, CEO

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