Evaluating job offers video

Career Snapshot: Evaluating Job Offers

Figuring out if you should accept a job offer, or having to choose between job offers, requires considering a range of different factors and will be different for everyone.

Here you’ll find tips on how to approach this tricky decision making process and ways to ensure that you appear both professional and honest to any employers now and in the future.  Watch the video here - Career Snapshot: Evaluating Job Offers as a starting point.

Job Offers Tabs

The basics

If you find yourself in the happy position of having more than one job offer, it can be surprisingly hard to decide which one to accept. Make sure you have sufficient information when trying to make up your mind. You can ask prospective employers both for more information and more time to decide. It is better, to be honest, and negotiate extra time rather than accept and then renege on an offer. Remember that there may be longer-term implications on reneging, especially if you think you might wish to work for that company at some time in the future. 

On the next tab, you will find some of the factors you might consider when making your decision. Your decision will be uniquely your own. Remember that your first job is simply that, and not a life sentence. However, an unwise decision can mean a few very difficult months.

See more information in our handout Evaluating Job Offers [pdf] and Accepting job offers and handling rejections (TARGETjobs)

What to consider

The starting salary

When you’ve debts to pay off, this seems like a big factor. However, remember that salary may rise quite quickly in the first couple of years of employment. Then there may be bonuses, and other benefits to consider. Remember also that salary progression may be much faster in some areas of employment than in others.

Quality of training

Think about the training opportunities each job will provide. In today’s relatively fluid job market, it’s more important than ever to take responsibility for your own career development. Being in a good position to keep learning and developing skills is a great advantage, whether you’re hoping for progression or for a change of career direction later on. If formal study is required, make sure the issue of study leave and responsibility for any course fee payments is clear.

The job itself

Do you know enough about what you’ll actually be doing day to day in the job? Will it provide enough variety and intellectual challenge? Is the level of responsibility about right, and how soon will that responsibility come? Is the job likely to be pressured, with lots of deadlines, and are you likely to enjoy that? Will the job allow you plenty of opportunities to do the things you enjoy doing?

The prospects

Think about the state of health of the prospective employer and/or its sector - is it expanding or contracting? Is the company profitable and does it have a good reputation? In an uncertain world, it may be better if a job offers a range of career development options, rather than leading into a narrow field. How marketable are you likely to be after two years experience?

The size of the employer

Consider the pros and cons of the size of employer.

Larger employers
Possible advantagesPossible disadvantages
 More training on offer  You may feel your contribution is not significant 
 Internal moves are possible  You might get 'stuck' in a department
 More recent graduates around, so better support/social   life  You might struggle with bureaucratic systems
Benefits and disadvantages of working with larger employers
Smaller employers
Possible advantagesPossible disadvantages
 You can gain a responsible position sooner  Often not much opportunity for formal training
 You feel like you're 'making a difference' more quickly  The peer group may be small, leading to feelings of isolation
 Opportunity for wider ranging experience  There may be little chance of internal moves
 May be less bureaucratic  
Benefits and disadvantages of working with larger employers


Your values

You should consider how well the job matches with your values. Do you admire the products or services of this employer? How do you feel about its environmental stance? Are there other ethical issues which might worry you? You won’t be happy working somewhere if there’s a fundamental misalignment here.

The culture of the employer

This may not be easy to define, but it includes things like whether or not the organisation is static or fluid, formal or informal. What sort of atmosphere is there in the workplace? What do you think of your prospective colleagues – do you think you would fit in? Would you like to go to the pub with those people? Will you have fun working there? Do you feel welcomed by the organisation?

Work/life balance

Many employers talk about 'work/life' balance. If this is important to you, you need to ensure that this is more than lip service. In some organisations there is a long hours culture with lots of unofficial overtime and weekend work. Are you happy with that, or would it cause you problems? Consider what your priorities are. Is it important for you to maintain regular social or sporting commitments outside of work? What about travelling away from home?


Think about your journey to work, the cost of living in the area and any likely advantages or disadvantages of the location. Satisfy yourself that you will be able to afford to live within a reasonable distance of the job and that you are likely to be happy doing so.

Investment banking

Dealing with INVESTMENT BANKING job offers - policy on offer deadlines

Because different banks operate different policies in terms of when they deal with applications, you may receive an offer of a job at any time from late autumn to early summer.

The following banks have endorsed a policy that allows applicants a minimum period of ten working days, from receipt of a written offer, to make up their mind, after which the offer may be withdrawn.

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Barclays Capital
  • Citigroup
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Goldman Sachs
  • JPMorgan
  • Morgan Stanley

If you have done a summer internship with the bank that is making the offer, you will already have had a significant period to decide whether or not you want to work there and so you should be given five working days from receipt of a written offer, after which the offer may be withdrawn. These banks also agree to keep job offers containing incentives, such as bonuses or tuition reimbursement, open in their entirety during this agreed period. We strongly recommend that applicants give the banks their decision as soon as possible,

Once you have accepted an offer, we strongly advise that you regard that as binding; do not make any further applications and withdraw from any that are pending.

The banks recognise that it is not in anyone’s interests to pressurise students into making a decision, so if you are genuinely undecided, and have other offers in the pipeline, you should discuss this with a careers consultant and with the HR department of the bank concerned. It is in everyone’s interest to make sure that there is a good fit between you and the organisation for whom you are going to work, and you will find that human resources staff approachable and understanding.

Do recognise that the banks have to fill vacancies, and that if you do not accept their job offer then they will be under time pressure to make the offer to other candidates.

You should under no circumstances exaggerate offers in order to try to negotiate a higher salary – remember that the investment banking community in London is close-knit, and graduate recruiters meet regularly to exchange information. Bear in mind that honestly and probity are key requirements for this industry.