Evaluating job offers
Career Snapshot - Evaluating Job Offers
Evaluating job offers or having to choose between more than one job, requires considering a range of different factors and will be different for everyone.
Get started by watching the Career Snapshot - Evaluating Job Offers video and then use the sections and links below for further support. Remember to be open and honest with all employers at all times, if you can, so that you appear professional. Even if you decide you do not want their job, you may end up working with them in the future.
Job Offers Tabs
Deciding to accept a job or having to choose between more that job is complicated. Below are some tips to get you started:
- Timeframes are important. An employer will often tell you when they would like a response which could be anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Remember, employers need to get back to unsuccessful candidates and can’t do this until they hear from you. They will also need to check your references. If you genuinely need more time to decide, do negotiate this with the employer. Asking an employer to wait for a month until you hear back from other potential jobs may not be realistic.
- Be honest with employers and keep communicating with them.
- Consider the consequences of reneging (withdrawing) from a position once you’ve accepted an offer. While it is often possible to do this, it is very unprofessional and employers do talk to each other so you could damage your future prospects of working or collaborating with organisations.
- Make sure you have sufficient information when trying to make up your mind. You can ask prospective employers for more information.
- Think back to what originally attracted you to that job. Did it align with your values and interests? Revisit the Plan your career section of our website to refresh yourself if necessary.
- Consider what else you will learn from this job. Who will you meet? What other experiences might you be exposed to? Could this job be a step to the career you are really interested in?
- You will have more than one job in your lifetime and this is just your first so you can move on it if it turns out not to be right.
- Use the list of questions provided on the what to consider tab of this page to help you focus your thinking.
What to consider
Here is a list of common elements to consider with a series of questions to ask yourself when you are evaluating offers. Not all of them will be important to you so think about what your main priorities are in your new job.
The salary and benefits package
The salary is often the first element you will consider when trying to decide between jobs. While money is important, consider what else you will get from the organisation.
- How much annual leave do you get per year? Is there a bonus scheme? Will they pay for you to relocate or have a company car? What other benefits do you get (e.g. private health care insurance, travel or clothing allowances, subsidised meals, an employee discount scheme, gym membership etc.)
- How much tax will you pay on your salary? Tax rates differ depending on what country you are in but be sure to calculate what your actual take home pay will be.
- How quickly will your salary increase? Do you get an annual pay award? Will you need to show how well you have achieved to get your pay increase or bonus? In public sector jobs this information is easily found online however within the private sector you will need to ask.
The job itself
Think back to how you answered the questions 'why do you want this job?' and 'what first attracted you to the role?' at your interview. Now consider what you have learnt about the job during your recruitment process.
- Do you understand what you will actually be doing on a day-to-day basis and is it something you will find interesting, enjoyable and stimulating?
- Does the job itself fit with your values and what you know about yourself. Revisit Self reflection in our Plan your career section to recap this.
- Does it feel right? This is a harder question to evaluate using hard evidence but often trusting how you feel about a job is a good element to consider in decision making.
Training and networking opportunities
Think about how this job will help you progress to your next job. Most companies offer training for the role that you are being employed to do but what other training opportunities will you get?
- Is there a professional qualification related to the job you are doing? Will the company fund and give you study leave to achieve this?
- Are there opportunities to do other forms of training or study such as a staff development or continuing professional development team where you can get access to extra opportunities?
- Who will you get a chance to network with both inside and outside the company? Can you attend conferences or trade fairs to make new connections in your industry?
Think about the state of health of the prospective employer and/or the industry they work in and think about where this first job will lead you.
- Is the industry expanding or contracting? Are there likely to be more or less jobs in your field in the next two to five years? This is always quite difficult to evaluate so go back to How to research job sectors and occupations if you need to.
- Is the company profitable and stable? This may or may not be of a concern to you as you might be applying to start-ups where while there is a risk, there are many exciting other factors that may outweigh this.
- Where might your job lead? What could your next job be, either inside this company or with a new company? And how will this job help you get there? What have other people that have had your job gone on to achieve?
The culture of the employer
This may not be easy to define however think about how well you think you will fit in with your future team mates and how comfortable you will feel going to work.
- What sort of atmosphere is there in the workplace? Is it formal or informal? Does that fit with your preferred style? Does the size of the employer suit you?
- 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?
- Does the company actively do things to help its employees fit in? Is there a planned induction so you can meet and understand the organisation? Are there staff social events? Or other informal ways for you make friends such as communal tea rooms or lunch areas?
Many employers talk about 'work/life' balance so it’s worth investigating how they actually implement this in their organisations.
- Are there standard office hours or hours you are expected to be logged on? How flexible are the working patterns? Is there any weekend work expected?
- How is overtime compensated? Do you get paid for it? Are you able to take time in lieu (TOIL)? Or is it just expected as part of your contract?
- How often might you need to travel for your job? How will this impact any commitments you have in your life both now and in the future?
Often you may need to relocate to an area or even country you may not be familiar with.
- How much is the cost of living in your area? Will your salary allow you to live the life you want?
- How often do you need to go into the office and how will you make this journey? Is there public transport and if so, how much will that cost? Will you need a car and are there any parking costs?
- How long will it take you travel to work? Will this impact on your lifestyle?
- How close are you to friends, family and other support networks you have? Who will help you if needed?