Comparing job offers from multiple companies? Lucky you! Securing one job offer is exciting enough, never mind having two or three job offers on the table at the same time. Once the initial excitement has passed, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and some decision-making.
At this stage you may think the best option is the highest salary on offer. While salary is really important, it shouldn’t be the deal-breaker. However you are feeling, the best option is to take a step back and compare job offers in a logical and rational way.
In this article we provide some top tips for comparing job offers so you can make the right decision for you personally and professionally–with the ultimate goal of advancing your career in the right direction and being happy too!
Here are our top tips for comparing job offers.
Gather all the information you need
Consider the salary and any bonus options
Review benefits thoroughly
Compare the job to your ultimate career goals
Investigate the company
Factor in the commute (if any)
Trust your gut
Secure complete information
Ensure that you have received all the relevant information from the two or more companies you are comparing. This includes details of salary, bonuses, health insurance, additional benefits, performance expectations, and any company plans. If you don’t have this information then you won’t be able to make a full and informed decision.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are missing any information, as this will just reflect that you are interested in the role and making a careful decision. Better still, request the full job offer to be confirmed in writing so you have everything on paper.
Comparing job offers: salary and bonus
Comparing salaries will give you a good indication of whether you are being offered a reasonable salary for your skills, experience, and qualifications. Complete salary research on sites such as Payscale to find out what salaries other companies are offering for this type of work in your city/region. This will enable you to find out if the offer is competitive.
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Some companies may also offer a performance-related bonus or holiday bonus (usually a percentage of your salary) after you have been with the company for a certain period of time. Check how the companies compare in terms of bonus structure, as this could be a welcome top-up to your base salary.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate salary if your research finds that the salary offers are relatively low or if you have a higher level of experience than the job requires. While it may feel a bit uncomfortable, salary negotiations are a normal part of the application process.
Examine benefits on offer
Employee benefit packages are becoming more complicated than in the past when your salary and retirement plans were pretty much the full package. Employee benefits can be made up of a multitude of things, some of which are required by law, others that are industry standard, and some that are really great perks. Benefits can include:
Medical insurance (packages vary, but can include health, dental, and vision insurance)
Vacation / Paid Time Off (PTO)
Retirement plan (contributions/matching)
Flexible working option
Trust your gut
Consider your career goals
While salary, bonuses, and benefits are all important factors, it’s also a good idea to assess whether the job opportunity is aligned with your long-term career goals. During the interview process it’s a good idea to ask about growth opportunities available and any professional development programs on offer. This will enable you to assess whether the role offers the potential for advancement and whether the company prioritizes employee development.
Things to consider when comparing job offers: investigate the company
1. Consider work culture
Work culture relates to the behavior of employees and the general atmosphere within the company. It can be tricky to pin down at first, but the interview process offers a great opportunity to assess company culture.
Think about the experience you had in the interview. How well did you interact with the people you met? What was the working atmosphere like? Did you observe people collaborating in teams? Was there any evidence of team building events on the notice board? Picture whether you could see yourself fitting into the team and buying into the company culture.
For many of us, a large portion of our life will be spent at work. According to research by Gettysburg College, this equates to 90,000 hours at work–a third of your lifetime. It therefore makes sense to choose a workplace where you feel comfortable and are able to be at your personal and professional best.
2. Read company reviews
Along with the work culture, it’s also a good idea to do some research on the company itself. Check out employee and customer reviews online as this will give you an insight into the company’s reputation and what it is like to work there.
In terms of employee reviews, try to find people who have been in the role you’re considering or a similar role. This will give you specific insight in terms of responsibilities, management team make-up, and what reviewers liked or disliked about the job.
3. Consider the management team
It’s often said that people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses. If you met your potential manager in the interview process, then consider how well you got along and whether you built any rapport. You will be working closely with your manager every day, so it's important that you are able to have a strong working relationship.
Compare the commute
If your role will be office-based, then analyzing the commute the job requires is a good idea. Commuting can be the worst part of any job. If you are packed like a sardine on the train or stuck in traffic every day it can start to wear you down in terms of long commutes, higher travel costs, and negative work-life balance.
- Check out online maps and GPS apps or complete a practice run of the commute at the times you would be traveling to and from work. This will enable you to assess whether your commute becomes a deciding factor.
- Avoid any salary negotiations if the commute is going to negatively impact you in terms of time and money. Another option is to negotiate a hybrid working option to alleviate a commuting headache every day.
Trust your instincts when comparing job offers
Finally, it’s a good idea to listen to your intuition after evaluating the pros and cons of each job offer. If your gut is telling you something is off about a job offer, then don’t ignore it. Ask yourself if you have noticed anything of concern in the interview or in relation to the role, work culture, management team, or company.
One caveat here, don’t mistake intuition for fear. Sometimes a bad feeling can be related to fear of change or the unknown, rather than an intuitive feeling. It’s normal to feel some fear and apprehension when accepting a new job, but this will subside over time. Take a step back so you can view the situation rationally and distinguish between these two feelings.
Remember, your final choice should provide you with a competitive salary and benefits package, offer the opportunity to progress in your career, and (most importantly) make you happy.
Comparing job offers is an important step as the ultimate decision will have a major impact on both your personal and professional life.
Ensure you have complete information on the job offer and use this information to compare salary, bonus, and benefits.
Consider whether your career goals are aligned with the jobs on offer. Ask questions in the interview about advancement and training opportunities.
Examine work culture, company, and employee reviews. Consider whether you would work well with your line manager, and check your commute to the new job.
Finally, don’t overlook your gut instinct. If you have a strong intuition that a job offer is the right one for you, then go for it!