How To Evaluate A Job Offer Objectively

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The days when you stayed in one company for your entire career are long gone.

According to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs held in a lifetime was around twelve (12!). Whether by choice or not, most of us will find ourselves transitioning from one company to another several times in our career. 

A new job is often the right move for your career growth and ultimate success, but just because you receive a job offer doesn’t mean you should take it.

Knowing how to evaluate a job offer objectively is a crucial skill as you move forward in your career. It’s usually better to stay where you are for a little while longer than to take the wrong job. 

How To Evaluate Your Job Offers Objectively

Man overwhelmed by job offers because he doesn't know how to evaluate a job offer objectively

Be Prepared Before You Start Job Hunting 

The key to effectively evaluating a job offer is to plan ahead. 

First, try to stay employed while job hunting (if at all possible). You are in a much better position to wait for the right job offer if you aren’t worried about your income.

 Additionally, while it’s more important to be employable than employed, there is still a positive bias toward someone currently employed. 

Although this bias can seem irrational, it’s human nature to want what’s in demand. That’s why people tend to flock to the most popular movies, buy the books on the best-seller rack at the bookstore, and to look twice at merchandise they’ve seen others use or wear.

By contrast, if you seem needy and easy to get, people will be less eager to hire you and more reluctant to make a handsome salary offer. 

As James Crowe, CEO of Level 3 Communications, says, “We want people who are in demand. They generally have to walk away from money. Then we will do what is appropriate [to get them].” 

Having a current job while you search for your next job enhances your personal brand as a person who is in demand.

Second, know exactly what you are looking for in a new job. If you already have a clear idea of what you want, you won’t be as tempted by a job that doesn’t meet your criteria.

Know exactly what you are looking for in a new job. If you already have a clear idea of what you want, you won’t be as tempted by a job that doesn’t meet your criteria. How To Evaluate A Job Offer Objectively Click To Tweet

Create a Template For Evaluating A Job Offer

Before you start getting job offers, write a list of all the factors about a job that are important to you. List them down the left side of the page. Things like:

  • title
  • money
  • commute
  • potential for advancement
  • number of people to manage
  • budget size
  • flexibility of schedule
  • outside learning opportunities
  • dress code
  • culture
  • global reach
  • foreign assignment potential
  • etc., etc.

List every factor you might possibly consider. If necessary, give yourself a day or two to brainstorm and “imagine the future.”

Then rank each factor from 1-10 in terms of importance to you (with 10 being the most important). 

You can then take these factors and create a template so that you are in a position to compare each job offer against your list. (See example below)

Title (7)Money (7)Commute (5)Culture (10)Dress Code (9)
Company 1869104
Company 249168
Company 365688

For example one offer has the best “9” money but a “3” in culture when culture is a “10’ in the original ranking.

Use your template to evaluate every job offer before you get emotionally involved in accepting it.

Comparing the job offers you receive to the values that most matter to you will help you avoid career regret.

Ask Yourself If You See Any Of These 13 Red Flags

When you are looking for a job and get an offer, your excitement can cause you to overlook some red flags. Using the job offer template will help, but you also need to take a hard look at the job and company.

 Even if you’re at a time of near-desperation, slow down and honestly ask yourself (and answer) the questions below.  

You don’t want to be looking for another job again, in the near future because this one didn’t live up to your expectations.  (You can also ask these questions about your current job, too.)

  1. Will this position broaden my experience, expose me to new areas, and teach me things I’ll need in the future?
  2. Is the management philosophy in sync with my own?
  3. Is it a stable management time for the company?
  4. Would I want to work here for the rest of my life – or even five years?
  5. What happened to my predecessor?
  6. Is this a significant promotion?
  7. Is the compensation satisfactory? Will it be satisfactory in two years?
  8. Can I contribute substantially to the company in this position?
  9. Is there a realistic opportunity for advancement?
  10. Is the job interesting and challenging?
  11. Is the work in a geographically desirable area including community, cultural, and religious organizations?
  12. Is the industry expanding or retrenching?
  13. Is the company growing fast or at least faster than competitors?

If you answer more than five with “no,” better rethink your decision. It’s better to turn it down and be available for when the right one comes along.

Take Time To Sleep On The Offer 

If you do decide that the job is a good fit for you, you still have one more (often difficult) step to go – the salary offer. 

Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, compensation negotiations are expected and are your responsibility. 

According to a survey of three hundred twenty-four companies by the Society for Human Resources Managers (SHRM) ninety percent of companies are flexible about negotiating salaries with applicants.

By contrast, only fifty-five percent of applicants tried to negotiates higher salaries according to a survey by Robert Half.

Chances are, you’re doing yourself a disservice by jumping on a salary offer right away, even if it’s the job you want.

Whenever you receive a compensation offer, slow down, take a deep breath, and ask for time to think about it. 

Sleeping on the offer before you accept, decline, or reopen negotiations will benefit you in three ways.

  1. It gives you the opportunity to think about the deal and consider each aspect of the package in relation to the whole.
  2. It gives you a chance to think of new and creative ways of bridging whatever gap may exist between you and your prospective employer.
  3. It permits you to discuss the offer with your spouse, partner, best friend, or career mentor.

In addition, acting a little hard to get rather than being overly eager has a way of increasing your value in the company’s eyes, thereby enhancing whatever leverage you already enjoy. 

Don’t let anyone pressure you to decide immediately, but set a reasonable deadline for responding. Twenty-four hours is minimal; forty-eight hours to seventy-two hours is fairly common.

Whenever you receive a compensation offer, slow down, take a deep breath, and ask for time to think about it.  How To Evaluate A Job Offer Objectively Click To Tweet

Don’t Be Afraid To Wait For The Right Job

Your career progress is not just dependent upon how good of a job you do, but on how well you manage it. You are the CEO of your life and career. It’s up to you to make sure you are accepting a job offer for a company that is worth your time and energy at a time when you can contribute to their success.

No one else can make these choices for you, but with the right tools, a little objectivity, and some time to think critically, you can make the right next step in your career.

If you’re job hunting or experiencing any other career transition, contact me to discuss coaching, or if you have a group of emerging leaders, for a speaking engagement.

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