Congratulations, after months of job search you've found yourself with a new problem on your hands: comparing job offers. If the salaries and roles are similar, it can be difficult to know which new potential employer will be the right fit. Here are some things to consider.
Evaluate The Benefits Package
Benefits can easily make up for the difference between two salary offers. Compensation packages range in what they cover, so make sure you full understand what is included.
The most common benefit employees consider is health insurance, but here is a list of other popular benefits.
Questions To Ask About Employment Benefits:
What does their health insurance coverage look like? Make sure you understand how expensive your health insurance is relative to your co-pays and deductibles?
Will you have dental and vision insurance?
Does your company offer a 401(k) plan? What about matching contributions?
What is the annual allocation of paid vacation time?
Are you eligible for bonuses, stocks, or commissions?
Do they offer tuition assistance?
Are there other unique offers in the package, like life insurance or unemployment insurance?
Compare The Commutes
Traffic stinks. You might think that driving an extra hour a day is worth it for the higher salary, but the truth is that it will quickly take a toll. Not just on your car, but also on you.
Stick with me here; Pretend your new salary is $70,000. That means you make roughly $35 an hour. An hour a day stuck in the car is $175 worth of your time ($700 a month) wasted.
Now consider the toll on your car in the form of fuel and maintenance. If you go through a tank of gas a week, that is another $25-45 a week.
Finally, there is the mental toll. Sitting in your car is stressful. Every city has the worst drivers in the country and they seem to come out during rush hour. A recent Gallup report linked longer commutes with higher levels of obesity, cholesterol, pain, fatigue, and anxiety.
Understand Career Growth Potential
If you don't want to search for a job again in a couple years, it is important to understand the future career potential. To what extent does the company seem interested in helping your career development? For example, does it offer tuition reimbursement or in-house training opportunities? Are there clear career pathways for you to advance down?
Robust job training programs say a lot about an employer's willingness to invest in you. It shows they see you as an asset and want you to be successful. If you are starting a new career, this might carry more weight with you. Exposure to additional certifications and experience can fast track your career opportunities.
Consider Your Future Co-Workers.
We spend more time with our co-workers than with our family and our office can begin to feel like a second home. It's important that you enjoy being there.
There are several ways you can get a feel for the company before you even submit a job application.
1. Look at reviews on job sites from past and current employees. Do a keyword search for phrases that seem like warning signs. Some of those terms might be "unfair" or "work life balance." Remember to do the same for positive phrases like "best job."
2. Ask your friends if they know anyone who works/has worked there.
3. Pay attention when you tour the office. Take note of people's desks and decorations on the wall. Do people feel comfortable expressing themselves?
4. Check out the companies "About" section on their website. Do they put an emphasis on culture and their employees?
5. Do a search to see if there is any publicity around the company. Have they been recognized as a "Best Place To Work" in the community?
6. Look at the LinkedIn profile of former employees. How long did they stay with the company? Search the company's name in the "past companies" section. If you see many people leaving within a year, consider reaching out and asking why.
Having a strong culture doesn't mean it is the right culture for you. I'm an introvert, so if a company has weekly happy hours and attending is important for advancement... that will be torture. However, others might see that aspect as the best part of the job.
A strong culture that you hate is worse than no culture. Remember, the interview process is a chance for you to see if you think you might like working here. Some interview questions to ask the employer are:
How long have you been employed here? (The longer, the better.)
What is your favorite aspect of working here? (Listen for cultural aspects that align with what you enjoy.)
How many job openings does the company currently have? (Unless they are in a growth stage, a lot of openings can be a bad sign.)
Are you currently in the role you were first hired for? (This should let you know if the company hires internally and if there is upward mobility.)
Do they have much reemployment? (People have left, but chosen to come back.)
Pay attention to the personalities and demeanor of the people who interview you. Are they happy? Do they take a real interest in you as a person? These are your potential colleagues, so while they are undoubtedly putting their best foot forward, consider how well you will get along.
Of course, salary will always be a factor when it comes to selecting employment that isn't you "dream job." To know if you're being fairly compensated, use an online resource like Glassdoor to research salary information. You should look up how this role gets paid at other companies and salary ranges at the company you're considering. Remember to negotiate. Everything is negotiable and most prospective employers expect you to come back with a counter offer. The very fact that you have the other job offer gives you some leverage in the conversation. Salary might be the obvious place to start, but employers might have more wiggle room in other areas. For example, could you negotiate more work from home time or some additional job training? If you need help, check out or post on the negotiation process.