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By Kathryn Pins
Congratulations! You got a job offer -- or two! After all that time updating your LinkedIn profile, searching the internet for openings and prepping for interviews, you’re nearing the finish line. You still have the big task of comparing your current position to the new one, or if you’re very lucky, you need to compare competing job offers.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s not always about the money,” and that can be true about a potential professional change as well. In fact, 79 percent of Americans would take a pay cut to work for a more “just” company, according to the Washington Post, and 58 percent of us would also take a pay cut for more vacation time, according to USA Today.
With those stats in mind, here are some things to consider in addition to salary to help you choose the best job for you.
During your interview process, you learned a ton about the job and the workplace environment. Let’s take a look at the job factors to consider.
Salary and sign-on bonus: This wouldn’t be the Money Mentor blog if we didn’t reflect on salary and signing bonuses. Will the pay raise open you up to new opportunities? How much of a positive impact will this salary make in your day-to-day? Did they give you what you were asking for? Is there an opportunity to negotiate for more?
Tuition reimbursement: If you’re considering going back to school or are already getting a degree, a tuition reimbursement program can be a huge plus. When an employer lessens the financial burden of tuition, you could be less stressed and more excited about your career advancement. A reimbursement program can feel like a pay raise! Plus, it will help you answer the question: How will I pay for grad school?
Hours, commute time and work-from-home opportunity: Time is money, so you should consider whether or not a future employer would be flexible with your time. How long will you be spending on the road or on the train? Will you be able to work from home a certain number of days a week? Do they have a strict 9 a.m. start time, or can you flex your hours depending on other commitments?
Paid time off: We all need time off. The number of vacation days that comes with a job offer can make a big difference, especially if it is significantly higher than another offer. How many vacation days do you take at your current position? Will this new position allow you to take more days?
The potential for growth: People who feel like they’re bettering themselves and their organization tend to enjoy their work more. Would you be able to personally grow your skills at one place over the other? Is there room for advancement within the organization? Is this job a lateral move from your previous job or a promotion? Where is the company heading? Will the entire organization grow with you? Even ask yourself: is this profession growing rapidly?
Company values, reputation and viability: As I mentioned above, people want to work for a “just” company. An organization that is ethical and fair is usually a good place to work. We also like to work hard for things we believe in. Will you be pushing a product or service that is against your values? Have there been any positive or negative stories about your future company in the news? Is it a startup with a high risk of failure or an established company in a growing industry? What do their financials look like? Is the company willing to evolve?
Employee impressions and culture: If you reflect on your in-person interview, you may be surprised how many cues you picked up. Did the people you interviewed with seem overwhelmed, pressed for time and stressed out? Did you notice any gossip talk or were people genuinely happy interacting with other coworkers? Does the culture encourage its employees to try new things or is it afraid of failure? If you notice anything that stood out (positive or negative), definitely take note.
Health insurance and other benefits: You probably learned about a company’s benefits when you had a conversation with the HR rep. Many of these benefits will help your bottom line. Gym membership, day care services and dental and medical insurance can really help your wallet and well-being. You may even be able to quantify these benefits when you are making your comparison to another job.
Overall Impressions: What does your gut tell you about the job? Did you feel comfortable? Are you excited about starting a position? Do you feel you can add value?
Now that you know what you should look at when comparing job opportunities, you can start prioritizing. I find that making a list for both positions helps for a side-by-side comparison. Like many parts of the job search process, comparing jobs requires some self-reflection. Think about what really matters to you. Do you value a flexible schedule more than opportunities for advancement? Are your potential coworkers worth a longer commute? Some people may want a job at a new company because the risk can lead to a huge reward while others prefer stability and organization. Turning to key people for advice can also help. Asked a loved one what kind of environment or job they see you in.
Most importantly, before you make a decision, sleep on it. Put away your list and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. If you find that you are purposely slanting a list toward a job opportunity (as I tend to do), trust your instincts.
Having to compare competing job offers or an old position to a new one is a great problem to have. Take the time to look at the complete offer and do some self-reflection. Once you make a decision, dive right in and take in these tips on how to negotiate your salary.
Other Useful Career Tips:
How much money do I need to start a business?
9 of the fastest-growing professions to help you choose a career path
Grad School: Full-time vs. Part-time
9 tips to better brand yourself on LinkedIn
Kathryn Pins is a marketing content specialist at Alliant. She’s passionate about finding and communicating meaningful financial information with Money Mentor readers. Kathryn is a saver who gets more excited about certificates and her Roth IRA than shopping. When she does spend her earnings, it’s on furthering her education, travel, unique experiences, and loved ones.