You’ve dedicated hours to perfecting your résumé and LinkedIn profile. You’ve spent more money than you’d like to admit on a new suit. And you’ve prepared for interviews to make sure the companies you applied for realize that you’re the candidate to hire. In short, it’s taken a long time for you to land a job. In this job market, any offer is something to celebrate. But what happens when you receive two job offers simultaneously? You may have heard the saying “Don’t take the first job offer you get.” This is great advice, because while you do need to pay bills, you don’t want to accept a job where you’re unlikely to be happy. Salary is only one factor you should look at when determining which offer to accept. Below, we lay out several factors to consider when choosing the job that’s right for you.
It’s tempting to look at salary alone when making your decision, but that’s just one of the benefits companies offer. Make sure your salary covers your expenses and you have enough to live on. If one salary is based partly on commission, how much do you need to sell in order to live comfortably? After you pay your bills and save for your future, the exact salary isn’t quite as important, so you’ll want to look at other factors before making your decision. Compare any signing or retention bonuses you may receive, too.
Benefits can be worth over 30% of your total compensation package and differ drastically between companies. Evaluate the benefits for both offers and determine which benefits you’re likely to use. Most companies offer medical and dental insurance, but do they offer eye care? Ask how much insurance will cost you and what your employer will contribute toward it. Vacation time, sick leave, profit sharing and wellness benefits should also be compared. And depending on your stage of life and other factors, certain benefits may end up being equally as important as salary, so think about what benefits you know you’ll need. For example, do you need health care coverage for just you, or do your children and spouse require it as well? Do you need a life insurance policy or plan to utilize daycare assistance?
If you’re thinking of going back to school, find out if either company has tuition reimbursement. Some companies offer to subsidize or pay for tuition fully, so if you were already planning on taking courses, this could save you a lot of money. And if you’re lucky, one of the companies might have a student loan repayment benefit through which the employer contributes money toward paying off your student loans.
You might think you’re too young to worry about a 401(k), but it’s essential for you to begin saving for retirement when you’re young. Some companies will match your contribution to your 401(k), so make sure you understand how much they contribute and find out how long you have to be with the company before you’re eligible for this benefit.
The Job Itself
This might be obvious, but make sure you’re fully informed about what your role would be at the companies that have extended you offers. You want to take a position that will add value to your career and ideally one that you’ll enjoy. Are there any professional conferences or courses you can attend that will further enhance your career? Jennifer Braganza, founder of Exponential Success, suggests being strategic. Take an opportunity that will give you the experience you need to get you closer to your goals in life. Even if the position doesn’t pay as well now, it may be worth taking the lower-paying job if it means opening the door to another job that pays more or is more in line with your long-term goals.
Try to determine if there’s any room for growth and how your performance will be evaluated. Braganza suggests finding out if the company promotes internally. Can you be promoted to something better in the future, or is this position the only one you could possibly hold at the company? Sometimes taking a job just to get your foot in the door is a good idea if promotion and movement within the company are feasible. Even if it’s not exactly what you want to do, you might be able to move into another position within the company that aligns more with your career goals and interests.
If you’ll be driving to work, think about the cost of car maintenance, insurance and gas. If you commute via bus or train, factor in the cost of tickets. Depending on where the job is located, you might be spending a lot of time and money on transportation. Time is often even more valuable than money, so determine how long your commute will be each day. If you have to drive during rush hour, will your commute take longer? Can you deal with rush hour traffic every day? You’ll likely be going to work five days a week, so it’s important to think about how long you’re willing and able to travel to get there.
The People You Work for – and With
Your supervisor will likely drastically influence how well you do your job and whether you enjoy it. In most cases, your supervisor is the ultimate authority on what you’ll be doing and how tasks are accomplished, so it’s important to know who that person is and what their leadership style is. Similarly, your coworkers will influence your experience as well. Ideally, you would have met your supervisor during your interview, but you might not be able to get to know that person or your coworkers prior to accepting an offer. Think about your interview. Did you click with the interviewers? If you met anyone else in the building (future coworkers, a receptionist, etc.), were they friendly? Could you see yourself working with them? It’s hard to think about all of this in advance, but your coworkers can really make or break your overall job experience.
Make an effort to understand the company culture. Reach out to current employees or check sites such as Glassdoor for employee reviews of the company. They can offer insight on leadership, how long the workday really is and worker turnover. You want to make sure your values align with the organization you’re with. Career Coach Marcia Merrill suggests researching the company online. This can shed light on culture as well as the reputation and stability of the company. Specifically, Merrill recommends that her clients look at current employees on company websites. Does the company employ a diverse group of people, with a range of backgrounds? This could indicate whether the company is accepting of everyone. Company culture has a big impact on job satisfaction, so you’ll want to make sure the culture is one you’ll fit into and thrive in.
Check to see if your company offers any additional perks. For example, do you get paid for volunteering? Are professional development courses paid for? Does the company offer a cash bonus to employees who refer new talent for open positions? Quicken Loans, for example, offers a variety of perks, including free parking in downtown Detroit and a range of discounts at local restaurants, fitness centers and shops.
If You’re Moving to a New City
Starting a new job is stressful enough, but moving to a new city to take a job can really add to your stress level. Compare relocation costs, and see if either of your potential employers will help with those costs. Relocating your entire life from one place to another is an emotional roller coaster and particularly expensive, especially if you’re not really sure about the job offer in the first place.
Also compare the cost of living between cities. You might be making more working in New York City than in Detroit, but the former is significantly more expensive. Looking at the cost of living will give you a realistic look at your expenses so you can determine how much disposable income you’ll have left.
Ideally, looking at these factors will give you a definitive answer as to which offer is right for you. If you truly can’t decide, remember this quote:
“When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.”
– Unknown Author
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