The current job market clearly tilts in favor of the job seeker. In many industries, there are more jobs than qualified people to work them. For some of those hard-to-fill positions, there are talent wars between top companies.
Bottom line: It’s a great time to be a job seeker. So great that you might find yourself facing multiple offers at once. Count your lucky stars because that is a far cry from the days of the Great Recession. However, this blessing is not without a downside.
It’s important to approach the decision about the next step of your career carefully. Today’s companies are vying hard for talent, and that might mean doubling down with impressive salaries and sign-on bonuses. Is the one with the biggest number the winner?
A large sum might catch your eye, but it doesn’t necessarily satisfy the soul. There’s a lot to consider to ensure you’re taking your career in the right direction, and while money is certainly a factor, it’s something you should consider last.
Here are seven things you should consider when comparing job offers before factoring in salary:
Advancement opportunity: Note how each job fits into your long-term goals. Will you be exposed to new people, ideas and innovations that enhance your skill set and help you climb the career ladder?
Benefits: Dig into the benefits package and analyze offerings like PTO, retirement planning, health coverage and extras like subsidized child care or paid parking.
Commute: If a big raise means you’ll be on the road facing gridlock for three hours a day, it might not be worthwhile. It’s not just your time in question, but also the cost associated with fuel and vehicle maintenance.
Flexibility: Work-life balance consistently rates high as a key factor for job satisfaction. Which opportunities offer flexible benefits like telecommuting or time off specifically for family events?
Culture: You want to be a good fit for the company culture, and likewise, you want the company culture to be a good fit for you. Ask probing interview questions about culture and observe culture in action when in the building.
People: Meeting a few people a handful of times won’t give you a true picture of what your colleagues are like, but it can give you a gut feeling. If that feeling is off, there’s probably a reason for it.
Company stability: How successful is the company and what is its vision for the future? Look at earnings, if available, so you don’t jump on a sinking ship.
Money: After you consider all these things, you might have a clear winner, but before making a final decision, see how the money stacks up.
Remember, if you’re facing multiple job offers, you can negotiate strategically using one offer against another. For example, if the company you like best has better benefits but a lower salary, you can graciously thank them for the offer but note that another company is also interested in you at a higher salary. You can stress your interest in this opportunity as your first choice, but inquire if increasing salary to match their offer would be something they could do. You might be surprised when they say yes.