3 steps to thoroughly evaluate a job offer

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News of a job offer is exhilarating, especially today, when competition is tight in nearly every field. You may feel pressured to accept the offer instantly, but it’s a better idea to take time to think it over carefully and do your homework. “Most people interview for a job looking to get hired,” says Evan Mayer, a Boca Raton, Florida-based vice president and financial adviser with SunTrust Investment Services. “But they forget that they should be interviewing the company too.”

After the initial excitement wears off, however, you should have questions about what the new position will mean for your finances and your personal satisfaction. Consider the following three steps, which can help you be confident in whatever decision you make:

Compare the benefits

The new position may pay more in wages than your current job, but if the benefits plan is stingy, switching jobs could cost you money. Mayer suggests checking whether the health plan offers comprehensive coverage for you and your family, and how the 401(k) or pension plan compares to what you have now. Also weigh how policies on paid sick leave, family leave and vacation time might affect you and your loved ones. The new job doesn’t have to be better across all criteria—just the ones most important to you.

Talk to current employees

Ask to interview employees who would be your co-workers. This is one of the best ways to get a sense of your future work environment, according to Mayer. Find out how management works with employees in your position, how departments within the company communicate with one another and how your department is viewed by the rest of the company. If your work won’t be valued, you should think twice about taking the job. “We tend to focus on the positives when looking at a job offer,” Mayer says. “It’s important to ask other employees, what are the negatives of working here?”

Look at the long term

Always keep your long-term objectives top-of-mind. Your offer may be for an ideal position with a higher salary than your current one, but if there isn’t room for advancement at the company, it may not be such a perfect fit after a year or two. Having more opportunities for promotion at your current job may tilt the odds toward staying put. Remember also that much of your day-to-day satisfaction, and your ability to work toward your long-term goals, will depend on how you work with your boss and others in management. “Any good manager will look out for the employee’s best interests alongside those of the company.” Mayer says.

Ultimately, the decision about a particular job offer should be based on whether or not the position will be rewarding—personally as well as financially. “You can go anywhere that will pay you a lot of money,” Mayer says, “but if you’re not going to be happy, it’s not going to be a good move.”

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