Comparing Job Offers

With salaries squeezed, more and more companies are offering benefits such as unlimited vacation, 401K matching and fully paid medical and dental. As this recent Mashable.com article points out, the non-monetary benefits can make up for a less than stellar salary. Some employers let employees bank vacation time and pay out for unused days at the end of the year.

“A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive for Ask.com shows just how important abundant vacation time is to workers, even if they’re not using it: More than a third of people surveyed said unlimited paid time off would encourage them to take or keep a job (34%),” according to this recent Mashable.com article.  “Although only 38% of workers surveyed actually take all their paid time off (PTO) days.”

If you’re lucky enough to get two offers or are weighing whether or not you should leave your current position for another job, ask yourself the following:

  • What does the whole fiscal package looks like when comparing job offers. Put a dollar value on days off (divide the salary by 52 weeks and again by 40 to get your rough, pre-tax hourly rate. Then times that number by 8 (hours) to get your rough, pre-tax daily rate)
  • What is the company offering for medical, dental and vision?
  • Are there other perks (cell phone, mileage, etc.)?

This information will let you better compare apples to apples. However, just because one offer is fiscally better, is the environment better? What about the actual job duties? Your co-workers? Potential boss?

Even if the perks are great, will you actually be able to take those unlimited days? As mentioned above, not all employees can use the great vacation benefits.

It’s a gamble either way, but with as much information as you can get, you should feel comfortable with your choice.

More: read why you should use your vacation time.

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Don’t be afraid to negotiate

If you are like most recent graduates or job seekers, you’re thrilled to get a job offer. So thrilled you barely read through the details before becoming giddy. Then you get to the salary and it’s a little lower than you’d hoped and the benefits could be better.

Don’t fret, you are expected to negotiate. “Even in tough times, most companies expect you to negotiate,” according to The Galima Group, a partner of The Berkeley Center for Executive Development at UC Berkeley. Not to mention, when you respectfully negotiate, you demonstrate the business skills the company want you to employ on the job, this article from Forbes states.

As noted in The Galima Group post, look for subtle hints that the hiring manager is open to negotiation. “For example, many managers may say, ‘why don’t you look over the offer and call me if you have any questions’.”

An offer typically includes more than just the paycheck. Including:

  • Signing bonus
  • Vacation, sick days, personal days
  • Maternity / family leave
  • Flex-time or ability to telecommute
  • Professional training (continuing education, conference attendance, etc.)
  • Job sharing
  • Start date
  • Stock options
  • Performance bonuses
  • Accelerated review time with potential salary increase
  • Job duties
  • Company car
  • Company credit card
  • Expense accounts

You’ll want to first ask yourself what are the top three or five things to you. It’s ok if money is at the top or on the list!

“As long as you act respectfully, you have nothing to lose by asking what the company can do to bring you closer to your desired salary,” according to this Career Builder article.