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 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 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 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.

Should You Turn Down a second Job Interview?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally for Brazeen Careerist, where I am lucky enough to be a guest blogger. If you haven’t checked out the site, I highly recommend it.

There are lots of articles about turning down job offers, like this excellent one from Penelope Trunk and this useful article from U.S. New’s Money section.

But what about the step before the job offer? Specifically, what about a second interview?

According to this guide for second interviews from Florida State University, if you are called back for a second interview you likely have a 50 percent chance of receiving an offer. However, there are several instances where it might be in your best interest not to go through with the second interview.

For example, here are some reasons you might want to decline a second interview:

  • You don’t think you would be a good fit for the position. Either because you’re not qualified or are over qualified and would be bored.
  • You don’t like the culture. The company might be too formal or too relaxed for you. If you know what kind of atmosphere you thrive best in, don’t try to force yourself into something different.
  • You have a bad feeling about your boss. As the U.S. News article points out, people leave bosses not jobs and if the manager is not someone you think you can work with, don’t fool yourself into thinking you could.
  • You research the cost of living n the area and aren’t willing to relocate.

But you should certainly consider going to the second interview if:

  • You glossed over or did not discuss salary in earlier interviews. Unless you’ve spoken about the specifics in the first interview, the salary range might be more than you originally thought.
  • You didn’t spend time reviewing the benefits, especially because they’re not always set in stone. Often things like title, training, conference attendance, work environment (example: ability to telecommute), paid time off, sign on bonus are more negotiable than salary. “Employers who want you might offer a ‘sign-on’ bonus that you can apply toward COBRA payments, college application fees or a nanny’s salary. Some bosses agree to waive the 90-day waiting period to put your name on the current health plan’s rolls,” Robert Kneip, president and CEO of employer staffing company The Oasis Group, told
  • You have another offer pending. What if the offer doesn’t come through? The old adage, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” applies.

Only you can decide if declining a second interview is in your best interest. But if you’re sitting on the fence, it is probably a good idea to go ahead and go through the second interview. You never know what might happen.

As career blogger/former recruiter Carl Mueller writes on his blog: “If there is even a remote chance that the company and job might interest you, it can be in your best interest to attend the interview anyways. I’ve seen cases where a person goes to interview for one job and then ends up getting hired for a different position. So if you don’t think you are really interested in the job after the first interview, you could attend the second one to see what transpires and to see if there are other options not yet presented to you.”

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.