How to Analyze a New Job Offer


You got the job – congratulations! Going through an application process is never easy, and when you get an offer letter, it can be emotional – and give you a sense of validation. 

Whether you’ve just landed the job of your dreams, or you’re switching career paths and excited for a new opportunity to rebuild, it can be challenging to hit “pause” and evaluate your offer before accepting. However, as exciting as your new opportunity is, it’s important to take a step back. First, you should consider the financial (and non-financial) pros and cons of your offer before taking the leap.

The Financial Side of a New Job Offer

When you take a closer look at your new job offer, it’s easy to start with something tangible – the dollars and cents. There are a few pieces of a job offer that impact your personal finances, and they’re all equally important. 

Your Income

It’s easy to get swept away by the annual salary listed in a job offer, but that’s not going to be your actual take-home pay. Before you accept, you’ll need to know whether or not the salary the hiring manager is offering you is going to meet your needs, and help you achieve your other financial and lifestyle goals. You might want to think about how an increased income will impact your taxes, or whether or not there are additional income-earning opportunities (like bonuses or stock options) available. 

Employee Benefits

If you’ve been a full-time employee at your current company for a while, you may take some of your employee benefits for granted. For example, when your insurance coverage stays consistent for a long period of time, you might not think about how low copays or specific prescription coverage impacts your budget. 

Don’t stop at asking your employer about health insurance coverage, either. Make sure that the benefits you’ll receive in your new role, from daycare or commuting stipends to financial planning support, are going to meet your needs.

Retirement Savings Options

How will your new employer help you to save for retirement? Whether they offer a company match through a 401(k) or another retirement plan or they have a pension in place, understand what they offer to their employees so that you can start taking advantage of saving options as soon as you start.

New or Additional Costs

Sometimes your dream job comes with a few new or additional costs. For example, if your new job is moving you to a new city in California from your midwestern hometown, you’re going to face different and additional costs – even if you’re thrilled with the change of pace. Be cognizant of the cost to commute to and from your new job, or the average price of rent or buying a home in a new area. 

Even if you’re not relocating for your new job, there could still be cost changes for your family. Different hours may mean adjusted childcare needs, or working in a different part of town may require you to drive and pay for parking rather than take public transportation. 

Continuing Education

What is your potential new employer doing to help you grow in your role and your career? Continuing education is expensive to pay for yourself. If your employer is willing to front the cost of going back to school, attending conferences, or furthering your human capital, that’s a big benefit that can’t be ignored. Not only will it positively impact you in your new role, but it could also benefit you in your future career, as well.

The Non-Financial Side of a New Job Offer

Even if all of the numbers add up, and this is an incredible financial opportunity for you and your family, it’s important to make sure that your new job offer is still an ideal fit when you look at the non-financial side of your new employer. 

Company Mission or Atmosphere

This might be tough to determine if you’ve only seen the positive side of the business through your application and interview process. It might be useful to request to job shadow for a day, or even half a day, before accepting the offer. This can give you a feel for what the corporate atmosphere might be like, and how an average day at work could look. 

If the position you’ve applied for is remote, or if it’s not possible for you to job shadow for a day, you can do two things:

1. Ask if there are employees who would be on your team who would be willing to speak with you. Interviewing them about their experience, and the pros and cons of the job, can offer some insight. 
2. Ask the hiring manager, or your future boss, what their goals are for the company. Knowing where they want to grow to, and how your role will help further their mission, can give you a sense for not only what your day-to-day might look like, but what big-picture decisions you can expect down the road.

Job Description and Expectations

If you’ve received an offer, the organization you’ve applied to obviously thinks you fit their needs – which is great! What’s not so great is that many companies fail to clearly outline job roles and expectations during the hiring process. They may know what type of expertise they want you to bring to the table, or duties they want you to fulfill, but haven’t communicated those in their job description or interviews. 

The last thing you want is to walk into a new job that you’re super excited about, only to realize that your day-to-day is going to look significantly different than you had imagined. Even worse, you don’t want to accept this new job offer if you aren’t able to meet the company’s expectations. For example, if they expect you to be 100% familiar with a software or business process that you’ve never practiced, you may need to speak up and request training as part of your onboarding.

Career Path Options

Even if this role is your dream job, you probably won’t be satisfied in this role for forever. Most Workable Wealth readers are high-achievers, and that means that you’ll be looking for opportunities to continue your education and further your career over the next several years. If your career path wasn’t already discussed in the interview, now’s the time to ask. You don’t need to look for a clearly built promotion or career path process – but the company who’s offered you a job should have some idea of how you can grow in your new role, financially and professionally.

Vacation Time and Work/Life Balance Priorities

This can be an awkward topic to tackle, but it’s just as important as salary negotiation! If your job offer doesn’t come with the type of time off, or work/life balance flexibility you want or need, don’t be afraid to speak up. A dream job might be incredibly fulfilling, but without the flexibility, you need in your personal life, you may end up unhappy in the long run. 

Take some time to think about what sort of vacation time or schedule flexibility will support your lifestyle goals or your family’s needs. If you’re going to negotiate for either a more flexible schedule, or different vacation time benefits, it can help to approach your future employer with clear reasoning behind your request.

Is the Job Right For You?

Taking the time to analyze a new job offer can help you make sure you’re signing on for a role that will be financially beneficial and personally fulfilling. Keep in mind that you won’t have an unlimited amount of time to review the job offer, so prioritize asking questions, or requesting changes to the offer, within a few days or a week of receiving your offer letter. 

Want help analyzing your job offer, or knowing what to look for in an offer while you’re applying for new jobs? Schedule your free, 30-minute consultation today

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP® is an author, speaker, and financial coach who takes a fun, no-nonsense approach in working with individuals and couples across the country, helping them make smart choices with their money.

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