Make a pros and cons list.
You know how it’s done — two columns side-by-side. When you have everything down on paper, it is much easier to review all the elements (see below for a list of considerations).
Talk it over with a respected colleague/mentor.
It’s valuable to discuss your options with someone who is in the same industry and can understand the potential of each opportunity. Also, this person has your best interests at heart and will be able to give you objective advice and recommendations.
Listen to your intuition.
Sometimes the best advice comes from deep in your gut. If you feel that an opportunity is “just not right”, listen to your feelings. Try to identify where your unease is coming from and question whether or not it can be changed. If it’s the salary that bothers you, try to re-negotiate. If it’s the manager that bothers you, ask yourself if you really want to work with that person every day?
Weighing your Offers
There are several elements to consider when weighing one job opportunity over another. Below is a list of considerations that top our list:
Will you have your own office or cubicle or are you sharing space with someone else? Is the space conducive to a positive working environment? Can you relax? Does it provide some privacy?
Do the people in the company seem like people you could hang out with? Do they seem interested in you and give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? Do you respect their professional backgrounds and accomplishments? Would you feel comfortable being part of their team?
Does this person have a strong professional background, knowledgeable about the industry and company? Is this someone you would like to learn from?
Compensation & Benefits
Can you support yourself on the salary? Is there a recognition and bonus incentive program? Does the company offer stock options, a 401-K program, full health and dental benefits, a profit sharing plan?
Professional gains/growth opportunities
Is there room to grow and a set promotional track in place? Will you learn new skills and be exposed to new and exciting challenges?
Is the office easily accessible by car/public transportation or does the job require a long commute? Will there be extensive travel and overnight trips?
What are the typical work hours and will you have to work weekends? Is the company supportive of family and personal commitments?
Belief in Company/Industry Reputation
Do you believe in the company’s product and/or business model? Is the company a solid industry player and will it be around in 2/5/10 years? Do you feel comfortable with the company’s management team?
Company’s Standing (pre/post IPO)
If a start-up opportunity or stock options are important to you, where does the company stand with funding? Who is investing and what stage is the company in?
We’ve included a list of considerations we view as “non-critical”. We are not saying the items below are unimportant. However, we don’t believe they should make or break an offer. Again, ask yourself how important they are to you.
Something as easily negotiable as a start date shouldn’t affect your decision to take a job. If you need to push back your start date, discuss this with the Human Resources department or the hiring manager before making any rash decisions.
Because titles are so varied these days, it is becoming less of a consideration for most people. Weigh in the quality of projects and compensation package before crossing the opportunity off your list.
Physical Office Space
You may be used to an office with a door plaque, but in this day and age, it’s not the best measure of success. Can you get used to the cubed environment and cathedral ceilings? Give yourself a week and you won’t notice the difference.
So, the job may be a bit out of your normal scope or maybe you’ll be working alone rather than with a team, but how will you ever grow without taking chances? Just do it!