Boris Groysberg, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, says that people switch jobs every three to four years. Perhaps, if job candidates looked at a job offer with a more critical eye, it would be less necessary to change jobs to achieve career goals. Therefore, when two managers call you with job offers, be sure to consider the specifics of both offers before you accept either one.
Compare the two compensation packages to your expected earnings. For each job offer, consider the base salary as well as bonuses you might receive. For example, is a signing bonus or annual bonus plan offered? If a bonus is part of the benefits package, is it guaranteed? How is it calculated? Consider if the bonus will be based on the performance of the company, your department, a project or your own performance. In addition, determine if each company offers you a profit-sharing or stock-option plan. If so, are the retirement plans comparable? Also important is the timing of your first salary review and if salary increases are granted only during the annual review period. Of equal importance to these benefits are the promotions you might receive. Review each company's organizational chart, and consider if a promotion is possible or likely sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Review the benefits offered by each company. Determine how much you will pay each month for one company's health plan versus that of the other company. Do both companies offer disability, life and other forms of insurance you need, and are the policies comparable? Are other forms of compensation offered such as relocation assistance or mortgage assistance? In addition, how many sick and personal days will you get per year? What about vacation days? Is a child care or athletic facility offered at the business site? Is tuition reimbursement offered?
Consider how effectively you might work with each company's team and each manager. Remember that your relationship with your manager will influence if and when you receive a salary increase and how much the increase might be. Think of what impact the particular team and manager might have on any promotion you might receive or the professional growth you might achieve. Are mentoring or coaching relationships a possibility? If so, consider to what extent such relationships might shorten your learning curve. In addition, it's critical to evaluate the degree to which any team member might have -- positively or negatively -- on your job satisfaction.
Ask yourself if you will enjoy the work you will perform at one company more than the other. Are you equally interested in the companies' industries, and will you be proud of the products or services offered by the companies? Does each job fit in your long-term career plan? Think about the skills you'll acquire and if those skills will make a promotion or other on-the-job opportunity more likely. Also, make sure the required overtime, travel or training is acceptable to you. You might also examine the reputations of each employer and the tools and technologies that will be available to you. Any of these issues might affect future job offers and the degree to which you advance professionally.
Billie Nordmeyer works as a consultant advising small businesses and Fortune 500 companies on performance improvement initiatives, as well as SAP software selection and implementation. During her career, she has published business and technology-based articles and texts. Nordmeyer holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting, a Master of Arts in international management and a Master of Business Administration in finance.