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Insights & advice

How to evaluate a job offer

March 2021 – 15 min read

Key takeaways

  • Knowing your value as an employee is important when negotiating salary and compensation for a job offer

  • Group benefits and pension are an important part of overall compensation for many employees

  • One week is the standard time to accept a job offer, however this is negotiable

  • Immediately accepting a job offer might not be the best strategy

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What to consider when evaluating a job offer

Congratulations! Your resume, cover letter and interview were successful and you’ve been offered a job. Or maybe you’re choosing between 2 job offers. Here are some ways to choose the opportunity that’s the best fit for you.

Does the salary match your value?

While you likely have an idea of how much you want to be paid, make sure you research local pay ranges for the same industry and position. 

As well, you’ll want to understand how future pay raises and bonuses will be determined.

How good is the benefits plan?

For many people, health, dental, pension and other group benefits are a very important part of their compensation. 

If the employer doesn’t offer health and dental benefits, you’ll need to pay for those expenses out-of-pocket, or invest in personal health and dental insurance. 

As well, if the employer doesn’t offer a group pension, profit-sharing or registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), saving for your retirement will be entirely your responsibility. 

If you’re offered the choice between a raise in pay versus benefits, you should understand how much benefits are worth to you. In many cases, they might save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Negotiating your salary and compensation

  • Know what you’re bringing the employer – Education, related and overall experience, skills, licenses and certification, abilities.

  • Know the market, locally and nationally.

  • Know your expenses – costs to commute, moveOpens in a new window - Opens in a new window or for childcare, and any losses in benefits or flexibility.

  • Prepare negotiation points – Explain why you deserve the salary you’re requesting. Practice the conversation in a mirror or with someone else.

  • Know when to say no – While it’s important to be flexible, if the employer can’t come close to your expectations, then be ready to respectfully decline the job offer.

Other ways to evaluate a job offer

  • Does the company offer flexible ways to work and good work-life balance?
  • Is the company healthy or have any financial red flags?
  • Do you fit the company culture?
  • Will you learn and grow in this job?
  • Are there other job perks like a gym membership, tuition reimbursement, etc.

How long to wait before accepting a job offer

While there’s no exact number of days, 1 week is standard. However, this is something you can negotiate. 

If the employer is pressuring you to decide in a hurry, it may indicate how they might treat you as an employee. 

Be honest with the employer about how much time you need to make your decision and why. 

And while it’s tempting to accept the job offer immediately, you may lose your opportunity to ask questions and negotiate later. 

You should never lose a job by asking for time to think about it or reviewing all the job details. This gives you time to check with any other potential employers and discuss the new opportunity with your family to ensure it’s the right move for you.

What’s next?

Now that you understand more about how to evaluate a job offer, you may also want to:

  • Calculate how much not having group health and dental and pension benefits might cost you per year

  • Talk with your advisor about how to withdraw or transfer your current pension or group RRSP savings to a potential new employer

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The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.