Evaluating a Job Offer

Criteria to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

Job Content        

  • Are the duties and responsibilities interesting to me? Do they match my values, interests, and skills?
  • Am I proud of the employer's products/services and the reputation of the organization?
  • Will I be expected to travel and how often?
  • Does this position fit into my long range career plans and personal goals?

Your Boss/Co-Workers

  • Can I work and get along with this person?  Am I comfortable with his/her interpersonal and management style?
  • Will I fit into the corporate culture?  Sometimes peers can be more difficult to deal with than a prospective boss. Ask your potential boss about your work group to get a sense of their personalities and work styles before you accept the position.

Salary and Benefits

  • Is the salary at market level?  Is there a signing bonus? 
  • Are commissions, profit sharing, or 401 (k) options available?
  • Would taking this position create an economic hardship? Is the organization, division, and position stable?
  • How are individual pay increases and promotions determined (performance based, length of service, etc.)?
  • Is training and continuing education provided?  Tuition benefits?
  • How many vacation, holidays, and sick/personal days are provided?
  • What are the general benefits and contribution amounts for health, dental, vision care, life insurance?
  • Will a laptop or cell phone be provided? Or other business-related expenses covered?

Typical Work Week/Flexibility

  • What is a typical work week like?  How many hours per week does the position require?
  • Consider your other commitments to family, friends and outside activities. Ask yourself, "Can I really coach soccer and be a star in the workplace? Which matters most to me?"
  • What is the organizational culture relative to work-life balance?
  • How will this position alter my lifestyle? If it will, can I handle the changes?


  • Do you like the location and area in which you will be working and living?
  • Where are company headquarters and branches located?
  • What is the cost of living and commuting distance to work?  Is parking paid for?
  • What are the opportunities for your spouse's/partner's career?
  • Are relocation expenses covered?

The Ethics of Reneging on an Accepted Job Offer

  • Considering whether or not to accept a job offer requires careful reflection on what's important to you. While there may be rare circumstances that force you to renege on an accepted job offer (e.g., unexpected family responsibilities such as caring for a critically ill parent that prohibits you from taking a job in a distant geographic location), it is important to consider the ethical implications of breaking a promise made in a professional context.
  • People who know about the situation may question your reliability or hesitate to recommend you to a company in the future. If circumstances do require that you withdraw your acceptance, immediately notify the employer so that they can plan accordingly. 

Gracefully Declining a Job Offer

  • If you choose to decline a job offer, don't delay, but do so with care and thoughtfulness, in writing, after making a phone call. Give the company as much time to find another candidate as possible.
  • Be ready with honest words of praise before declining a job offer, and never say anything negative in writing about the employer, even if you had a negative experience.  Remember that this employer may be a contact for you in the future, and you may wish to leave the door open for future employment.
  • It's okay to decline a job offer for any reason, or for no reason except that it just doesn't feel like the right fit.  Prospective employers don't want you working for them if your heart isn't in it, so don't feel badly about turning down a position.
  • A decision to decline an offer is usually based on the fact that another offer is a better fit for your interests and goals. It is fine to state this, without giving details about why the declined offer is not a fit. It is not necessary to state whose offer you accepted, but if you wish, you may do so without divulging salary or other proprietary information.
  • Apologize sincerely for any inconvenience, and if appropriate, try to maintain the interviewer in your professional network for the future.