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Evaluating a Job Offer

Evaluating a Job Offer

Accepting a job offer is an important decision which requires careful consideration.

First:  Is the position and organization a place where you would like to build your career? Will you get the training and resources you need to be successful? Will experience in this area benefit your career growth? Do you understand the expectations for the position?

Second:  Is the offer agreeable to you? Do you understand the details of the offer, including benefits? Not everything is negotiable, but you need to understand the details before accepting an offer.

Aspects of a Job to Consider

The following topics are some aspects of a job that you should carefully consider before negotiating the offer and accepting or declining it.


Many candidates focus on the salary when receiving an offer. The starting salary can be particularly important in fields that calculate salary increases as a percentage of your salary. Researching standard salaries in your field is an important starting place. Find salary research resources here.

Insurance, Retirement, Vacation, & Other Benefits

Benefit details vary widely between organizations, so it is important to do your research. Your primary contact may direct you to a human resources professional who can explain the details to you.

Many of the terms may be unfamiliar to you. The glossary may be helpful as you review the documentation:

Some questions to consider:

  • Is medical, dental, or vision insurance provided? What portion of the costs are paid by the employee? When do health care and other benefits take effect?
  • Are vacation and sick leave offered?
  • How are the retirement plans structured? Does the company match my contributions? Is there a vesting schedule? Do I have to opt in or am I automatically enrolled?

Cost of Living

Make sure to take cost of living into account when evaluating your salary. You can find a variety of cost of living calculators online to help you compare.

Working Conditions

  • Have the job responsibilities been clearly articulated?
  • How will my work be evaluated? At what intervals?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement? Regular pay increases?

Moving Expenses

  • Employers may reimburse you for some or all of your moving expenses.
  • Before negotiating, educate yourself about moving costs—either moving yourself or hiring a moving company.

Start Date

  • Will the start date give you enough time to complete your degree and relocate?

Additional Factors

  • Childcare benefits
  • Support of professional memberships or conference attendance
  • Flex time and telecommuting
  • Parking expenses
  • Tuition reimbursement

Partner Hiring Assistance

Spousal or partner assistance can sometimes be requested, especially if the job being offered is in a remote location. This assistance can range from the organization providing the applicant’s partner with resources for job hunting in the area to more active support.


  • Teaching load
  • TA/RA support
  • Summer support
  • Semester leave or release time
  • Advising and committee expectations
  • Promotion and tenure process
  • Tenure clock
  • Family-leave policies
  • Start-up packages
  • Office and laboratory space
  • Computers/software/other supplies