What To Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

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When you’re considering a job offer, there’s more to think about than just how much you're going to be paid. Salary is, of course, important, and it could be the deciding factor in accepting a job offer.

However, the other parts of a compensation package are almost as important. Your paycheck will cover your monthly bills, but you also need to consider employee benefits, perks, and the non-tangible things that make a job a good one.

Sometimes, benefits can even carry more weight than salary when you're evaluating whether to accept a job offer.

Here are some things to consider before accepting an offer, including what to look for when evaluating job offers and when it can make sense to turn one down.

Key Takeaways

  • Before you accept a job offer, carefully evaluate the entire compensation package, including salary benefits and perks.
  • Consider whether you can negotiate salary or make a counteroffer if the salary isn’t what you expected.
  • If you’re not sure about an offer, it’s acceptable to ask for extra time to decide.
  • When you make a decision, formally notify the employer that you are accepting or declining the position.

Factors To Consider

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The first thing to consider when evaluating a job offer is salary because if it’s not enough, the other factors may not compensate for the low wages. If that’s the case, you may want to decline the offer and move on.

There are other important factors to consider as well. Here’s an overview of what to look at when you’re considering whether to accept an offer for a new position.

Salary: base salary or hourly rate, commission, bonuses, projected salary increases, potential overtime, and other compensation.

Benefits and perks: paid time off, sick leave, family leave, health insurance, life insurance, retirement plan, stock options, tuition assistance, and other employee benefits.

Opportunities for career growth: opportunities for advancement, promotions, education, and learning.

Work environment: remote vs. in-person, schedule, work hours, workplace, teamwork, and organization structure.

Company culture: management style, values, mission, ethics, and goals.


Company culture includes an organization's values, attitudes, ideals, and attributes.

When considering a job switch, it can be helpful to make a list of pros and cons—a list of reasons to accept or decline a new job or a list of reasons to stay at a current job or move on.

Evaluate Compensation

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Before you say you’ll take the job, consider the entire compensation package—salary, benefits, perks, stock options, tuition assistance, work environment, flexibility, schedule, paid time off, retirement plans, and the hours you’ll be expected to work.

Also, consider the job description and whether you would be happy working at this job with this company.

Weigh the pros and cons and take some time to think about the offer. You don’t have to say yes right away if you are going to accept. Ask the employer when they need a response, and use the time at your disposal to make an informed decision.

How To Compare Salaries

When you’re not sure whether the salary is appropriate for the job, you can use some salary tools to check out average pay and compare salaries:


If you have two offers to consider, use a comparison list of pros and cons to help you decide which one to accept.

Evaluate Benefits and Perks

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Employee benefits—including health insurance, retirement plans, vacation, sick leave, life insurance, and disability insurance—can represent over 30% of your total compensation package, so it’s important to carefully evaluate what you’re being offered and how valuable the components are.

Evaluating benefits is a personal decision. The benefits that you need may not be important to another candidate. There are some benefits that are must-haves and others that you would be happy to have but that aren’t essential.

It's important to take the time to review what you're offered to make sure it's what you and your family need at this stage of your working life.

Review the Retirement Plan

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Not all retirement plans are created equal. A great retirement plan, especially a plan with a pension, can significantly increase the value of a job offer and may even trump a higher salary at another employer.

Compare the plan you currently have with what you're being offered to determine what you're really getting. Employer match, vesting schedule, and investment options are some important factors to consider.

Evaluate Stock Options

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Stock options give employees the ability to buy shares of company stock at a certain price, within a certain period of time. They can be lucrative, especially in growth industries. However, the value isn’t guaranteed.

When considering or comparing a compensation package with stock option benefits, be sure you understand exactly how stock options work and what they might be worth in the future.

Consider Negotiating Salary

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Once you have considered all the details of your offer, take another look at the salary. Is it enough? Would you rather be earning more? Is there room to negotiate? If you can't get by on the paycheck, it's going to be a problem regardless of how great the benefits are.

If you're not sure about the salary, consider creating a budget so you'll know exactly how far your paycheck will stretch each month. If it doesn’t stretch far enough, you’ve most likely got the information you need to make a decision.

Consider Making a Counteroffer

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When the salary isn’t what you expected, consider making a counteroffer. If the salary you're offered and the salary you need are really far apart, countering may not make sense, but if they're close, making a counteroffer can help you get the pay you need, and it won’t break the employer’s budget.

Some compensation packages are negotiable, others aren't. One of the best ways to find out is to ask for a meeting or call to discuss the offer. That way, you can carefully approach the employer to see what room there is to negotiate a better offer.

Ask for Time to Decide

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What should you do if you're juggling multiple job offers or if you're not 100% sure that this is the right job for you? It's important not to rush into a new job you're not sure about.

If you need more details, check with the person who offered the job to get as much information as you need to make an educated decision. When you need to buy some time, you could emphasize your enthusiasm but ask if you can talk to a future team member or even shadow someone in the job. This may take a week to schedule, giving you more time to decide.


It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for time to make a decision. It’s not just you who wants to be as sure as possible before you sign on with a new employer. The company wants to make sure that the role is a good fit for both you and the company, and most will be somewhat flexible.

When to Turn Down a Job Offer

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There are many different reasons for turning down a job offer. This simply may not be the right job for you, or the salary or benefits might not be what you need. You may not want to work in a very high-paced start-up environment or in a corporate office where everything is done by the book. Your gut may simply be telling you that this isn’t the right job for you. If so, it’s worth listening to.

There's nothing wrong with saying no, though be sure to decline politely. In fact, it's better for both you and the employer if you decline the job rather than accepting it and having it not work out.

Accept or Decline a Job Offer

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Once you have made a decision on whether to accept or decline the offer, it's time to let the employer know.

Take the time to formally accept or turn down the position, and do it gracefully so you don't burn any bridges with the prospective employer.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Labor. “Employee Benefits in the United States.”

  2. CareerOneStop. "Understanding Salary and Benefits." 

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Employer Costs for Employee Compensation."

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