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Researching Potential Job Offers

By Chris Alfe, thingamajob.com staff writer

Employers often use checklists to help organize their assessments of applicants, and to help in ranking them. Applicants should consider using much the same method in order to make the best decision possible when choosing new positions.

To help in this investigation of offers, job seekers may find this simple checklist useful when conducting their comparisons.

Step One - Weighing the Criteria

Following is a list of thirteen factors that will likely influence your decision to accept or decline job offers. Since each applicant has a differing variety of attitudes, likes and priorities, there is no universally optimal mix. To establish your own weighted decision making criteria you should weight each of the following thirteen factors using the scale provided. Do not think of any specific positions when completing this first step. Instead, just think in general about how important each factor is to you.

To assist you, thought-provoking questions are provided after each factor. Ask yourself each question, and then rank the importance of the factor thinking, "how much do I care about this?" Some factors deal with companies on the whole, while others deal with any positions you might be offered from them. They are listed in no particular order.

Scale:

  1. Not at All Important to Me / Not Applicable
  2. Of Little Importance to Me
  3. Somewhat Important to Me
  4. Very Important to Me
  5. Extremely Important to Me

Weight:

Factor:

_____

Company Business - What does the company do? Is it in a competitive sector? Is its business sector growing? Do you find its sector interesting?

_____

Company Structure - How large is the company? How many locations/divisions does it have? What is the management style? Is it unionized? How are employees promoted? Are the job descriptions well defined?

_____

Financial Status - How well is the company performing? What are the recent financial trends? Is the company public? What is its market share? Who are the clients? How has its stock performed?

_____

Location - Where is the site where you?d be working? How long of a commute would it be? Is the building in a nice location? Would you be traveling?

_____

Benefits - What are the non-salary benefits, including retirement plan, stock plans, vacation/holiday time, medical benefits ,etc?

_____

Culture - Does the company have a strict dress code? Do managers and subordinates speak freely to one another about business matters? Personal matters? Are social activities offered? What is the employee turnover rate?

_____

Reputation - Is the company respected by others in its sector? Is it well known to the general public? Has it been cited for deceptive business practices? Are there any current legal battles?

_____

Opportunity to Advance - Does the company attempt to fill vacant positions internally first? How quickly do people advance there? Are career paths clearly established?

_____

Training - Is training offered? Are certifications available? Is training reimbursed? Is the training offered on site?

_____

Salary - Is the core salary competitive? How quickly could you expect an increase? How frequently are performance appraisals conducted?

_____

Job Description - How closely does the job description match your "ideal" position? Will you be using and furthering your skills?

_____

Job Status - Is the job full-time? A limited contract? Project based? When would you be likely to start?

_____

Schedule - What are the hours of the position? Is there a set schedule? Would you be paid a set salary regardless of hours worked?

 

Step Two - Scoring the Offers

For this second step, set aside the weights you completed in step one. Now that you have established what is important to you in a new position, you should now score each individual offer you?ve received using a simple one to ten scale (with one being the poorest score and ten being the best.)

Let us use the "location" factor as an example. Let?s assume that you have three different job offers that you?re scoring. One is very close to your home. The second is about 15 miles away and located in a beautiful setting in an area with light traffic. The third is also about 15 miles away, but located on a busy highway in a congested area. Based on this information, you might assign a score of ten to the first position, seven to the second position, and four to the third position. The actual scores you assign are relative; just make sure that they reflect your assessment of each company and offer with respect to that factor.

Factor:

Offer 1 Score

Offer 2 Score

Offer 3 Score

Example

6

7

10

Company Business

     

Company Structure

     

Financial Status

     

Location

     

Benefits

     

Culture

     

Reputation

     

Opportunity to Advance

     

Training

     

Salary

     

Job Description

     

Job Status

     

Schedule

     

Job seekers should not pass up the opportunity during their interviews to compile much of this information. Hiring officials expect and encourage such questioning as the hiring process has evolved into a more even-keeled event.

A few scores, however, are best decided upon based on your own research because on the nature of the criteria. Search the Better Business Bureau's database of companies and investigations (www.bbb.org), for example, for information on reputation. Use Hoovers Handbook (www.hoovers.com) as a resource for gaining information on finances.

Step Three - Tallying the Results

In this final step, you will combine the criteria weights from step one with the company scores from step two to arrive at winner. Copy the weights beside each "score column" as shown in the example, and multiply the numbers across. Total the weighted scores at the bottom of the table.

Weight:

Factor:

Offer 1 Score

Weighted Score 1

Offer 2 Score

Weighted Score 2

Offer 3 Score

Weighted Score 3

4

Example

6

(6x4)=24

7

(7x4)=28

10

(10x4)=40

 

Company Business

           
 

Company Structure

           
 

Financial Status

           
 

Location

           
 

Benefits

           
 

Culture

           
 

Reputation

           
 

Opportunity to Advance

           
 

Training

           
 

Salary

           
 

Job Description

           
 

Job Status

           
 

Schedule

           
 

TOTALS

           

 

Interpreting the Results

Using formal matrices like this one helps people make better decisions. This process, although time consuming, can help offset biases and inconsistencies that too often creep into the job selection process if it is approached haphazardly.

This approach helps to eliminate the guesswork involved in choosing among multiple job offers, increasing your chances of high job satisfaction down the road. Considering using it the next time you're faced with this desirable challenge.

Chris Alfe is a staff writer for thingamajob.com.  He has ten years of experience in staffing and human resources and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

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