When you’re looking for a new job, you hope to find the perfect position with all the right perks and benefits, but employers can only afford to provide their employees with so much. So whether you’re juggling multiple job offers and deciding which one to accept, or trying to get the best deal out of an offer, take the time to rank these five factors so you’ll know what questions to ask your potential employer to land the best opportunity.

Karen Dwyer

Karen Dwyer

Job duties — Surprisingly, in a recent Express Employment Professionals job blog poll that also included flexible scheduling, compensation, health-care benefits and opportunities for advancement, interesting work ranked as the top must-have for a job. If this sounds like you, make sure you know what type of work you’ll be doing. There will be some parts of every job that you don’t like, but knowing you will enjoy the majority of your tasks will increase your chance of job satisfaction. After you’re offered a position, ask your potential employer questions such as, “What’s the worst part of this job?” and “What’s a typical day like?” to figure out if you want to do this job day in and day out.

Income — Obviously money is a high priority for many people. If you rank income at the top of your list, it’s good to have an amount in mind and back it up with research, but don’t immediately turn down a job offer that doesn’t match what you expected. Instead, inquire about what you would need to do on the job after you accept the position to increase your salary. You might be able to earn more by taking on additional responsibilities or increasing your education. Or, ask your potential employer, “How much money could someone make in this position?” to see how quickly you could begin earning the amount you desire.

Scheduling options — Whether you need a flexible schedule to attend to family matters or prefer working a four-day workweek to have more time for your favorite activities every weekend, make sure to ask your potential employer what the “real” work hours are for the position so you aren’t surprised after you start the job. Then, ask if the position allows for a flexible schedule, four-day workweek or telecommuting and under what circumstances those options are available.

Career opportunities — Ask your potential employer about the possibilities of moving up within the company from this position, and what opportunities would be available to you for your professional development. Also, ask how long the average time is to receive a promotion. You can also ask how others have moved up within the company, what positions they started in, and where they are now.

Health care — If health care is your No. 1 deciding factor, ask your potential employer specifics about what is provided, including how much the company pays, what your portion costs, and what’s included, such as dental or vision. Be sure to ask if the plan will cover your family as well. If you’re already covered on your spouse’s health-care plan or don’t require it, ask if you can opt out of the health-care plan for a higher salary or opt for another benefit.

Whether you’ve already received a job offer or are still searching for the right one, these are five important factors to consider when weighing an offer. You might be able to trade one benefit for another to create the perfect package of benefits for you and your family. So, rank each factor according to your needs so you can determine what you want to negotiate for. You’ll be able to make a more informed decision if you determine your top priorities and ask your potential employer the right questions.

What Do Job Seekers Want?
Interesting work 26%
Compensation 23%
Flexible scheduling 18%
Opportunities for advancement 17%
Health-care benefits 13%

Click here to view Express Employment Professionals’ job blog poll.

Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 9 W. Figueroa St. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.