How do I compare offers?
At the simplest level, a person might be concerned only with comparing the pay rates between two positions. To make a truly good decision, you want to know as much as you can about each situation. For example, if one job comes with benefits, but the other doesn't come with benefits, how much do I value those benefits? If the lower paying job is around the corner, but a higher paying job is across town, how do I capture transportation costs and time in traffic? One job may have "hidden" perks, such as subsidized meals, employee discounts, free gym memberships and so on.
Does this benefit me?
When comparing pay rates and benefits between two jobs, you need to recognize when a benefit is not truly a benefit to you. If you are considering a company that has a strong benefits package and a company that has a weak benefits package, you need to analyze how valuable each benefit really is to you. For example, if one job offers a higher pay rate, say $70,000 but meager medical benefits (valued in this case at $5,000) and the other company offers a lower pay rate, say $66,000 but has an excellent medical plan (valued at $12,000). Which package is better? I simplified this model, for ease of comparison, but I left something very important out. Let’s say that your spouse/domestic partner has excellent benefits and you are 100% covered on their plan and have no intention to switch plans. In this scenario, you really have to throw out the value of the medical plans for each company, which takes us back to the position with the higher pay rate. This comparison should be done for all benefits. Which benefits are really benefits to you and which ones provide the illusion of benefits?