How to Evaluate a Job Offer as a Software Engineer

Should you Accept or Decline a Job Offer?

It isn’t unheard of for passive job seeking candidates to remain in their search for a perfect position for weeks / months on end.

After a while, you WILL lose focus

As your focus scope gets blurred, the reasons for considering a new position may get faded. This infinite loop can push one towards accepting the wrong interviews and / or a wrong job offer. There sure are different variables that would make a decision to accept an interview or job offer easier such as money and proximity to home / work from home policy.

There’s more to pay than salary

It is paramount to remember that there’s always more to pay than salary. Remain as self aware as possible because in the long run, you settling for a job that’s just OK won’t be beneficial for either party involved.

Here are some tips for you to take into consideration when time comes to decide what’s best aligned with your expertise, professional background and long term career projection.


Before you start

To avoid any bias, before starting any interview processes or even talking with a head hunter, take some time to define as clearly as possible (and write down) what determines a ‘great fit’ for you. Once done, refer to the key points you took the time to write down to identify fitting roles and definitely share them with the recruiter you decide to work with.

Feel free to use the template below, but as a reminder, to keep it bias free, make sure that you fill it out BEFORE collecting information about different opportunities. Of course you don’t have to fill everything out, and you may even add some things of your own. Customize it to suit your objectives – this is YOUR wish list!

This wish list will also help you answer the common interview question “Why do you want to work here?” authentically.

It is crucial to understand what you want or need before starting your job search process, this will ensure that when you learn about a new position you may be a fit for, it will be easier to spot the red flags and properly assess whether it’s aligned with your initial criteria.

Things to ConsiderWishesOffered
? Company
Years in Business
? Team / Management
Management Style
Spoken Languages
Team mates Personality Types
? Package Overview
Work from Home / Hybrid
Max Time to Commute
Schedule Flexibility
Weekly Hours
Raises / Bonuses
Vacation / Time Off
Tuition Reimbursement:
Retirement Plan (RRSP)
Other Perks and Benefits
? Technology / Challenges / Career projection
How do you see yourself contributing to a project
Things you would like to learn
Things you would not like to work with
Long term career opportunities outside company
Long term career path within company

Trick: Want to push this a step further? Design a ranking system assigning X amount of points to each of your wishes and take it from there!

During the interview

Don’t shy away from asking all the important to you questions in order to have the entire picture at your disposal when time comes to make a decision.

Here’s a list of relevant interview questions.

If you came across the opportunity through a recruiter, be sure to arm them with questions, information, ideas – whatever you deem could be helpful to them in performing their job. The mindset here should be joint problem-solving as they (we) are on your team!

Post interview, follow these steps evaluate a job offer

1. Perform a company “Health Check”

Of course you can only do due diligence here and this will never be a deal maker or deal breaker but it’s something to factor into your final decision.

  • Look up the company on Social Media and gather general opinion of the public about the company
  • Get an understanding of the industry and its stability in the current market
  • For SaaS companies, how stable is the industry of the employers clients?

2. Assess the Offer

  • While remaining as objective as possible, fill out the Offered column of the above provided template
  • Assess what’s offered against the metrics in your initial wish list while rating each clause of the offer (on any scale you feel comfortable with)
  • Add more columns to the template as needed (1 column per company)

3. Consider your reservations

  • What are your current doubts?
  • Do the potential pros outweigh potential cons? Is the risk worth the reward?
  • Is the company stable enough? If not, do you have enough runway to go through another job search?
  • How long have you been actively searching for?

Think of Declining an Offer?

It’s alright, really. It doesn’t even have to be a definitive no. As a matter of fact, this can open doors within the same company.

If you feel that the offer or even the role itself turns out to be not what you’re looking for at that time, there is a right way to handle it.

  • Thank the people that were part of your interview process – they have invested as much time in this as you have, keep an open door, more often than not, it will serve you in a way or another.
  • Authenticity is always appreciated, be honest about the reasons why you’ve come to this decision. Accepting an offer for convenience or settling for a role that you can’t really see yourself growing with will serve no one. The people on the other end of the table know this just as well.
  • If the role isn’t a fit but the company and offer are – say so! Mention that you’d be interested in exploring other opportunities within the organization as { refer to your wish list here, how does the company / team align with what you were looking for? }. If the offer itself is the issue, don’t hide it either!
  • Add the ones that were part of the interview process on LinkedIn, this could lead to potential professional introductions that could go both ways.

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