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Making a Decision: 6 Steps

  1. Always ask for the offer in writing and time to respond.
    • Review the direct and indirect financial compensation, and nonfinancial compensation.
    • Make sure that you understand the job requirements and performance expectations.
    • Will you be reimbursed for relocation costs?  
    • If you have unanswered questions, call back. 
  2. Analyze the opportunities and drawbacks associated with the position and the organization.  
  3. Determine if the annual salary is adequate for your projected budget, adjusted for the cost of living in that area.   
  4. Weigh other factors that are important to you.
    • What are your "must haves?"
    • What concessions are you willing to make?
  5. Talk through your decision over with a partner, mentor, or other trusted person. Reflect on their comments and concerns (if any.)
    • Ask: What have I overlooked? Do you see any red flags? 
    • Don't allow others to make a decision for you or pressure you into a position that is not a good fit with your interests and skills.   
  6. Even though you may feel a bit nervous, you will develop a conviction that your decision is the right one for you. Accept or reject the offer. 

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Will this salary pay my bills, cover emergency expenses, and allow for savings?  
  • Do I embrace the organization's mission? Is this a good place to work? 
  • Am I passionate about this? Do I see myself as being happy and productive in this position? 
  • What are the opportunities for promotion, conference travel, and professional development? 
  • How will this position help me move toward my long-range, aspirational career goal? 
  • Is this a good move for my family (e.g., job market, schools, medical services, work-life, etc.)?
  • Is the geographic area appealing (e.g., things to do, weather, transportation, safety, etc.) 
  • What am I giving up? Will I have any regrets if I make this move?

Tip: If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, it may help to place your thoughts in writing. On a blank piece of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle to create two columns. Label one column "Reasons to Accept" and the other, "Reasons to Decline." Evaluate the total compensation package and other factors important to your decision. Make notes in the applicable column as you assess each factor. When you are finished analyzing all factors, compare the two columns.  

- 2015 copyright Robin G. Walker PhD