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Don't Make Your Job Offer All About the Money

June 26th, 2017
benefits puzzleIt may only be natural when you get a job offer to look first at the "how much" part. But if that's all you consider, you're shortchanging the employer and overlooking benefits and perks that may well be more valuable than a few thousand more in pay.

Young, healthy workers especially are likely to discount the value of a health package covering medical, dental and vision. Even if you never see a doctor, everyone goes (or should) to the dentist. Consider what it would cost if you had to pay out of your pocket for a dental visit. Need glasses? A vision plan can save you hundreds.

Those are just the typical health insurance plans. Many companies also offer wellness benefits, which can include free or discounted gym memberships and equipment, and even sessions with a trainer or health advisor.

Does the company that wants to hire you offer a retirement plan? The most common is a 401(k). Ask if the company matches employee contributions. Most commonly, employers match 50% or 100% up to a specific dollar amount, so the $5,000 you invest could get you another $5,000.

Paid time off is a benefit that is becoming widely popular. PTO works this way: Each employee gets a specific number of days they can use however they want -- when sick, to run errands, for vacation, a mental health day. Although unlimited time off gets a lot of publicity, it's still a rarity outside the tech industry. And, the reality is that in many cases unlimited doesn't mean indiscriminate; the work still has to get done.

Another perk growing in popularity is telework. Not all jobs lend themselves to working remotely. For those that do, an increasing number of employers are permitting workers to work remotely at least some times. What's it worth to you not having to commute occasionally?

Then there are the less common perks, like bring your dog to work, student loan repayment assistance, free lunches, onsite service such as laundry pickup and delivery and financial counseling.

And don't overlook the career development and opportunities for growth. Most of the largest, and all of the smartest employers, have programs designed to help you improve your skills, learn new ones and prepare you for the next step in your career. Having a senior leader as your mentor can be worth far more over time than what you'll be paid now.

So when that offer comes, make sure you consider all that the company has to offer. If something isn't clear, ask, advises Joyce Van Curen. "As an HR professional for 40 years, I will tell you this: Ask the questions. When people ask those kinds of questions, that tells me a lot about their seriousness."

Image: Stuart Miles /

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