Although salary is what most job seekers focus on when deciding whether to accept a new role, it’s only part of the story. In the United States, benefits often constitute about 30% of total compensation. Yet many people don’t know exactly what benefits they have or how they work. All employers are different, but most benefits fall into a few categories. Here’s what to ask about.


Insurance comes in many forms, and not all employers offer all types. Find out which forms of insurance are available, such as:

  • Health
  • Dental and vision
  • Life
  • Disability
  • Long term care

In addition to finding out what kinds of insurance are offered, ask what your costs will be. For example, some employers pay all premiums for employee health insurance, while others expect you to pick up a significant amount of the monthly costs. Likewise, an employer might offer a small amount of covered life insurance, such as $10,000, while allowing you to pay for additional coverage.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

Some employers separate vacation time from personal time from sick time. Others lump it all together under PTO. Some allow you to carry unused days into the next calendar year, while others have a “use it or lose it” policy. Some don’t allow employees to take any PTO during busy seasons, and some offer unlimited PTO. Find out not only how much you get, but also how and when it can be used.


A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement savings program. You put money away, and your employer matches your contribution—sometimes dollar for dollar, sometimes a percentage. These programs have quite a few regulations regarding maximum contributions, early withdrawals, and other considerations, so it’s well worth sitting down with HR to go over exactly how yours works.

Remote or Flexible Work Options

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees are working remotely or on flexible schedules than ever before. If this is important to you, be sure to ask, as not all employers currently offer these options. And even if they do, there is no standardization, with every company setting policies according to its own business needs. Ask exactly what options are available to you.

Everything Else

In this era of worker shortages, many companies are sweetening the pot with extra perks. It might be catered lunches or casual Fridays or employee wellness programs…or just about anything else you can imagine. So be sure to ask if there are any additional perks as you’re considering new opportunities.

Looking for a New Position? 

If you’re ready for your next career move, let The Resource put our experience to work for you. We’re here to help you find and land just the right position. Apply online or call your local office to get started.

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