Getting a job offer is exciting, isn’t it? It’s great knowing that there’s a brand new opportunity at your doorstep, and it’s tempting to say “yes” right away. But, that could be a mistake.
Not all job offers will be right for you. I hate to be a buzzkill, but there are several questions that you should ask yourself before accepting a new opportunity. Saying yes prematurely can turn into a mistake that’s tough to fix, and in some cases, it might hurt your entire career.
Don’t let the excitement of the offer cloud your better judgment.
Four questions to ask yourself before accepting a job offer
Before saying yes, here are four questions that will help you decide whether or not the job offer is right for you.
Question 1: Does this new job help my work/life balance?
A lot of us struggle with balancing our job responsibilities with time at home with our families. Many employers demand a lot of time from their staff, and that could backfire into stress at home. If the reason you’re looking for a new job is to improve your work/life balance, this should be the very first question to ask yourself.
For instance, is significant travel expected in this new role? If so, then you might be away from home more than you feel comfortable with. If you were just offered a management position, are nights and weekends required? Remember back to your interview. Did you get the feeling that people there worked much beyond the typical 8 to 5 working hours?
If you’re stepping up in your career, or the pay is substantially higher than your previous job, then there’s a good chance that you will be expected to work longer hours. Is it worth it?
Question 2: Does the pay meet my expectations?
The very best opportunity to ask for more money is during the hiring process, not after. Never assume that you’ll get raises later to make up for a lower starting salary. If you are not comfortable with the salary in the offer, now is the time to address that concern.
Instead of signing the offer, call the hiring manager to discuss a higher starting salary. Be firm but polite. And, it’s helpful to have salary range data of similar jobs available and ready to bolster your argument.
However, be careful. Asking for too much money could backfire, especially if there was a lot of competition for the job that you have been offered. Be reasonable.
Question 3: Are the benefits of the job attractive?
Remember that benefits go beyond just health care. Many companies offer a wide variety of benefits to their employees, including free or subsidized gym memberships, paid time to attend industry conferences, a 401(k) retirement account with company-match, etc.
For instance, I worked for a company that reimbursed you $20/month for a gym membership if you went to the gym more than 12 times a month. I worked for another that gave employees three days off of work to attend conferences (they also paid for the ticket). And, yet another offered free pet insurance for those employees who had cats or dogs.
Before signing the offer, be sure you fully understand company benefits. Those benefits should be included in the offer, but if you are not sure, don’t hesitate to ask. Making an informed decision before walking in on your first day is better than making a mistake that you find out about after doing all the paperwork.
Question 4: Will this job help me to advance in my career?
Over the course of a 40-year working career, setbacks can severely hurt your earnings potential. For instance, taking an easy desk job might sound great, but how will that job affect your goals in the long run? Will you continue learning new things and improve your skillset, or will that easy desk job stunt your career growth?
The important thing here is to understand your career goals. Only then will you be able to match those goals up against the job offer.
Money is important, but it might not be the only qualifying factor in your decision-making process. Opportunities to expand your knowledge and experience probably also factor in. New challenges open up doors that we never even knew were there.
What are some of the things that you are looking for out of your job? Things like job security, pay, work/life balance, benefits, opportunities for growth, etc. Whatever they are, write them down. Understand them. Then, ensure the new job jives well with your whole life not just your career aspirations.