4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting a Job Offer
Congratulations—you got a job!
Now that you have the job offer in hand it's important to take some time and really evaluate your decision before accepting. Remember, this is a place you’re (hopefully) going to be for a while, so you want to take the time you need to determine whether it’s going to be the right fit for you.
What should you be thinking about at this point? Here’s a checklist of questions to ask yourself before you sign on the dotted line.
Are the benefits OK? Will I be losing anything from what I currently have?
Take a look at your current benefits and compare it to those offered at your prospective new employer. Are they the same or better? Or will you have less coverage? Also take a look at your last few years of medical procedures and expenses and think ahead to your future needs. Can your new benefits meet these needs? It's also important to consider vacation time, paid holidays, sick time, and the like to make sure you're not blindsided later down the road.
Also having a great benefits package is important for more than the obvious reasons. If a company offers its employees perks like health, dental, retirement, and flexible spending plans, it can mean they’re competitive and doing well financially. If a place doesn’t offer benefits package, it might just be because they’re small, but it could also imply that they’re struggling as a company.
Am I OK with the location and commute?
Chances are you went to your prospective workplace for your interview(s) so you have a pretty good idea of where it is located. Is the neighborhood safe and is it a place you feel comfortable spending 40+ hours a week? Also there's a good chance that your interview was during the day and not during peak commuting hours. It would be a good idea to take a trial run of your commute during rush hours (morning and evening) so you can better understand what you are up against. A 20 minute commute at 10:30am could be a hour and a half commute 5 'o clock rush hour!
Is the money right?
When it all comes down to it, money ends up being a big deciding factor of whether or not you accept a job offer. As a general rule, you shouldn't accept a salary lower than what you currently make. However if you're relocating to a place where the cost of living is lower or you have less transportation costs, this rule isn't finite. Also, take a look at the job description and level. Does the pay seem fair for the amount of work you will be expected to complete?
Is this move beneficial to my career?
If you haven't already, sit down and draw out an ideal career path and indicate 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year goals along the path. These goals should be rather generic so that they don't pigeonhole you into one employer or another. For example: I'd like to supervise at lease one person in a year, manage a group of subordinates in five years, and run a department in 10 years. Now look at the job description for the new job and see if this job is in line with your goals. Will this job help you develop leadership skills? Will it give you a vast perspective to the business? Or is it just a great launching pad for something more? Although it's called a "job" offer, it's so much more than a job - it's a career!
Remember, you never have to accept the first offer. If you are confident in your skill set and believe you deserve more money or more vacation time, feel free to send the prospective employer a counter offer. What's the worst that can happen?