It's hard to say no once you finally get a job offer. Many people jump at the first job offer that comes their way or feel pressured into accepting, even though the job may not meet their needs.
Here's a short checklist of things to consider before blindly accepting a job offer:
1. Is the salary adequate?
How much you are paid is usually the biggest consideration when taking a new job. If you receive an offer where the pay is less than you are looking for, take a moment to do the math.
Add up the cost of your living expenses (be sure to include the cost of your commute and your savings goals), find out if there are any perks or benefits that make up the difference, research salaries for similar jobs in your area and make an educated decision on whether the salary will work for you.
2. Do the benefits give you full coverage?
To some people, having benefits is almost as good as having cash in your pocket. While to others, benefits are not something you need.
Look into the average cost of your annual medical expenses to see how much the company will cover, regardless of the salary offer you received. Keep in mind that active benefits can sometimes out-weight sub-par compensation, so make sure you don't underestimate their value.
3. Does it provide a work/life balance?
Finding a balance between work and play is something every employee needs to stay happy and healthy. While constant travel and overtime may seem like a drag to some, others may see overtime pay and time to travel as an added benefit to a job.
Determine the type of work that you will be doing and if there will be a frequent need for late hours or overtime. If paid overtime is an option, consider if working extra hours for extra money is something that you are interested in. However, keep in mind that excessive or a prolonged need for overtime can reveal an organization's insufficient resources or weak planning, so find out if this is the case at your potential job.
4. Is there a clear path for future growth?
If the job is not your ideal position, consider that sometimes you have to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Just because the job offer you got isn't deal, it doesn't mean it wont become one down the road.
Try to get a realistic idea of the growth opportunities available within the company by finding out if other people who held the job before you moved up with the firm. Also, where did your prospective manager start out? If the answers to such questions show that the organization doesn't promote from within, you may want to keep looking.
5. Do you fit in with the company culture?
Finding a good fit starts with believing in the company's mission and being able to work with the people around you everyday. One of the most common drivers for employee retention is a positive relationship between managers, employees and subordinates.
It's completely acceptable to ask about the strengths and weaknesses of the people that you will have to work with on a daily basis. Your ultimate career goal should be to find a job where you enjoy what you do, you enjoy who you work with and you feel like you will be able to stay a while.
Most people feel pressured into accepting job offers, even after they figure out that the job doesn't quite meet their needs. Whether you decide to accept or decline the job, you deserve congratulations for getting the offer in the first place. Remember, it's just a matter of time before there are other future offers on the table for you to explore.
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