Most people's reaction to being offered a job is to accept immediately, if only to put the hard slog of sending out CVs and doing interviews behind them. However, don’t let the excitement of acceptance cloud your judgement on whether the role is ultimately the right one for you.
Here’s a short checklist of questions to answer before formally accepting a job offer.
1. Do you want the job?
If the role being offered is your dream job, this question may be moot, but it’s good to field any reservations you may have about accepting a role that isn't absolutely perfect. If the role offered makes you hesitate, you need to take into account other factors to sway your decision:
- People and culture: Do you think you will get along with, and learn from, your new colleagues and boss? Does the culture of the organisation suit you? Will you be comfortable there?
- Role and expectations: Do you find the role interesting, or will the role lead to more interesting positions down the track? Will you be able to perform to the standard the organisation expects? Is that standard realistic?
- Pay and benefits: Is the pay fair? If the pay is mediocre, are there benefits that offset lower remuneration? Will the organisation invest in you in other ways, through further training, perhaps?
2. Under what conditions should you accept the job?
Still hesitating? Weigh up the opportunity cost of taking this job, which may mean you miss a chance at others, versus the possibility that a little sacrifice now will lead to genuine opportunities to progress in the foreseeable future.
Don’t be afraid to talk to the organisation about your concerns – the employer obviously likes you enough to make an offer. If you haven’t raised issues such as pay or benefits, you can use this to negotiate those variables, or to secure a career pathway.
3. What’s in the contract?
Make sure you understand the terms of the contract. If you don't, ask your would-be employer for clarification. Also check that anything you've negotiated verbally has made it into black and white.
Be practical when you receive a job offer and treat it with a businesslike approach. Employment is, after all, going to be a major part of your life. Only when you are completely satisfied that you've made the right decision to accept should you pop open the bubbly and celebrate.
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