No matter what your reason for seeking employment, knowing how to search for a job is hard work. Scanning job boards, researching companies, sending out CVs and attending multiple interviews can be a lengthy process.
If you're like most job seekers, you're elated - or at least relieved - when your efforts result in an offer. But before you rush to accept a job offer, take the time to consider it fully.
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Here are some guidelines to help you so you'll know exactly how to choose a job that is right for you:
Make sure you consider the job description
This may be the single most important factor in assessing an offer from a potential employer. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will I enjoy the day-to-day duties of the job?
- Will I be challenged?
- Is the level of responsibility appropriate considering my career experience?
- Will I be able to work well with my manager and colleagues?
- Am I willing to make any required lifestyle changes (e.g. travel, longer hours, longer commute) that may affect my quality of life?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, accepting the position might not be the right choice for you.
Evaluate the company
How well do the company's corporate values fit with your own? A business that expects 12-hour days when you only want to work eight is probably not a good fit for you.
Also consider the work style of your future boss and colleagues, try to assess whether or not there could be personality conflicts down the road.
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Review the compensation package
How does the salary they're offering compare to what you made in your last position? Take a look at the benefits package. How attractive or generous are the perks (stock options, tuition reimbursement, holidays, etc.)? If you're considering two offers, these additional benefits could be the deciding factor.
If an offer meets most of your requirements, but doesn't include any benefits that are important to you, it doesn't hurt to ask if that perk could be included in your agreement.
It is important that you are aware your current employers may be keen to keep you as an employee. More often than not, on the day you resign you will be offered a raise and/or a possible promotion. Although these counter-offers may be attractive, it is important to know the risks of accepting a counter-offer.
Statistics compiled by the National Employment Association confirm that over 80% of those who accept a counter-offer are not with the company 6 months later. When assessing a counter offer, it is important you consider:
- Your reasons for wanting to leave will still exist. They'll just be slightly more tolerable in the short-term because of the raises, promotion or promises made to keep you.
- Keep in mind that employers are likely making a counter-offer much more for their benefit than yours. Why did they wait until you resigned to offer you what you're really worth to them? Counter-offers are sometimes nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.
- By resigning, you demonstrate disloyalty in the eyes of your employer. You will lose your place in the inner circle and may be considered a flight-risk.
Careful consideration of the issues discussed above will help you reach an informed decision to accept, negotiate or reject a job offer. If, after evaluating each of these points, you are still unsure, listen to your gut instinct.
Related: How to write a resignation letter
Maybe there is something about the corporate culture that makes you uncomfortable - if so, it's probably wise to trust your instincts and decline. Accepting a new job is a big step, and you want to go into the arrangement knowing all the facts.
With a thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons, you'll be prepared to make the best decision for your career.