You’ve been thinking about this job since you met the recruiter at the career fair and you finally got the offer. Your natural instinct is to say yes, to maybe even scream it from the rooftops, but I caution you not to. At least not unless you’ve done your homework.
What do I mean? I have found that very few people are strategic when it comes to their job search. Whether they accept a new career or not can be based on how long they’ve been searching, the number of bills (and student loans) looming, or simply because it was offered. Given that, if you applied for a new career for any of the following reasons, you should definitely hit pause when you receive that offer.
● My friend works here and he really likes it. You and your friends are unique individuals. Just because you have friends in common and even have similar tastes, doesn’t mean you have the same mission in life or that you’ll thrive in similar environments. Working in a cubical crunching numbers when you are uniquely designed to travel and speak to large audiences would eventually crush your spirit.
● It’s a popular company. A great reputation is admirable, however, popularity is not synonymous with success, and vice versa. A small company, or even a start-up might be the place where you can shine. (In fact, you might be the person with the vision for the start up.)
● They are offering more money than I could have ever imagined. Money should never be your #1 deciding factor. Most people would rather make less and be happy than be rich and miserable. Such was the case with Scott Harrison. After hitting rock bottom, he established Charity Water, a foundation that has brought clean water to nations all over the world, and he has never felt more fulfilled.
Before you make your decision about the job offer, remove the rose-colored glasses, take a step back and consider the following.
● Can this opportunity be a stepping-stone to your long-term career goal(s)? Is there advancement within the company that is in line with your ultimate career goal? Will it add something else to your skill set to open doors for future jobs? If not, you might stagnate your career.
● Can you commit for at least a year? Take any strong doubts you have seriously. Ask questions to ease your concerns. Should they become real issues on the job, your desperation to jump ship could lead you into another poor job choice. Three months later you’ll find yourself repeating that cycle and, eventually, employers will be afraid to give you a shot because of your job-hopping.
● Have you received multiple offers? As a new grad, I felt like I had to take the first offer I received, but my mentor helped me see I was wrong. We are currently in a job-seekers paradise for entry-level roles. It’s always good to have a couple of choices to consider. Think about advancement, training, environment, retention, compensation, perks, etc. to determine which option is best for you.
● Is the company pressuring you to commit? If you’ve been in the interview process for several weeks, you should know if it’s the right choice for you, but if it has only been a day or two, ask yourself why they are insisting you decide not by the end of the week, not tomorrow, right now. (My Spidey senses are tingling.) Understand ‘pressure’ does not mean a quick offer. The job market is fierce and we recruiters are getting candidates through the process as fast as possible so we can make the offer, but we also want you to take time to think about it. Up to a week is more than fair in my opinion, although I will certainly welcome your acceptance earlier.
● Is compensation worthy of what you bring to the table? Notice I said compensation, not salary. This includes benefits, perks, bonuses, time-off, etc. If not, and you plan to keep looking, don’t waste your time or the company’s. If you are still in school there is plenty of time before you walk across that stage this spring to land what’s best for you. If you are already in the workforce, it will be tough for you to interview while working traditional hours so why not continue your search and allow someone who’s a better fit to step into that role?
It’s your career, so choose wisely. If you’ve gone through this list, and you feel good about your answers, call that recruiter and say, “I accept!”.