Give these questions some thought before committing to the company.
After revising your resume countless times, building professional relationships throughout college, and making it through the interview process, you finally have an offer in hand. While this is an incredibly exciting time, it’s important to take a step back and consider the offer you’ve received before excitedly emailing back your acceptance. You’ll be at this job for at least a year, and it has the chance to lay the foundation for the rest of your career. Whether or not you have competing offers, you should still be sure that the job you accept is the right one for you, and you’re not just accepting it because it’s the first offer you received.
When you’ve just finished up a months-long job search, even considering turning down an offer can feel wrong. However, you should never accept a job offer on the spot and you should ask yourself the following questions before committing to the position:
How were you treated throughout the interview process?
Even though you’re interviewing for an entry-level role, you deserve to be treated with respect. The attitudes of the people you interacted throughout the process can give you an indication of how you might be treated on the job.
What did you learn from your interview?
Think back to when you asked the question: What makes working here special? If that answer didn’t make you excited about the company, you might not be happy if you accept the job. You should also reflect on the answers you got about company culture and working environment – will you be happy, given what you learned?
What are the opportunities for professional development and upward mobility?
A lot of the work you do in an entry-level role might feel like grunt work, so it’s important to understand the bigger picture. What kinds of opportunities do you have to gain new skills? Find a mentor? Progress through the company? Before you accept the offer, consider if the role can lay a solid foundation for your career, or if it’s simply a job.
How do you feel about your would-be coworkers?
Hopefully, you had the chance to meet multiple employees during your interview process and you have a sense of the vibe and the culture at the company. You don’t need to be friends with your coworkers, but consider if you would feel comfortable working in that environment.
What are the hours like?
Is it a typical 9-5 job, or are you expected to work late nights and some weekends? Make sure you’re comfortable with the expectations before accepting the offer. If this wasn’t brought up during the interview process – ask. You’ve already been offered the job, so there’s no harm in asking additional follow-up questions.
Will you be happy where the job is located?
Where is your potential job located? Can you see yourself living there for a few years? Before committing to a job, you should get familiar with the location and determine if you would be comfortable living there. If you have to move across the country, it’s also worth asking about a relocation bonus as part of your overall compensation package.
Do you care about the company’s mission?
If you like the job, the company’s mission may not matter to you. But it’s worth asking yourself if you’re passionate about the company’s value and mission before accepting or rejecting the job.
Do you have any other offers on the horizon?
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush – it’s true for job offers too. You shouldn’t turn down a job because you might at some point get another offer, but you also shouldn’t accept right away if you’re still waiting on a few post-interview decisions to come in. You’ll need to pay attention to the decision deadline on your offer, but don’t feel rushed into making a decision. Additionally, if you just started your job search and your first offer doesn’t feel right for a number of reasons, turn it down and keep looking.
What are your salary and benefits?
Above all, you need to be able to afford things like rent, transportation, student loans, food, and other miscellaneous expenses. Make a budget to see if your salary covers these costs before accepting a job, then evaluate if your pay is fair compared to industry averages. Research the industry averages on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and PayScale to determine if you’re being offered competitive pay, and be prepared to negotiate for a higher salary or more robust benefits. Also, check out the RCC’s Guide to Negotiating your Salary.
It’s important to ask yourself these questions before rushing to accept your offer. After asking yourself the above questions, you might find that you’re more excited about the idea of the job than its reality – or your excitement surrounding the job might increase. Not everything about your first job will be perfect but if possible, you should find a job where you can grow your skills and make valuable connections – even if it means going on a few more interviews.
This article was written by Kate Beckman for RippleMatch. Sign up for RippleMatch to automate your job or internship search. Once you complete a free profile, RippleMatch surfaces great job opportunities and matches you directly with recruiters that want to talk with you.