Thank the company for the offer, then take some time to really evaluate it before you accept. Remember, this is a place you’re (hopefully) going to be for a while, so you want to take the time you need to determine whether it’s going to be the right fit for you.
What should you be thinking about at this point? Here’s a checklist of questions to ask yourself before you sign on the dotted line.
For starters, make sure you and the employer are on the same page when it comes to the basics of the job and what success will look like.
If you don’t already have it, ask for a copy of the job description and review all of the expectations and responsibilities. If there are differences between what you discussed in the interview and what you see in the job description, or if you have lingering questions, call the hiring manager to get clarification. He or she is probably as eager as you are (if not more so) to have you start and would be happy to answer your questions.
Your salary and benefits package are a crucial factor when considering a job offer. For one, it’s much easier to negotiate on these items before you start the job than it will be down the line. Plus, benefits vary widely from company to company, so you don’t want to assume anything in this area.
Ask for a formal offer letter, if you don’t have one, and make sure the salary is put in writing. If you have questions about how your salary compares in your field, do some research on sites like Salary.com and PayScale, or ask your friends and contacts for advice. When it comes to benefits, many companies have a one-pager that details their benefits package, including co-pays, deductibles, and eligibility periods. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, or to ask to speak with a benefits specialist if you have questions.
A supervisor can make or break a position, so be sure that you’re comfortable with your boss-to-be.
If you didn’t get to spend a lot of time with your supervisor during the interview process, see if you can set up a 20-minute meeting with him or her before accepting the position to ask questions and test out the working relationship. Or ask if you can talk to another employee who reports to the same supervisor. Keep things light, but ask questions that could shed light on your new boss, like, “How would you describe his management style?” or “What do you like best about working for her?”
We spend far too much time at work to not be happy there. And considering how often you’ll interact with colleagues, it’s important that your new company and team is a great fit for you personality-wise.
Talk to anyone you know within the company (or who’s worked there before) about what it’s like. Don’t have any contacts there? Read through the company’s website, Facebook page, and current news to get an idea of what working there might be like. You can also check reviews on Glassdoor—though, as with anything, take disgruntled reviews with a grain of salt. Another insider tip: Look up profiles of the company’s current and past employees on LinkedIn. Do people typically stay for years at a time? If the company has high turnover, that could be telling.
Finally, as excited as you might be about getting a job offer, it’s important not to lose sight of your short- and long-term professional goals.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing the hiring manager can tell you that will answer these questions for you. So, plan to spend time seriously thinking about what your goals are and how this position fits into them. Don’t be afraid to ask for several days to consider the offer and take the time you need to make sure it’s the right fit.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can accept the position—or not—knowing that you’ve made the most informed decision possible. And remember:
No matter how grim the job market may look, you don’t have to take just any position that comes your way.
After all, it’s worth finding a job that’ll truly be a good fit and won’t have you looking again a few months down the line.