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5 Factors to Consider Before You Accept a Job Offer

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the toughest part of the job hunt – the hours spent completing applications and prepping for interviews are behind you and you finally have that formal job offer in hand.

But now comes the most important decision of all: should you accept the position? How do you know for sure it’s the right fit? Or what if you have to choose between two equally attractive offers?

Evaluating a job offer can often be more stressful than the job hunt itself. After all, there is a lot riding on your decision. Here are some of the top factors to keep in mind next time you’re in this situation.

1. Compatibility with Your Career Path

Before you embark on your new journey, you should have at least a rough idea of where it will take you. Consider your short- and long-term goals. Does the position make the best use of your skills and experience? Is there potential for upward mobility?

2. Compensation and Benefits 

If your new job is salary-based, you’ll want to start with what Peter Lane, executive recruiter at The Intersect Group, calls “The Big 3” – base salary, bonus incentives and title. If The Big 3 aren’t what you had hoped, but close enough to consider, you can use benefits as negotiating terms. Asking for extra paid time off, flexible hours or work from home days are the most popular options. Sometimes you can also negotiate shares or equity in the company as part of your benefits.

Healthcare and retirement benefits are also critical, as these can reduce the amount of money you pay in premiums (more net take-home money!) and reward you with free contributions to your retirement (company match) – all of which can translate into real savings and dollars that work behind the scenes for you.

If your new job is a contract position, make sure you understand if you will get paid overtime if you work more than 40 hours per week. You’ll also want to understand if there is a maximum number of hours that you’re allowed to work in a week, which can limit your income potential.

3. Culture and Values

Let’s face it – you’ll be spending a lot of time at your new job. It’s important that you feel excited and passionate about your new company, and that your fellow colleagues are a great fit for your personality.

Ella Williams, senior technical recruiter at The Intersect Group, recommends asking yourself questions such as, what kind of personalities seem to thrive at this company? What was your impression of the environment, culture and people when you interviewed? Are the issues you see as important in line with those of the company?

You should also ask your new employer questions such as, how do you define a great employee? What do you like about working here? Can you tell me how this position aligns with the company’s mission and strategic vision?

4. Opportunity to Grow and Develop

Will this job challenge you professionally and expand your skill set? Does the company offer training and development opportunities? How often can you expect performance and salary reviews? Remember that regular evaluations are critical for professional growth and career advancement.

5. Location, Hours and Work/Life Balance

Your job location has a direct impact on commuting costs and time, and perhaps even your living situation. But you should also consider daily conveniences, such as lunchtime options, medical offices and a gym.

You’ll also want to consider how your new job will impact your personal life. What are the typical work hours? Does the company offer flextime or work-from-home options? What about vacation and paid holidays?

While all of the above are important, you must also rank them according to personal importance. Maybe salary is your biggest concern right now, or perhaps you’re looking for a more innovative culture. Consider what factors are critical and where you’re willing to make sacrifices. There will always be pros and cons to every job, but having a clear list of priorities can help you feel more confident in your decision.

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