You have a job offer? All those blood, sweat, and tears you poured into applying and searching finally paid off. You’re about to have a job, and you’d be crazy not to accept that offer, right?
Hold on. You want the best job possible, and by accepting it right away, you may end up getting a job you don’t want. Here are some things you should do before signing.
See How Long the Job Offer Lasts
With a job offer, the employer usually has a window for how long you can let the offer linger before it’s expired. If you’re unsure, talk with HR about the job offer. If the offer is a few weeks, for example, this gives you time to think things over and possibly find more opportunities. If the job offer has a short time frame, see if it can be extended. A good job will give you time to think about it and won’t pressure you into accepting right away.
Research the Company
If you haven’t researched the company you’re going to work for, you should get on that right away. Thanks to the Internet, you can find plenty of information without having to dig like an investigative journalist. You can find reviews from former employees, which can give you an insight as to how it is to work there. Try to separate legitimate criticism of the job from the rantings of a disgruntled employee, though.
You can also look into the earnings the company has made. Have profits gone up? If so, you may be a part of a job that just gets better and better. Are earnings tanking, and there’s no end in sight? Think twice about joining the company. Profits can always flip, but if they have a constant streak of losses, you may end up with pay cuts along with losing your job.
Finally, researching the company can give you an idea of what they need. If you notice a flaw, and you can fix it, this can help you rise up the company ranks. Don’t go into a company blind.
You may think that you should be grateful for the job offer and you should accept what you have. Don’t feel this way. If they send you a job offer, this means they want you as an employee, and the ball is in their court. If there’s anything in the contract you don’t like, such as payment, vacation time, no opportunities to grow, you should discuss it with HR and see if you can come to a negotiation.
Don’t think that your employer will think less of you. Most expect negotiation out of good employees, and they’ll gladly reach a deal with you to get you on board. If you ask for a simple demand and they retract the offer, then they weren’t a good company to work with, anyway.
Double Check the Job Market
Even if you didn’t see any other jobs on the boards besides the ones you were offered, circumstances can change. Take another look at the job boards and see if any new jobs have popped up. It’s better to look at local job boards and industry-specific job sites than the big aggregators like Indeed and Monster.
You may find a job that’s better than the one you have. Having your hooks sunk in multiple offers is a great negotiating tool and gives you room to fall back on should your job fail.
Finish Up Your Previous Job
If you’re still working at what’s soon to be your old job, tie up everything you can. Don’t leave extra work hanging for the next employee to clean up. Even if you hate your job, it’s just rude and not a sign of a good worker.
Take Some Time to Yourself
If your budget isn’t tight and you have some time to sit on the deal, why not unwind a bit? Time to yourself can help refresh your mind and prepare you for your next job. Catch up on your favorite show. Take a mini vacation. See your friends. Transferring to a job right away can make you burnt out, and that’s what you want the least if you’re trying to make a good first impression.
If you decide the job isn’t for you, or you found a better job, don’t leave the employer hanging. Calmly tell them that you can’t take the job right now, but you’ll keep the door open for future employment. Sometimes, the offer doesn’t work out, but down the road, you may be finding yourself working with them. Companies can grow and offer you more, so don’t leave them on a sour note if negotiations don’t work so well.
Unless you really need the job, always think twice before accepting the offer.
Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.