Accepting a Job Offer - Should You?

Before accepting a job offer, you must evaluate it and decide if you want the job. With most organisations, you will have at least a few days to consider the offer and decide whether to accept or reject it.

There are many issues to consider when evaluating a job offer. Will the job suit you and be interesting?  Will you like working for the organization? Are there opportunities to advance or develop your career? Is the salary fair? Does the employer offer good benefits?

Evaluating a Job Offer - The Organization

Background information on an organization can help you to decide whether it is a good place for you to work. Factors to consider include the organization's business or activity, financial condition, age, size, and location.

How do you find this kind of background information?  Large organizations usually have comprehensive websites, or you can telephone its public relations office. Public companies have annual reports to stockholders which contain information about its business approach, products, history, goals and objectives and financial status. Most government agencies can furnish reports that describe their programs and missions. Press releases, company newsletters or magazines, and recruitment brochures also can be useful.

Another source for information is your public or school library. Check for reference directories that may provide basic facts, such as number of employees, products, services and earnings of the company.

Look at articles and stories online and in newspapers.  They can tell you a great deal about the organization's plans for the future, as well as its achievements and failures.

The library also may have industry or government publications which contain growth projections or other information about the industry in which the organization operates.

Other information about employers, not available in public libraries, may be available from university and college career centers.

Company Considerations

During your research into deciding if accepting a job offer is right for you, consider the following questions:

  • Does the organization's business or activity match your own interests and beliefs? It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does.
  • How will the size of the organization affect you?
  • Are you comfortable with the level of training and career path opportunities likely to be available? Bigger organizations can generally offer more levels for advancement and invest more in training and other employee benefits than smaller companies.  
  • Should you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well established? New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people, the excitement of helping to create a company and the potential for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss.

Accepting a Job Offer - What About the Job Itself?

Even if everything else about the job is attractive, you will be unhappy if you dislike the day-to-day work.

Consider the following questions:

Where is the job located?

You should consider the time and expense of commuting or calculate the costs of a move to another area if that becomes necessary.

Does the work match your interests and make good use of your skills? The duties and responsibilities of the job should be explained in enough detail to answer this question.

How important is the job to the company or organization? An explanation of where you fit in the organization and how you are supposed to contribute to its overall goals should give you an idea of the job's importance.

What will the hours be? It is important not to assume that the job will have regular hours, on weekdays from Monday to Friday.  Some jobs require night, weekend, or holiday work. Consider the effect that the work hours will have on your personal life.

Opportunities Offered

A good job offers you opportunities to learn new skills, increase your earnings, and rise to positions of greater authority, responsibility, and prestige. A lack of opportunities can dampen interest in the work and result in frustration and boredom.

Some companies develop training plans for their employees. What valuable new skills does the company plan to teach you?

The employer should give you some idea of promotion possibilities within the organization. What is the next step on the career ladder?

Salary and Benefits

When an employer makes a job offer, information about earnings and benefits are usually included. Before accepting a job offer, you will want to research to determine if the offer is fair. If you choose to negotiate for higher pay and better benefits, objective research will help you strengthen your case.

If you are considering the salary and benefits for a job in another geographic area, make allowances for differences in the cost of living, which may be significantly higher in a large metropolitan area than in a smaller city, town, or rural area.

You also should understand how the organization treats overtime.  Some companies have formal policies, while others do not.  Be aware that laws requiring employees to be compensated for overtime only apply to some jobs.  You may or may not be paid more if you do extra hours.

Also take into account that the starting salary is just that: the start. Your salary should be reviewed on a regular basis; many organizations do it every year. How much can you expect to earn after 1, 2, or 3 or more years?

Benefits also can add a lot to your base pay, but they vary widely. Find out exactly what the benefit package includes and how much of the cost you must bear before accepting a job offer.

More Information Related to Accepting A Job Offer

Twelve Point Checklist for Negotiating a Job Offer

Sample Job Offer Acceptance Letter

Job Offer Salary Negotiation: How to Obtain the $$$ You Want 

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