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What to consider before accepting a job offer

Your CV shined, you smashed the interview and you’ve been offered that exciting new job, congratulations. In the excitement of the moment, it can be tempting to accept on the spot but slow down, there’s another step to the process. It’s time to focus and go through the offer to see if it actually works for you. To help you decide if that new job is right for you, we’re looking at the most important things you should consider before accepting a job offer.

By Cara Fielder. Published 9 February 2024.

Out-of-hours responsibilities

Many roles will include some working outside of regular office hours. If this is the case, it’s worth asking for details on this in advance so you can understand the expectations of the role. Most of us have roles and responsibilities outside of the workplace and need to know how they might be impacted by those expectations. If the hours don’t work for you, chances are you won’t stay in the role long and won’t find it rewarding.

Flexible hours

Do you have to pick up kids after school? Maybe you have a fitness class, therapy, or need to view properties if you’re moving home. All these things are made far easier to fit in around work if they’re flexible. Often this is discussed as you go along, but it can be reassuring to see that flexibility is companywide and addressed within the job offer, rather than hoping you have a flexible manager once you start.

Diversity and inclusion friendly/support

It is well worth investigating what a company really does to assist their diverse employees and, if you consider yourself under that umbrella, whether you will be understood and supported.

Most large companies have public diversity and inclusion statements, but do they have internal groups you can join? If it’s a large company, do they have people employed in roles to specifically provide support? If you have requirements due to a disability, temporary or permanent, how easy was it to talk openly to their HR department and how did they make you feel? These are good questions to ask that can give you a true insight into how a company may treat you.

Location

Location is so important for several reasons; travel costs, public transport options, accessibility, and more. Whether you can physically get to a job location should be considered pre-application, but now is the time to iron out those final details. If you’re driving or taking public transport, it’s important to understand these costs generally increase annually, if not more often.

A long commute may seem fine here and there, but will that change after three months of doing it every weekday?

Growth potential

Growth potential falls into two areas and both are important to consider: education and training.

The potential for education and training is well worth discussing during the interview process, but if you didn’t, now is your chance.  There’s a huge difference between a company only providing the legally required health and safety training compared to somewhere that provides individual training budget for employees. You can also ask about potential mentoring (as a mentor or mentee) opportunities if that’s an area that is important to you.

Progression

Dead-end job roles can be demoralising, cause you to fall behind on technology and skills, and hold you back from reaching your full potential. Asking about the team structure and the performance development review (PDR) process allows you an insight into how a company values their employees and their future.

Company reputation

It can be so tempting to ignore red flags when an exciting job offer is on the table but try your best to be open-minded. Talk to anyone you know with experience inside the company, Google them and look at how they are mentioned in social media or the press. You can also check out current employee’s LinkedIn profiles to see how they openly speak about their role.

Will the role challenge you?

It can be scary to take that leap and progress to a role with more responsibility. However, it’s probably preferable to accepting a position when you’re bored from day one and have no new challenges. Chances are, you won't want to stay in the position long and you’ll be back on the hunt before you know it.

Will the role help you to get you where you want to go?

Transferrable skills are applicable in most jobs, but if you have a dream career in mind, consider how this position might get you there. If there’s no real correlation between the job you’re considering and where you want to be in the future, it might be worth thinking again.

Salary

Unless the salary is clear from the offset, pay negotiations can be tricky. This is especially true if the company ask for your expectations ahead of offering a guide.

If you’re going into an interview and salary hasn’t been discussed yet, make sure you think about this seriously in advance. Have a number in mind that you won’t drop below that considers your experience, overall outgoings, upcoming commitments, the quality of life you want to have, and your worth. Go in with a figure higher than your lowest number and explain your flexibility for the right role.

When in salary discussions, don’t take into account possible bonuses. They may sound guaranteed, but they aren’t and you don’t want to get caught short.

Also check the offer for mentions of a cost-of-living increase. You may not be applicable for promotions or role changes for a while, but an annual pay review could help towards rising costs like we’ve seen over the last few years.

Benefits and support packages

Some businesses have excellent benefits packages that are worth considering alongside the salary offer. If the package includes free gym membership, private healthcare, food, travel costs or similar perks, you could save a hefty sum on monthly outgoings.

Other benefits and packages you may want to seriously consider are maternity/paternity, sick leave, serious illness and secondment opportunities. If you are looking to start a family, have health concerns or would like to experience different roles, these should be a serious consideration.

 

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