Five Factors to Consider Before Accepting That Job Offer
So you’ve found your dream role – well, something vaguely along the lines of what you want to do that funds the essentials such as rent and wine – and have an interview lined up. Score!
You’ve researched the company, prepped for the ‘ask the interviewer something’ routine at the end, and rehearsed the standard questions about development and training to show what a truly ambitious and passionate individual you are.
But what if there are some questions that you should be asking out of genuine interest?
All too often, we get so excited at the prospect of being wanted that when an interview or job offer comes along, we forget to check out the key factors – factors which, when push comes to shove, can be as important as the day-to-day responsibilities of the role itself. So if you are sitting on a job offer, or perhaps even choosing between two, here are five critical questions to ask in order to make an informed decision:
1. Working Hours
9am-5.30pm is the norm, right? Wrong. Increasing numbers of companies are adopting flexible working so that employees can build work around their schedules, rather than vice versa.
In my current role, for example, I officially start at 9:30am and that extra half hour makes a surprising amount of difference; early morning doctor appointments, unexpected delays, lie ins… it all counts. But guess what? I didn’t know about that handy half an hour until I’d verbally accepted the role and received my contract. On this occasion it worked out well, but don’t wait until you receive the paperwork to find out that you’ll have to get up at 6am every day to meet that 8am start.
Have you read: The Changing Face of the Career Landscape: What It Means For You?
Maybe it’s just me, but I normally scroll through the benefits to get to the big matter – the salary. I shouldn’t, and neither should you.
Sure, your 20-something self may not be that fussed about (dare I say it) a pension, but your future 70 year old self will most likely be quite pleased that you couldn’t buy that round of shots for everyone because a percentage of your salary had gone straight into the pension pot.
Still not convinced? An increasing number of companies are stepping outside the box to recruit fresh talent – incorporating more exciting benefits such as free coffee, free lunch, even free trainers. So you could find yourself celebrating your new job in a fresh pair of Nikes as you go to your discounted gym class. Definitely worth stopping scrolling for.
3. Work Culture
Company cultures vary hugely and can pretty much define the environment of a workplace. You can be reasonably confident that somewhere boasting an unlimited beer tap is a sociable workplace that encourages colleagues to have fun together, whilst an office promising childcare vouchers is probably a bit more sensible with an older employee base.
Culture is seriously important: there’s no point having a great salary and working hours if you’re in a dog-eat-dog environment where colleagues are waiting for you to trip. Or maybe there is a point and you thrive off that high pressured competitive culture. Know what works for you and find it. No judgement here!
Your manager will be a fundamental element of your new role – but, it’s worth remembering, not necessarily a permanent one. Tough days at work can be totally altered, for better or worse, by your boss. Even if they’re not positioned to change any grievances – be it salary, job responsibilities, annoying colleagues – feeling like you have someone in your corner can make the world of difference to your mind-set and morale. A manager also tends to influence the culture of a team; if they encourage team spirit and collaboration then your colleagues are likely to follow suit.
More often than not, the manager will be involved during the interview process, so make sure you interview them too and be honest with yourself; can you see yourself respecting this person and working closely with them?
Location can be something that we skim over and forget about, instead calculating (in the excitement of being offered a new job) that it’s eminently achievable to get to the office every day. However, the reality of your commute – and whether it’s sustainable – soon becomes stark once you’ve accepted the role and are driving two hours down the M5, before parking in a multi storey and getting a bus to work – every single day. Sadly, I speak from experience on this one.
Location is critical and hugely influences your work. Face it head on: do you really want to have a three hour round commute every day? Equally, is it worth taking a job that you probably won’t enjoy but will afford you an extra half an hour in bed?
Similarly, the opportunity to work from home is another consideration that’s worth discussing during an interview. And probably the only thing that got me through those many M5 traffic queues.
An additional factor to think about is business travel. What may seem like a glamourous business trip could quickly turn into bitter resentment if you’re spending frequent evenings alone in budget hotels after long conferences. Be clear if you’re willing to travel, how often, and how far, and make sure the job requirements don’t exceed this.
As well as checking out what you will be doing and the opportunities for career progression, there are plenty of other factors to consider when applying for and accepting a new job. However, it’s not black and white. No role is likely to tick every single box, and any role that does probably won’t deliver to your high expectations.
So go ahead, run through the above factors, but then sit down and think about the role as a bigger picture. Still keen? Then accept that job offer. Good luck!