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3 critical questions to ask yourself before you accept a new job

Amanda Datchens //  0 Comments

Got a job offer? Not sure if it's a good move? Here are the 3 vital questions you must ask yourself before you accept a new job.


Congratulations! You have successfully navigated your way through the recruitment process, everyone is happy, and you are feeling elated. But the burning question is - are you genuinely excited about the job itself or just the fact that you have a job offer?

The following 3 questions will help you discover what you really feel before you accept a new job so that you can make the right decision.

right company

1 - Is it the right Company?

First, take a step back and look at the organisation itself.

By this point you have probably done your research before your interview and have gained more insight throughout the general recruitment process. What I am talking about here is drilling down to some key areas. These are critical factors on whether to accept or reject.

Where are they positioned in the marketplace?

Are you comfortable with where they currently sit?

If they are a leader, are there any major threats that could oust them from their position?

If they are not, do they have plans to penetrate their current sector further?

A great question to ask either at interview or when you are deciding whether to accept an offer is “where do you see the company in 5 year’s time?”

Their answer to this should tell you what you need to know.

Are you happy with their products & services?

You don’t have to be physically selling their product or service for it to affect you and your role.

For example, you could be in accounts and be costing the products.

Or customer service and answering queries on their services.

Or in HR and tasked with recruiting the right candidates to produce and develop the company's offerings.

Ask yourself whether you have any issues with their core business activities before you accept.

Which areas are they strategically investing in?

Just because a company looks great and just because there is a huge and proven market for whatever product or service they offer, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a great choice to join them.

Always make sure that whichever department, site or division you are potentially joining is one they are committed to investing in for the future.

For example, you could be offered a great role as their hands on Call Centre Manager only to find they plan to take it offshore.

You could be a Civil Project Manager but find that the company is heavily targeting mining projects once you join.

Ask yourself, is my role positioned at the forefront or on the back burner of the business?

Is there any risk involved in joining them?

If the company operates in a relatively new market or they are a startup, there will naturally be less comfort and more risk.

There can be huge benefits on offer here.

It can be exciting, challenging, groundbreaking and give you experience and exposure you simply wouldn’t get in an established company or market.

However, if things don’t go to plan your new job could literally disappear.

Plan for the worst and ask yourself what financial safety net you have before diving in.

right role

2 - Is it the right role?

If you are happy with the company, you should then look more closely at the role.

Again, you need to dig a bit deeper here to get to the truth about exactly what it will be like if you decide to accept their offer.

Most of this you will have covered in your interview, especially if you prepared thoughtful questions to ask the interviewers.

However, if you are unsure about any of these areas, you really need to talk about these before you make your decision.

Why is it open?

Is it a brand-new role or did someone move on up through promotion?

Did they leave for another, better job at a different company?

Were they fired because of an action or incident?

Or did they quit because they didn’t get on with the boss?

Different reasons throw up different potential outcomes for you.

Do you really know the full picture and what situation you would be taking on should you join?

Does the position use your talents and skills appropriately?

Will you be unchallenged and on cruise control if you take this job?

Alternatively, do you feel you perhaps overpromised regarding your skills and you are now worried about underdelivering?

Both are difficult personal questions to answer but this self-awareness is vital before you accept a new job so that you make the right choice.

Do you have a solid understanding of the work you’ll be doing every day?

This may seem like a strange question, but do you really know what the day-to-day reality would be?

Every job has interesting duties and well, let’s be honest, crushingly boring aspects too.

And every job will involve things that you really enjoy and others that you are not so keen on at all.

That’s fine because that is what makes us all different.

The balance is what matters.

For example, if you take a job because you like working with people but you end up alone in a back office doing admin most of the day you won’t be happy.

Conversely, if you are more introverted and prefer your own company and space, a large open plan office with multiple face to face group meetings each day may not be ideal.

And if you are a hands-on manager but hardly ever get to work directly with your team, this will frustrate you.

Are their expectations clear & reasonable?

So, you know they want you because they have made you an offer.

What you don’t know is exactly what they are expecting from you.

If you haven’t done so already, this is the time to ask this critical question.

“If I accept this role, in a year from now what would success look like?  What would I have accomplished that you would consider to be a raging success?”

Will you have adequate resources available?

Now you are armed with this knowledge, it’s time to find out if it is actually possible to deliver their expectations.

Do you know what resources will be made available for you?

Which staff report to you and what are their key skills and experience?

What budgets or spend will you be working within?

And is the IT infrastructure adequate for your needs?

Is their projected timeline realistic?

Do you understand what specific challenges and road blocks you will likely encounter?

More importantly, do they?

If you are not sure, ask them something like this.

“Just so that I understand potential obstacles and diversions, what did the predecessor struggle with in these areas?”

right for you

3 - Is it right for you personally?

Now it is all about you. It may be an amazing company that is really going places, offering you a big salary hike plus excellent perks, but if there is a personal dealbreaker then you still shouldn't join.

Will the salary package support your lifestyle now - and in the near future?

Naturally your salary and benefits package is a crucial factor when considering a job offer.

General questions you should ask yourself include the following.

Is the salary in line with comparable positions in your area. If not, are you able to negotiate?

What does the benefits package include, and for what benefits are you eligible? When does your eligibility begin?

Are there other perks the company offers its employees—things like salary sacrificing initiatives, gym memberships, flexible work hours, on-site day care, or wellness programs?

In addition, you also need to consider your lifestyle today and any imminent changes that could affect it.

For example, are you potentially wanting to get married, move or purchase a house, or start a family in the next couple of years? Anticipate these things now before you accept a new job so you don’t get financially caught out later.

Is the daily commute acceptable?

When you land a great new job, you are in the honeymoon zone.

If there is a long commute you don’t mind because you are so pumped to have such an opportunity.

A few weeks later, when you are stuck in traffic for an hour, it starts to wear you down.

A few months later, you start looking for a new job.

Be honest with yourself now.

What is acceptable and not acceptable in terms of location?

Are you comfortable with the company culture and working environment?

Company culture is the sum of an organisation’s attitudes, ideals, and attributes.

It may or may not be expressly written but it can always be observed by the actions and behaviour’s of its employees.

By this stage, you will have experienced it firsthand through the interview process.

Did you feel comfortable and feel you would fit in?

To back this up you could go to Google reviews of the company or Glassdoor but beware!

Typically, the people who leave comments have some grievance whilst those that are happy don’t.

This can give you a false impression of the company.

Instead, check out the company’s social presence.

Are their posts showing teamwork, calling out individuals’ achievements, celebrating milestones together, depicting work events?

Go to their website and check the wording.

Do they emphasise diversity, inclusion, and a meritocratic structure?

Check current employees on LinkedIn. How long have they stayed and what sort of people are they?

Include a review of the company perks too because these will tell you a lot about the organisation and whether you will fit.

For example, if you love dogs and they have a ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ policy you will fit in fine.

But if they terrify you, that probably won’t work.

Have you met your potential new co-workers?

This is definitely in the 'follow your gut' category

Ask yourself how you felt in their company?

What kind of interaction did you observe between staff members while waiting in reception?

Check your potential co-workers out on social media.

What hobbies and interests do they have?

How do they express themselves in likes and comments?

You will be spending a lot of time with these people  - probably more than with your family and friends.

You don't have to love them.

But you do need to be able to work with them.

Is there an appropriate level of career advancement opportunity available?

Finally, does the company have the opportunity for you to grow and learn?

Are there examples of people who have risen through the ranks?

Do they support tuition reimbursement and continuous professional development?

Key Takeaways

We are of course talking about the ideal world here.

The one where you don’t have to take any job that is offered due to need or scarcity or perhaps both.

Our age, skills, and personal circumstances will naturally dictate how flexible we can be.

But if you do have the luxury of choice, here are the overriding emotions you should feel for each question that will make you accept rather than reject a job offer.

Right company – would you feel proud to say you work there?

Right role –  does it give you a genuine sense of excitement and betterment?

Right for you – will it make you happy because it ticks most of the boxes on a personal level?

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About the Author

A career coach, headhunter, Amanda has founded and been involved in developing multiple companies known for innovative HR and recruitment solutions. Originally from London but now in Queensland, Australia, she is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice

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