Should You Take the Job or Hold Out for Something Better?
“We’ve decided to make you an offer.”
After sending out dozens of résumés and enduring grueling rounds of interviews, these are usually the seven words job seekers hope to hear.
Being offered a job is a big win, but people are hesitant to accept a job when there’s a nagging doubt in the back of their minds. While experienced professionals are aware that not every offer will be perfect, they have to weigh whether the offer is better than a current job, worth relocating or taking a pay cut for or is a good entry to a new field.
So how do you decide whether to take the offer or hold out for something better? Here are eight questions to ask yourself before accepting:
Can I do better?
There’s a reason you were offered the position, so make sure the job is worth your while. Is it a good opportunity based on your level of experience and skill set? If you think you’ll be bored after two days, consider holding out for a better offer.
Do I know enough about the company?
While you’ve likely read company reviews on Glassdoor and checked the company’s social media profiles, your best bet for an in-depth look is via current or former employees. Contacting them to ask about their experiences with the company can lend insight into what your daily life might look like — and whether the quirks and perks are things you’d like to sign on for.
Do I feel secure going to work for this company?
Has the company had a difficult time with employee turnover? Have you heard about recent restructuring? These could be red flags that the company isn’t the most secure option.
If you’re unsure whether you should accept the job, research the company thoroughly to help solidify your decision. Google to determine whether it has recently (or ever) had layoffs or is planning to offer new products that would potentially indicate hiring or growth. If it’s a public company, check its stock price and financials to assess its financial health.
During the interview ask the hiring manager about the role’s history and turnover rate as well as its future. Much like a hiring manager might ask where you’d like to be in five years, ask about company goals and trends. Once you ask what projects you’d be trained on immediately, inquire about how the role or department may grow.
Of course, don’t ask sticky financial questions during your interview (it may sink your otherwise shining impression).
Will I enjoy the job, and will I be a good fit?
Everybody has to make money, and many people will accept and endure less-than-ideal jobs to pay the bills. But if you can afford to wait, hold out for a position that will make you happy.
When you interview for a job, get a feel for the “other duties as assigned” that may land in your inbox, and try to pick up on the culture as you walk the halls. Are you the missing puzzle piece, or does it feel like you’re not really clicking with your interviewers? If you don’t mesh well with the company, your department, or your new boss, you may want to wait for the next opportunity.
Am I overvaluing the opportunity?
You’re drawn to the company, but the opportunity isn’t a fit. How do you distinguish one from the other? Ask yourself what you really like and dislike about the job, regardless of the brand attached. Would you accept this position if it were being offered by a company without the name recognition? What does the career path look like — and how many other people are fighting their way up the ladder?
Keep in mind that well-known companies can often get away with paying people less because these businesses are aware that their names will look great on a résumé.
Have I negotiated the best deal?
A PayScale survey found that 57 percent of workers have never negotiated for a higher salary. If you decide the company’s a good fit, try to sweeten the pot. Salary, stocks, benefits, vacation days and insurance are negotiable in many cases, and it’s important that you don’t leave anything on the table.
If you’re not experienced in negotiating your own packages, consider using a headhunter to negotiate on your behalf. If there isn’t one available to represent you, you can also hire an interview coach to help you prepare for salary negotiations.
Does this job fit my personal life?
If a job will have a significant impact on your personal life, think carefully before you accept the offer. A long commute or a requirement to work weekends can be a big drawback. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons. This includes talking it over with your family or the people who will be directly affected by your new job.
Do I really want to leave my current employer?
Consider everything you like about your current job, from your 10-minute commute to the co-workers you meet for happy hour. Ask yourself whether you’ve exhausted your options at your current job — have you pursued more responsibility or negotiated for a raise, or have you just hoped that someone would notice and offer those things? If you’re leaving for perks you could negotiate for and be equally happy, you may not need to leave.
Contrary to popular advice, if you really like your current employer but simply want growth or more money, letting your employer know that you’re considering another offer may torpedo your chances of getting what you want — and land you a spot at the top of the “expendables” list.
These questions are important to consider because the last thing you want to do is start a job you’re not really into, only to leave a few weeks later for the job you should have held out for. This can put a strain on your relationships, and word travels fast in small industries.
Carefully weighing your options will give you more confidence in your choice and help you choose the position that’s best for you.
Melissa Cooper is the executive vice president of the writer network at Top Résumé, a Talent Inc. company. A triple-certified résumé writer and dual-certified HR professional holding both SPHR and PHR designations, Melissa has eight years of executive recruiting experience and over six years of professional résumé-writing experience.