There is nothing better than getting offered what sounds like a dream job. That is especially true in this tough economy, where job offers can be hard to find.
But no matter how good the offer sounds, no matter how much the pay is, no matter how desperate the circumstances, job candidates should always take a little bit of time think it over.
Most experts recommend that a job candidate take a day to consider an offer. Job candidates should spend this time figuring out if the offer truly is right for them.
The following guidelines are precautionary, but they can also prevent problems from happening down the line.
· Get the offer in writing whenever possible. A written offer should spell out the important terms of the job and the candidate’s obligations to the company. Job candidates should make sure the job title, salary, and benefits match or improve upon what was originally offered. If there is a contradiction, it is ok to ask about the differences.
· Job candidates should have a clear understanding of job responsibilities. While some job responsibilities may seem obvious, it is important to know what the company expects before starting the job.
· Job candidates can ask if there is a written job description for the position. Many jobs have such written job descriptions that spell out responsibilities on both sides. Responsibilities usually equate to expectations.
· It’s not a bad idea for a job candidate to try and understand how a department fits into the company as a whole. Understanding intra-departmental protocol can help newcomers fit in better.
· It’s also good to know about future possibilities. For example, is there room for advancement? Can an employee transfer between departments? Does there seem to be much flexibility?
· Job candidates need to thoroughly understand what they are looking for in a particular job. A way to pay the bills? A step on a career path?
· It’s important for one to know their limitations. Just because someone got through the interview doesn’t mean they will be good on the job. If the skill set and the job description don’t match, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out.
· How was the rapport during the interviewers? Although every company is made up of individuals, each recruiter also serves as a representative. If any of the interviewers acted less than professional or left an uneasy feeling, the candidate should think twice before accepting an offer.
· Get a sense not only of the individuals at the company but the office culture as a whole. Was there a buzz of energy upon entrance, or was there dead silence? Is it the type of environment that would foster concentration? Was there personality to the office?
· Find out the hours. Many job candidates accept a job without knowing what kind of time commitment it will involve. Ask the recruiter, how many hours a week is standard. Is overtime paid for or included in base salary? In many positions, new employees are expected to work a 50-hour week. That may be ok if it is known in advance.
· As for vacation, sometimes two weeks means ten days, sometimes it means fourteen. Be sure to clarify. More often than not, companies have set-in-stone policies about vacation and sick days. Find out the policy about earning vacation days. In most cases, new employees have to wait three months.
In evaluating job offers, job candidates should take the time to make sure that they are making the decision for reasons they are comfortable with. This will usually lead a candidate to take the job they actually want. Keep in mind that being up front will save both time and money down the road. The more clarity about the situation, the more likely a candidate will stick to the position taken.