If you’re offered a job, the first instinct is to accept it right away. After all, getting a job is hard, and if someone wants to give you one, you should feel grateful and not turn your nose up at it, right?
It’s understandable why some think this way, and there are times when you should accept a job, even if there are problems. However, you’re going to be locked into this job for a good while if you want to keep your reputation, so before you accept the job offer, think about it critically.
The truth is that you should never accept a job offer immediately. Ask your potential employer how long you have to accept the job offer, and do some research. There are a few factors to think about before you sign the contract, such as:
What Are Similar Jobs Offering?
Take a look at sites such as Glassdoor to see what similar jobs are offering. Glassdoor is a good way to determine the average salary of a position, and you can determine if the job offer is paying well enough. It’s also worth looking around local job sites in your area to see what else is out there.
If you find a job near your area that’s similar and offers more, apply to that as well. Having two companies interested in you is a good bargaining chip, a way to get everything you’ve wanted before the contract is signed.
What is the Company You’ll be Working for?
You have a plethora of information available for you, and you have no excuse when it comes to doing some research about the company you’ll be working for. Maybe the company has been doing something shady that conflicts with your values.
Perhaps the company is known for mistreating their employees, and you can find some horror stories from former workers. You can look at the company’s revenue, and if they’re going downhill, there’s always a chance you’ll get laid off, or sink with the company itself.
You should always research the company before you join. It’s fun to go into something blind and learn along the way, but you should never do this with major life decisions such as a job.
Negotiate and Learn About the Policies
Negotiating with HR is important before you accept any job offer. The job may sound great at first, but once you’re in, you find yourself working for a job with little time off, little opportunities, and unfair pay.
Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, talk with HR about the specifics, such as vacation time, salary, positions, payment, and any other concerns you have. They want to have you on board, so if you negotiate for a better pay, you may be able to get more than you would have if you accepted the offer immediately.
Should I Really Negotiate?
Some think that if you negotiate your offer, it’s not a good idea, as it will offend your employer. They say accepting to job is the best strategy, and then you can try to change things later on. That’s a myth. While every employer is different, most will respect you for wanting a better deal.
Just don’t make your expectations too unrealistic and they won’t care too much.
Tie Up Any Loose Ends
If the job offer does look good, and you’re ready to start, don’t forget to tie up any loose ends before you accept. If you want some time to finish your previous job, get some time to yourself, or tell your other potential employers you’re not interested, now is the time to do so.
Accepting right away may prevent you from doing those things.
How to Say No
So you did your research, and you discover the job offer isn’t for you. Maybe your negotiations didn’t work, or you found yourself a better offer somewhere else. How do you say no without offending the employer?
Don’t be rude about it. Early in the offer, admit your concerns and try to fix them, but if they don’t, calmly explain why you’re not the best fit for the job. Don’t end things by sounding like you’re better than them, because by ending the offer in a civil manner, it can keep the door open.
The job may not have the resources to give you everything you want now, but the future is always a possibility.
If You Need the Job
If the job isn’t satisfactory, but you really need one, tell your employer that this job will be short-lived. Work for them about six months, while you try to find a job that is better suited for you. Odds are, they’ll be happy to have you on board for a short time, and may try to sweeten the deal once it’s time for you to leave.
Never settle for less, even at a period where you think you should be grateful.
Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.