So you’ve received a job offer from a great employer – congratulations! The excitement and relief that floods your mind during this time is well-deserved, and you can breathe a little easier knowing you have locked down a role. But before you rush to accept the offer, there are some important topics you need to consider and come to terms with.
Below are 8 items you need to assess and potentially negotiate with your future employer before you accept the job. These are all things I glossed over, but retrospectively wish I didn’t, when accepting my first job!
1. Paid Time Off (PTO)
This includes vacation days, sick days, and potentially personal days and/or floating holidays. Traditionally, the standard for entry-level positions was 10 days of vacation, but this varies across industries. Additionally, the rising propensity of startup culture has influenced many companies to adopt a more generous approach to PTO, from requiring a minimum number of days taken off to offering unlimited vacation days. Research your industry standard and compare that to what is offered at your job.
2. Ability to Work Remote
With greater reliance on technology such as conference calls, Microsoft Lync (the work equivalent of instant messaging), and emails, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely (in other words, work from home). This added flexibility could be extremely important to those of you who are working mothers or fathers, or prefer the option of working in the comfort of your own home from time to time. This is a benefit that is very telling of the work culture of your firm.
Understanding how long a typical work day will be is important in helping you understand the kind of work-life balance you will be able to maintain. The traditional 9 to 5 job means you will be working 40 hours a week. At the job you’ve been offered, will you be working 40? 50? 60? Getting an idea of when busy seasons occur and how much overtime you will work is important in considering your personal well-being.
Related to the number of hours you will be working is how long your commute to and from work will be on a daily basis, because this will add to the time you are away from home. An hour long commute each way might sound do-able, but thinking about a one-hour commute versus actually sitting in traffic in the mornings and evenings are completely different things. Also, consider the mode of transportation: will you be taking the bus or train, and relying on a set schedule that allows little room for hitting the snooze button once in a while? Will you be driving, and if so, will you need to pay for a parking structure?
5. Development Opportunities
How important is career development to you? Does the company offer a clear career path, reasonably timed promotions, and other development opportunities? When you look at current employees, do you see a clear track record of the company rewarding good performance, recognizing contributions, and being open to new initiatives? If you are interested in certifications and/or higher education, does the company provide tuition reimbursement programs?
6. Exit Opportunities
Similarly to development opportunities, it is critical to think about next steps, should you ever leave the company. Have past employees gained enough experience and transferable skills to successfully transition into new roles at respectable companies? You want to make sure you will experience professional growth at your new job so that you will be valuable not only within your new role, but also in future roles.
7. Office Culture
Take a moment to reflect on your personality and preferences. Do you feel energized when you are around large groups of people and socializing, or do you need time at the end of a long day to recharge on your own? If you are extroverted, you may prefer a more social office culture that has open office spaces and shared desks; see if team members have frequent happy hours, group lunches, and team off-sites. If you are introverted, you may prefer individual cubicles and private space, and less frequent social or weekend work activities. How you work is just as important as the type of work you do.
8. Company Direction
Something most people forget to think about is the trajectory of the company. Is it experiencing growth, or at least remaining stable? How is the industry faring? These questions are important because this might affect your job security. If your company goes bankrupt or is acquired by a competitor, you may lose your job and it may take months to find another one.
9. Your Boss (or Bosses)
Last, but not least, pay particular attention to the interactions or interviews you had with your future boss during the recruiting process. You will be working closely with your boss, so it’s important to build a good relationship with him or her. If you feel that there are critical clashes in personality between the two of you, you need to think carefully about whether or not this job offer is the best opportunity for you.
There are definitely many important things to think about before choosing to accept a job offer, and Forbes, The Muse, and Salary.com have some great tips as well. What are some other things you’ve thought about or negotiated before saying yes to the job offer? Let me know below, and feel free to ask any questions you might have!
Keep on Crushin’,