10 questions before you accept a job offer (part 2)

If you’ve just been offered what seems to be a plum job, or your very first job, the thought of being a bit choosy at this late stage may be the furthest thing from your mind - but bear with us on this one! In the second part of our guide to accepting a job offer, here are five more questions to get straight before you accept a job offer. (Missed part 1? Start here.)

6. Is it going to get me out of bed in the morning?

Obviously, a decent salary will be a big factor in accepting a job offer.  But it shouldn’t be the only reason. To succeed and develop, you’ll need something stimulating, challenging (stressful even, but manageably so). Try taking money out of the equation: do you think you will still find it enjoyable and something you can take pride in?

7. Will it help my career?

It’s possible that you may not be expecting your job to be enjoyable. Perhaps you are thinking of sacrificing your short-term job satisfaction for a job that is a stepping stone to something else you really want to do?

If this is the case, be sure that it offers a genuine opportunity for you to progress and develop. Will it give your CV a boost in the right direction? Does this employer offer a defined route towards your goal? Will you be learning relevant and essential on-the-job skills that will position you well for what you really want to do?

If there is good evidence of benefits that will help your career, make sure you periodically review what you have learned and whether you are still learning. This will help you stay focused on your goal, and stop you drifting into a comfortable rut.  Meanwhile, keep on looking for that job you really want.

8. Am I biting off more than I can chew?

The thrill of landing a job can make you feel like you can do anything! A job that stretches your limits somewhat is ideal – but you need to be honest with yourself if you suspect it may be beyond your present capacity. Overly stressful jobs are not stimulating – they are bad for your health, personal life and career. Take a good look at what the position requires of you. If you really don’t think you can meet the targets set, don’t assume you’ll be able to wing it when the time comes. The chances are you won’t.

9. Can I trust my employer?

Unfortunately, it is not unheard of (particularly in the current economic climate) for employers to keep recruiting staff when they are struggling to stay afloat, only to announce job losses or even go bust shortly after. And more often than not, it’s a case of ‘last in, first out’ – not least because you are not legally entitled to a redundancy payment until you have been working for them for two years. Finding yourself back jobhunting so soon is thoroughly frustrating, disappointing and demoralising.

You can find out more on workSMART about the situation concerning redundancy and what happens if your employer goes bust, but your best defence here is to do some research upfront into the financial welfare of the employer .

10. What’s in my contract?

In 2015, the shape of UK employment practice continues its worrying trend towards more casualised forms of work, typified by zero-hours contracts. Unscrupulous employers are keen to avoid granting workers their basic rights to paid annual leave, sick pay and guaranteed hours of work. You can check the terms of your contract with the basic employment rights outlined in workSMART’s Work Rights section to make sure you are happy with the terms of your contract before signing anything. Thankfully, there are also many employers who offer better terms that the statutory minimum.

For more job-related tips and information on applications, interviews and more, see workSMART’s Careers Advice section.  

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