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8 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer

A few things to consider before you sign.

Witthaya Prasongsin/ Getty Images
Witthaya Prasongsin/ Getty Images

By Maurie Backman

Getting a job offer is certainly something to celebrate. But before you rush to say yes, you’ll need to address key questions. Here are some of the most crucial ones.

1. Is the salary fair?

Though money isn’t everything with a job, it’s certainly important to consider. Before you accept a job offer, make sure the salary is reasonable given your experience level and the industry. If you’re not sure off the bat, job site Glassdoor has a helpful “Know Your Worth” tool that lets you compare salary data by job title and region (keeping in mind that you might get paid more if you work in a major city, compared to a smaller one). Take a look at the going rate for your industry and make sure your offer stacks up. If it doesn’t, negotiate before saying yes.

2. How are the benefits?

Your salary is only one component of your total compensation package. Before accepting a job offer, make sure the benefits are decent as well. Some of the things you might look for include employer-subsidized health insurance, paid time off and a 401(k) plan with a company match. Other nice perks (though less common) include free meals, in-office wellness programs and gym subsidies. Review your benefits thoroughly, and ask questions if you’re unsure what they entail. You don’t want to take a job whose benefits leave much to be desired.

3. Is the environment right for me?

Though your salary, benefits and job description are apt to be major drivers in your decision, don’t discount the importance of company culture. If you’re not the corporate type, for example, you could wind up quite unhappy in a buttoned-up, business suit environment — so make sure the culture aligns with your needs and expectations. You can seek out anonymous company reviews on sites like Glassdoor.

4. Will the commute make me miserable?

Unless your new job offer comes with the option to work from home, you’ll need to consider the impact your commute will have on your schedule. An hourlong, traffic-snarled drive twice a day might turn an otherwise great opportunity into a downright horrendous experience, so take that into account before accepting. If you’re not sure, give it a trial run before saying yes. Get in the car (or on the train or bus) during rush hour and trace your steps from door to door. If you find yourself irritated from the get-go, it’s a sign that your commute might be a deal breaker.

5. Is the company thriving?

Maybe you’re being presented with an appealing offer at a seemingly solid company. But how well is that business really doing? Has it been adding jobs consistently, or has its staff been shrinking? This is information you’ll want to dig up before saying yes, because if you take a job at a failing company, you could wind up unemployed in the not-so-distant future.

6. Is there room for growth?

Even if you’re looking at a job whose description interests you, don’t fall into the trap of accepting a dead-end role. Rather, take a look at the company’s organizational chart to ensure that you have a viable career path within the business. If you’re dealing with a start-up or emerging business, your growth opportunities may not be as easy to spot or rule out, but dig around and ask questions before pigeonholing yourself and regretting it later.

7. Does my boss seem like a good person to work for?

A good manager can make or break your work experience. Before agreeing to a role, learn about your boss’ management style and get a sense of what the expectations might be. This will give you an idea whether you’re dealing with someone reasonable versus someone who will make your life miserable.

8. Is this role a better fit than my current one?

If you’re unemployed and desperate for work, this question clearly won’t apply. But if you already have a decent job, make sure it really pays to jump ship. Before accepting another offer, list the pros and cons of each opportunity and compare. You may find that you’re better off staying put, boosting your skills and trying to grow within your current company than taking a chance elsewhere.

Taking a new job isn’t a decision to make on a whim. Run through these questions and come up with solid answers before moving forward, and you’ll be better positioned to choose.

This article was originally published on The Motley Fool. It is reprinted with permission.

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