Of course you want to make the right choice. You didn’t come this far to get stuck with a low-paying job or one that doesn’t challenge you. You want a salary your mom’s eyes will widen over, a benefits package your friends wish they had, perks to die for, a boss who has your back, and co-workers who want to see you succeed. Okay, it would be fantastic to have all of those things, but more than anything you want to know that the chair you’re sitting in at work is the chair you’re meant to be in.
Well, unless you’re given a pretty good sign, you’ll need faith, intuition, and research on the company whose offer you’re evaluating in order to make a wise decision. Even though times may be rough and working anywhere but a coffee shop may seem fine to you, you still should analyze any and all job offers. Not all jobs are worth taking. Making the right decision becomes even more important when you’re considering moving away to take a position or accepting a professional position that really doesn’t fall in line with your career goals.
Consider the following when evaluating a company and its job offer:
- The Industry
- History of growth
- Predictable future need for goods and services
- Degrees of dependence on business trends
- The Organization
- Prestige and reputation
- Growth potential
- Financial stability
- Quality of management team
- The Job
- Training programs
- Day-to-day activities
- Amount of stress/pressure
- Requirements to relocate, travel
- Requirements to work long hours/weekends
- Opportunity for advancement or individual achievement
- Benefits package
- Involvement with supervisor, peer associates
- Physical work environment
- Social significance of work
- Pace of work
- Opportunity for continuing education/training
- General Lifestyle
- Your comfort with the organization’s goals/philosophy
- Geographic location of company
- Recreational and cultural facilities near the company
- Proximity of educational institutions for further study
Other important factors to consider
- Your boss’s personality and management style. Research has found that more than anything else, your relationship with your boss will dictate how happy you are at work. Glean what you can through observance and specifically asking about their management style and the key qualities they are looking for in an employee.
- The existence of a work-life policy or family-friendly practices. Many companies have family-friendly policies or systems in place that promote work-life balance, such as flexible work hours, the option to telecommute on certain days, and paid maternity leave. Other companies can make having a life outside of work seemingly impossible. While you should be expected to work hard, it’s really not healthy to feel as if you are tied to your desk 24/7. Through speaking with current employees (always ask what an average work day is like); asking questions about what’s expected of someone in your position (including the normal hours you would be working); and reviewing the company’s HR materials, you can get a better idea of what your work life will really be like.
- The overall ethnic diversity of management and staff. No matter your ethnicity, working within a company that has a demonstrable commitment to diversity is important. This doesn’t mean every race/culture on the planet needs to be represented, just that everyone doesn’t look like you. Interacting and building relationships with professionals of varied cultural backgrounds will help enhance your career in the long term and better prepare you for the global workforce.
- What is deemed professional and unprofessional as far as styles of dress, hairstyles, and jewelry. Will you go into work every day feeling like you just don’t fit in? Looking professional is expected in any environment, but if you feel like you have to change too many things about yourself to look “professional enough” at a certain company, you might not be comfortable working there.
It’s good to get other people’s opinions on the job offers you receive, but the final choice will be yours. People determine how good a job offer is according to their own values and goals, and you must do the same. What is worth more to you? Money? Work-life balance? Autonomy? Do you want the chance to rise in the ranks, or do you really just want something that will keep you busy and provide a steady paycheck? There’s no wrong or right answer; just think about the kind of person you are and the type of environment you will be comfortable in. A person who truly hates working in teams will probably despise a job that requires them to constantly assist on team projects. Someone who has no sense of time doesn’t need to be in a deadline-driven environment. An ambitious person has no place in a company that hardly ever promotes from within. Also, consider your gut feeling about the company. You know, that little voice that says there’s something funny going on with this company or that you and your potential boss probably won’t get along.
After your interview, reflect on your initial thoughts about the company. What positive aspects of the company stood out? What did you find odd? Did you feel like you wouldn’t fit in right after you met the person who may become your boss? Did the employees look or act like the last people you’d want to work with, or did they make you want to start working with them off-the-clock? You should take all these issues into consideration when you’re evaluating a job offer.