Whether you’re unemployed, hate your current job, or you’re simply looking for new opportunities, feeling compelled to jump at the first job opportunity that comes your way is an understandable reaction.
But as Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, and author of “Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad,” points out, by accepting one opportunity, you may be leaving others — perhaps better ones — behind.
“Many candidates jump in feet first largely out of fear — especially fear that another opportunity may not come their way again,” explains Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work.” Kerr says he’s also seen people take jobs simply because of the effort they invested in the application and interviewing process.
“But a job is a serious, multi-year commitment,” Kahn says. “Before you say ‘yes,’ make sure you’ve done your homework and can feel confident in your decision.”
Here are 15 questions you should always ask yourself before accepting a new job:
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Is this the kind of workplace culture in which I would thrive and be happy?
“Employers tend to stress the financial and obvious overt benefits of a job when they are hiring (think: salary, pension, and medical benefits), and it’s all too easy as a candidate to only focus on that — forgetting that survey after survey shows that other workplace factors have a far bigger impact on employees’ happiness levels,” Kerr explains.
Intangible cultural issues around factors like trust and respect are enormous, and although they can be hard to assess from the outside, it’s critical you try and get a clear picture of the type of culture you’ll be working in and whether it’s an environment that will support you and make you feel good about coming in to work each day. Employee review sites like Glassdoor are a good place to start figuring that out.
Does this employer or job align with my personal values?
It’s easy, sometimes even necessary, to take a job anywhere in the short term for economic reasons. But if this is a position you hope to stay in for some time, you need to ensure there’s an alignment with your personal values, because a mismatch will eventually eat away at your personal integrity (and no amount of money will compensate for that), Kerr says.
To determine values, Wharton professor and “Originals” author Adam Grant suggests asking someone at the company to tell a story about something that happened at their organization that wouldn’t elsewhere.
While listening, zero in on the principles the speakers show are important through their actions, like justice and fairness, safety and security, and control over destiny and influence in the organization.
What are others saying about this company?
It’s important to evaluate what others inside and outside of the company are saying about it, Kahn says. By joining this company you’ll become a representative of its brand, and its actions will reflect on you.