When you’ve sent out dozens of resumes and interviewed almost as many times, finally receiving a job offer feels like the ultimate reward. But just because someone offers you a job doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take it.
An interview not only helps your potential employer get to know you, it’s also an opportunity for you to get to know them and the position. You really can’t make up your mind about a job until after the interview. Think back to that interview and think through how it all went before accepting the position right away. Here are a few important questions to consider as you do this!
1. What is expected of me up front?
Sometimes people get so excited about a professional opportunity that they forget to ask the basics, like, “When do I start?” or “What would my first few weeks look like, in terms of day to day tasks?” Don’t feel shy about nailing down these types of specifics. You’re actually doing your employer a favor by taking the initiative and asking them to make sure that your expectations are being met.
2. Am I happy with the salary?
Believe it or not, a job’s salary doesn’t always come up in the initial interview. If your interviewer skirts around it in later sessions too, you may need to ask point-blank what the salary is. Once you have these fundamental questions answered, then it’s time to decide if you feel comfortable with what is on offer. If not, let that be a discussion with your recruiter or interviewer before you give a “yes” or “no.”
3. Do I feel comfortable with the perceived company culture?
Granted, you can’t step into an office and immediately feel whether its employees are content or totally burnt out, but you can usually get an idea. If it’s possible for you to walk through the main part of the office, do so and see how the other employees are working. Whether you’re a nose-to-the-grindstone type or a social butterfly, you should be able to get an idea of where your potential colleagues fall on the spectrum. You can also ask your interviewer about any efforts the company takes to consciously create a welcoming work environment.
4. How do I feel about the company as a whole?
Even if you land your dream job, your glee won’t last for very long if the company is a sinking ship. Consider how others view the company -- job boards often allow former and current employees to rate the company and give a brief description of their experience. If you have any friends already working here, use them as a resource, too.
5. Do I see an opportunity for professional growth?
On a similar note, you should figure out whether or not there’s room for professional growth within the company. The best way to do this is probably by simply asking your interviewers. See what kinds of job opportunities are available at levels above your current position, and inquire about what the turnover is like. This not only gives you a better understanding of how you could potentially move up in the company, but also indicates if current employees are happy working at the company.