9 questions to ask before accepting a new job offer

Sep 30, 2021

I often say looking for a job is like having a part-time job. Because it’s such a big investment of your time and energy.

If you’ve made it to the stage of getting a job offer, congratulations.

You’ve spent lots of time searching for opportunities and reaching out to your network. Perfecting your resume to get it to the top of the pile. You nailed your interviews and passed all background checks with flying colours!

Now, you’ve got a major decision to make. One which will impact your daily life, job satisfaction and future job prospects.

Then the doubt starts creeping in… Is this the right role? What if I accept and make a BIG mistake?

Yet the truth is, there are no guarantees in life. All you can do is make the best choice for you in any given moment. Regardless if you have one job offer — or are lucky enough to be considering many options!

After coaching hundreds of professionals through the job offer process, I know the power of asking the right questions.

Here are nine questions to ask before accepting a new job offer. They’ll help you reduce risk and minimise making any mistakes with your next career move.

 

#1 — CAN I HAVE THE OFFER IN WRITING?

Feeling under pressure to make a quick decision is one reason people end up accepting the ‘wrong’ role. Asking for a written offer gives you room to reflect on the opportunity and make the right choice.

If you receive a job offer and are happy with the terms in principle, give your verbal acceptance. Then, ask for the offer in writing. Most companies won’t issue an employment contract without this level of commitment.

This gives you the security of a written offer but also more control over the process. It usually takes a couple of days to prepare the contract. Plus, you can ask for extra time to review the employment terms.

This gives you adequate time and space to consider the opportunity. And reduces the likelihood you’ll make the wrong decision, which is of benefit to both parties.

However, always ask your potential employer when they need an answer — and respect their timeframes. Request more time if you need but be careful not to mess them around. They may have other candidates under consideration.

#2 — WHAT DO I WANT?

Get clear on your vision for your ideal future career and what you’re working towards. Your vision determines your career objectives and allows you to weigh up whether a specific job is right for you. Ask yourself: does this role support my long-term career goals?

Identify your non-negotiables at work. These are the external factors important to you, including your desired income and lifestyle.

Plus, the work related elements essential for high performance which keep you motivated to reach your goals. Your daily tasks, work drivers, team, clients and ideal work environment.

#3 — IS THIS ROLE THE RIGHT FIT FOR ME?

As well as clarifying what you want, consider who you are. These internal factors form the foundations of a fulfilling and sustainable career.

Does this position align with your purpose and personal values? The impact you want to make, the ‘why’ behind your work and what’s important to you in life.

Assess whether the role will support your strengths, skills and passions. Is this the work you’re good at and love to do? Can you add value in this job?

Finally, evaluate whether the team and company are the right cultural fit for you. Are the organisation’s mission and strategic goals aligned with what you want? Do their values support your own?

#4 — WHAT ARE THE DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES?

Determine if the role supports your long-term career goals. Is there room to progress within the current team structure — if this is important?

Consider whether the company culture supports career growth. Do they actively invest in developing their people? Or promote opportunities for employees to transition internally or grow their careers with the business?

This question is commonly addressed at interview. But if you haven’t asked or need further clarification, do so now!

#5 — CAN I WORK WITH MY FUTURE BOSS?

Whilst you don’t need to be best friends with your boss, a relationship built on mutual respect is important. To the best of your knowledge, can you see yourself working well with this person?

Reflect on their personality and leadership style. Is it one you could work with — even if it’s different to your own? Do you genuinely like them and see potential to learn from them?

If you’re not sure or have any doubts at this stage, explore them. Talk to your future manager about how they like to work and communicate. Speak to other team members about their experience.

#6 — HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS?

How does your prospective employer measure performance? It’s critical to understand expectations and your KPI’s before accepting any role. Make sure you’re clear on and comfortable with what you’re working towards.

Especially if you’ve negotiated a pay review or promotion within a certain timeframe. Like a salary increase or review after completing your six month probationary period. And if you do agree specific terms such as this — always get them in writing!

#7 — AM I HAPPY WITH THE TERMS?

Check the salary package is commensurate with your level and experience. Are you happy with the pay, hours and all other employment terms? If not, negotiate!

The best time to secure a competitive salary package is when starting a new position. Don’t accept an offer without asking for what you want. And of course, never agree to any terms you’re not comfortable with.

#8 — ARE THERE ANY RED FLAGS?

Before accepting an offer, look for any warning signs. Ask yourself: Have I done my due diligence to the best of my ability? Talk to the team and past employees to remove any concerns and get all your questions answered.

Have you had at least three career conversations? As part of your job search, I recommend speaking to people doing work (or elements of work) you’re interested in. This gives you an understanding of possible opportunities and what you want, to help you make the right decision.

#9 — IS IT A HELL YES?

Get out of your mind, tap into your body and do a final check-in. Pay attention to how this opportunity feels (you may call it a gut feeling or your intuition). Is it a hell YES?!

If not, what are your doubts? Make sure you’ve addressed them or tried to negotiate. Consider: is this something I’m willing to compromise on — or is it a non-negotiable?

What’s your priority right NOW? And will this role get you one step closer to where you want to go? Before accepting, check the opportunity supports your long-term vision and what you want.

Receiving a job offer can be overwhelming and put you under pressure to make the ‘right’ decision. These questions help my clients gain clarity and make the right career choices. I hope they support you too!

Want a powerful decision-making tool to help you accept the right offer and make the correct career choices?

Register for this free career masterclass HERE to get started!

Stacey Back is a Career Strategist, Leadership Coach + Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achieving corporate leaders and business owners at a mid-career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms.

Stacey also supports professionals to transition from their corporate job into their own consulting business. She works virtually with individuals based across the globe.