When you finally get the offer you've been waiting on, you might feel an urge to sign the dotted line as quickly as possible (especially if you're trying to leave a not-so-stellar work environment). But no matter how anxious you are to pack your bags, it's worth taking a step back to think about whether or not it's really the right move for you. Switching jobs is a pretty big decision after all — it shouldn't be based solely on a desire to leave your current position.
While it can be an anxious time, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help guide your decision. Before signing an offer, ask yourself these seven questions:
1. Are you being offered fair compensation?
You might feel uncomfortable, or even guilty, questioning the salary and benefits package you're being offered for a job you're excited about, but it's well worth investigating. Too often, people sell themselves short, which can lead to resentment and dissatisfaction.
Take a look at what your skills are worth, as well as what other companies typically pay for similar roles. Then compare that to your potential employer's offer. If there's a significant gap that the company is unwilling to compromise on, you may need to think long and hard about whether it's really the right fit for you. Remember: It's not just about a bigger paycheck — it's about ensuring that your company properly values what you bring to the table.
2. Do employees generally stick around for a while?
No one knows what it's like to work at a company as well as current employees do. And if they're leaving in droves, that's a sign that you should steer clear of this opportunity. Employers likely won't share turnover numbers with you if you ask outright, but there are ways to get that information more indirectly.
Asking why the current position opened up, for example, can help shed some light on whether there are any larger cultural problems going on, as can looking through company reviews and reaching out to former employees.
3. Do you like your potential manager?
Confession time: I once turned down a job that offered a great salary, meaningful and interesting work and talented coworkers all because I knew the manager and I wouldn't get along. After my would-be boss started out the interview by a) forgetting my name, b) admitting he hadn't read my resume and c) telling me that he struggled to pay attention for more than 30 seconds at a time, I knew I was out.
If you can barely make it through a 30-minute interview with your potential supervisor, spending eight hours a day with them is going to be nearly impossible. To avoid this, secure some significant one-on-one time with them during the interview process to gauge your feelings. You don't need to see BFF potential in your boss, but being able to successfully work with and learn from them will go a long way towards making sure you enjoy coming into the office every day.
4. Does the company strive to improve?
Even the best companies have occasional drawbacks. So the question's not whether or not those problems exist — it's how they respond to them. If you notice a pattern of reviews mentioning a particular problem going back months or years, that's a red flag.
Instead, you want to see companies that acknowledge constructive criticism and demonstrating concrete action. I'll take a company that openly admits its challenges and works to overcome them, over one that claims to have no major issues any day of the week.
5. Will you have room for growth?
Interviewers love to ask "where do you see yourself in five years," so why not flip that question right back at them? Asking how they see your role evolving in the next few years is a great way to assess whether they think your position has upward momentum with opportunities for increased leadership and responsibilities. Changing jobs (ideally) only happens once in a while, so when you do make a move, it's important to find a role that will take you a few steps closer to your overall career goals.
6. How's the company doing?
A great job offer is essentially useless if you're just going to be let go in six months. One way to make sure that doesn't happen? Verifying that the company you're applying to is on stable financial footing.
Don't be fooled by flashy office digs or a high salary. Do some independent research in company reviews, business publications and during your interview. While you don't want to get too specific — requesting quarterly earnings numbers in an interview is a definite faux pas — asking how the company has been doing and where they're heading is totally fair game.
7. Be honest — do you really want it?
A recruiter once told me that when it comes to assessing job candidates, a soft yes is really a no. And the same holds true for job seekers. Barring extraordinary circumstances, your decision to switch jobs shouldn't be motivated by anything other than genuine enthusiasm. High salary, a prestigious name or cool perks alone just aren't worth it.
When you spend about a third of your life at work, you want to make sure you enjoy it as much as possible. Granted, it may take a little longer to search for the right fit, but when you do finally find it, it'll make the waiting worth it.