8 Crucial Things To Consider Before Accepting A Job Offer

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

8 crucial things to consider before accepting a job offer

You nailed the first interview. And the second — possibly even a third. And now it’s here, glimmering at the top of your inbox: the job offer.

It can be tempting to accept an offer right away — especially if it’s your dream job. But there are a number of crucial things to consider before saying yes. Not only is this the time when you can negotiate your salary, it’s when you get a 360-degree view of the role itself. What will actually be expected of you? Are there any red flags?

To help you make the most informed decision possible when accepting a new job, we partnered with SoFi, a finance company that helps you save money and earn more via its Get That Raise tool. Together, we tapped Ashley Stahl, career coach and founder of the Job Offer Academy, and Alexandra Dickinson, membership strategy lead and career expert at SoFi, for a guide to everything you need to do before accepting — so you can sign that contract with confidence.

8 crucial things to consider before accepting a job offer

Don’t wait until you’re desperate.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make has to do with when you look for a job in the first place. “Far too often, people are so hungry to leave their jobs that they allow themselves to go into desperation,” Stahl says, referring to this as being a “reactive” hunter.

“Desperate energy is more likely to translate into another disconnected job opportunity, versus being intentional and mindful about the jobs you seek.” When you’re eager to get out of your current gig, you’re more likely to take a new job offer just to leave — and that can make you just as unhappy.

The best way to avoid it? Start looking for a new job the second you feel that itch telling you it might be time to move on.

Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.

8 crucial things to consider before accepting a job offer

Always get it in writing.

It’s a good rule for job offers and for life in general: Get it in writing. Stahl says even if you get a verbal offer that sounds really exciting, you shouldn’t just say yes over the phone. Ask for a written version. “An intentional job seeker wants to read it in print and negotiate on her behalf,” she says.

According to Dickinson, “A written offer should include info not just about your base salary but your entire package. This could include any other forms of compensation like bonuses or stock options, health benefits, retirement savings, and vacation/sick time.”

Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.

8 crucial things to consider before accepting a job offer

Research. Research. Research.

Don’t go into negotiations blind. “Do research online to see what positions at a similar level of responsibility are paying,” Stahl suggests.

Try SoFi’s Get That Raise tool, which has you answer a few questions to receive a personalized action plan determining the salary you should be making and how to get it. Researching will give you an idea of what’s a fair market rate and help inform your negotiation strategy.

“The best salary research includes conversations with people who know how much the role pays. This could be someone who does this job now at a similar company, someone who’s done this job recently, or someone who hires for this job,” says Dickinson.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Though you’ll likely form many friendships in the workplace, you’re the only person who’s truly going to advocate for your needs. And that advocacy starts the moment you get the offer. “You want to work for the kind of employer who encourages you to speak on your own behalf,” Stahl says, “especially because that level of empowerment translates into how you’ll represent them.”

It’s natural to feel afraid that if you negotiate too hard, you’ll lose the offer, but Stahl cautions against this fear. “If they rescind an offer because you tried to negotiate, it points to their integrity and support for employees,” she says. In short, you wouldn’t want to work there anyway.

Don’t compromise your core values.

A job should align with your core values. “[These] are the fundamental beliefs or priorities that make you who you are,” Stahl explains. For example, maybe one of your priorities is picking up your kids from school every day. If the role asks you to make compromises that you’re uncomfortable with, have an open dialogue with the hiring manager about what you need to feel good about moving forward. If the offer doesn’t allow for the flexibility you’re looking for, you should be mindful about how accepting it will affect your life.

Remember: This isn’t the only job.

It’s exciting — and flattering — to get a job offer, but don’t put it on a pedestal just because you’re worried you won’t find something else. Much like with dating, there’s no such thing as the one. “You don’t need any one specific employer when there’s so many that will value you,” Stahl says. If it doesn’t feel right, wait!

Beware the vague bullet point.

If, in the list of job responsibilities that accompanies your offer, you see a bullet point that says “other,” that’s a red flag. “Be sure to ask what that looks like or it could be a big percentage of your job with responsibilities coming totally out of left field,” Stahl says. If you’re signing on to be an accountant and then you’re suddenly expected to plan the holiday party every year, you’re probably not going to be happy. Find out what “other” means.

Find other opportunities to negotiate.

If the company isn’t able to offer your target salary but you still want to move forward with the role, there are lots of other areas in which you can negotiate. Consider these two broad categories: things that benefit you and things that benefit both you and your employer. Consider discussing at least one from each. The former includes things like your start date, vacation days, and flexible hours or work from home days. The latter are other career opportunities like a leadership role, professional development, managing staff, or managing a budget.

Dickinson notes that the only thing you usually can’t negotiate is health benefits, “which aren’t typically negotiable on an individual level,” but everything else should be fair game.

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