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Should You Accept That Job Offer?

Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder writer

Congratulations! After weeks of updating your CV, applying to jobs and enduring the rigorous interview process, you finally have a job offer. So why haven’t you accepted it yet? Perhaps you are having reservations about leaving your current job, torn between another job offer or simply not sure it’s the right fit. Whatever the reason, it’s important to explore it. Here are some expert-approved do’s and don’ts to consider before accepting a job offer.

Don’t be rash: “Taking that proverbial step back and really evaluating the opportunity is key,” says Lela Reynolds, a senior career consultant at Resume Strategists, Inc. After all, changing jobs is a major life decision and warrants serious evaluation. Even if you have been out of the job market for a while, accepting a job offer because you feel desperate could backfire. “If you take a role because you don’t believe another will come along, you may find yourself back in the job market again because it wasn’t the right fit,” Reynolds notes.

Do watch out for red flags: Has there been high turnover at the company or in the position? Do the employees appear unenthusiastic, overworked or otherwise unhappy? Does the company seem more interested in selling itself to you than learning about you as a candidate? These could be red flags indicating deeper problems within the organization. Ask follow up questions to address these concerns. If the company refuses to answer or dances around them, that too could be a red flag that something isn’t quite right.

Don’t ignore your gut: “If your gut tells there is something wrong, listen,” says Donna M. Lubrano, adjunct faculty at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies. There’s probably a good reason your instincts are telling you to run the other way, Lubrano says. “Seventy percent of communication is nonverbal, so you might be picking up nonverbal cues from the interviewer or others in the organization telling you that something isn’t right.”

Do think long-term: “The main thing to consider is, ‘Will this role bring me closer toward my career dreams and desires?’” says Darrell W. Gurney, author of “Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest.” While the job in question may not be your dream job, it could be a stepping stone to a better job later on. “Like in relationships, [this job] could be Mr. or Mrs. Right…but it might be Mr. or Mrs. Right Now.”

Don’t sell yourself short: “Never accept a job that is not paying the going market rate,” says Katie Donovan, an equal pay consultant and professional speaker. She advises checking out websites that offer free salary information. So what happens if you find they’re offering you less than you deserve? “There is always room to negotiate the first offer,” Donavan says. If their final offer is still below market, it may be time to look elsewhere.

Do your research: Career experts agree that doing background research on the company is key when considering a job offer. Start by checking the company’s career site and social media pages to find out what they value as an organization. See what employees say about the company on sites like Glassdoor, and talk to people in your network who may know someone who works there to get firsthand insight into what the culture is really like.

Don’t settle: If the values of the organization are not in line with your values, the job is probably not right for you, says Kristin Butler, CEO of KB Career Solutions. “One of my favorite questions candidates can ask during the interview process is, ‘Tell me what makes this a great place to work.’” The answer to this question will provide insight into the culture and help you assess if this is the right fit for you.

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