Your super savvy job-seeking abilities, keyword-optimized resume, killer networking strategy, and dazzling interview skills may have helped you land a job offer (yay, you!), but your work isn’t done.
Now you’ve got to decide whether or not you should seize this opportunity or keep looking. Just because a role sounds perfect on paper doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the perfect fit for you. To determine whether or not the offer you’re considering is “the one,” start by asking yourself seven questions.
1. Does This Job Check All the Basic Boxes?
These are the nitty gritty details of what agreeing to employment at this place would look like—your commute, work hours, salary, job title, benefits, etc. Think of this question as a baseline test for determining whether or not taking a job offer is the right move.
If you absolutely have to work from home every Friday or can’t imagine earning less than a certain annual salary, a job with a rigid work schedule or a compensation plan that doesn’t meet your expectations is probably a nonstarter.
2. Do I Have a Solid Understanding of What’ll Be Expected of Me?
Simply put, what will you be doing every day, and how will your performance be measured? You’d be surprised how many people accept offers without really understanding what their role’s going to look like—and it usually doesn’t turn out too well. If you’re dying to own social media strategy and would really like to avoid having to draft newsletter content but aren’t totally clear on how much of each component you’ll be responsible for, you’re going to want to get clarification.
Understanding how your performance will be evaluated and determining if this lines up with your goals and work style is another crucial piece of the equation. For example, if you’re really excited about taking a new sales role, but are worried that your quota is unrealistic or don’t feel great about your prospective territory, this might not be the job for you.
3. Am I Excited About This Work?
Just because you can do the work, doesn’t mean it’ll keep you engaged. Sure, you may be a total whiz in Excel, but if staring at spreadsheets all day drives you a little crazy, you’re not going to feel excited or challenged if you take a role where you’ll be spending tons of time inputting data.
Another way to think about this is to consider whether you can see yourself doing this job for an extended period. If you think you’ll be over your day-to-day responsibilities in just a few months, it’s probably a poor fit. On the flip side, if you can’t wait to jump in on that web design project or you get excited just thinking about building your very own sales team, you may have found “the one.”
4. Can I See Myself Working With My Prospective Manager?
This is a biggie. Your manager can be the difference between loving your job and loathing it. Ask yourself how you work best. Is it with a boss who will give you tons of feedback, or do you prefer to work autonomously?
Is it important for you to find a manager who will not only invest in your career growth but also listen to your ideas? Compare your ideal supervisor to your prospective boss; if the two don’t line up, you may want to keep looking.
5. Is the Company Culture a Fit for Me?
Are you a social butterfly who thrives in a collaborative work environment or a nose-to-the-grindstone worker who loves spending your lunch break alone catching up on the news on your computer?
Dedicate some time to thinking about what makes you happy and then decide whether or not the culture at this prospective employer will work for you. And give this job some serious bonus points if you feel inspired by the company’s mission statement or absolutely loved everyone you met during your interview process. You’re going to be spending most of your waking hours at the office, so it’s crucial that you can see yourself there.
6. Will Taking This Job Help Me Get Where I Want to Go?
Things like the industry, career path, work-life balance, and company reputation can all play a role in helping you achieve your long-term career goals. Are you looking to load your resume up with big name employers? Then taking that job with Google is probably a savvy move.
Are you serious about stepping into a management role within the next few years? You’ll probably want to find a company with lots of opportunities for growth and a robust employee-development program.
Choosing a role solely based on the company’s reputation or the industry isn’t the goal here—but these may be serious factors for you to consider depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.
7. Does This Feel Like the Right Choice?
A job may have it all on paper—a great salary, tons of room for growth, an awesome company culture—but if your gut is telling you not to accept, don’t ignore it. On the other hand, if the role you’re considering doesn’t quite check every box on your list, but you’re still interested, you should give it some thoughtful consideration.
If we made decisions solely based on whether or not a job (or any life experience) checked off every item on our wish list, we’d miss out on a lot of great opportunities. Nothing is ever going to be truly perfect, and if you feel strongly about going for it, then you know what to do.
There’s no perfect formula for determining whether or not a particular job is going to be the right one for you (and some day you may find yourself in such a situation that you have no other choice but to accept), but looking at each opportunity from a variety of different angles will help you to make the best decision.
If all else fails, give yourself a break—take a walk outside, hang out with your friends, or get a good night’s sleep, before revisiting your decision with a clear head. In the end, if it feels right, it probably is.
Photo of woman courtesy of Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images.