Accepting a new job is always exciting. But are you accepting your new position for the right reasons? Emotional attachments, irrational fears, and incomplete information can cause job seekers to accept a position they might regret. To make sure you're switching to your dream gig and not a dud job, here's a checklist to go over before you accept:
Are you blinded by the salary?
Don't let any red or yellow flags go flying out the window as soon as salary is mentioned. Don't let yourself get dumbstruck by zeroes-- remember the value of work-life balance, and make sure that the compensation you're receiving is commensurate with the work you're doing.
Are emotions in the way?
Don't accept a job solely based on loyalty to a friend or former co-worker who is employed at the company. Likewise, it can be scary to take on new responsibilities, and you may want to remain employed in your comfort zone-- which won't help you grow. If you're miserable in the job that you currently have, it dramatically increases your chances of jumping at the first offer, but be careful-- you don't want to get out of the frying pan only to find yourself in the fire. Be aware of any emotions that may be keeping you from making a rational decision.
Will this job help you grow?
Entry-level candidates are especially guilty of desperately accepting the first (or highest-paying) job that comes along, regardless of whether or not it will offer skill or career development. While some employment is better than no employment, make sure that accepting the position is a smart career move with long term, not short term, payoffs.
Are the promises you've been made realistic?
Hiring managers may be tempting you with something they may not be able to deliver. For example, work on a project that would look great on your resume, or a fast track to leadership, might sound too good to be true-- in which case it probably is. Don't accept a job for the promise of a situation that you might find yourself in one day-- accept your job for the situation you'll be in when you walk through the door.
Does it match your criteria?
When you're starting out on your job search, create a defined, strategic target job that you want to aim for. Lay the details of this position out before you start your search-- focus on writing the specifics of your dream job, as well as a list of deal breakers that would make a job unacceptable, no matter the circumstances.
Include minimum salary, maximum commute distance, work hours, technologies, company size, industry, and any other detail your imagination can provide you with. Indicate on this list where trade-offs are possible-- for example, a slightly longer commute for a higher salary or increased benefits.
When you get pitched an offer after your in-person or digital job interviews, refer back to that list. If you can, share the list with a close family member or friend, and have them hold you accountable. When companies start trying to sweet talk you or play on your fears, this person can help ground you and keep you clear-headed. A little self-discipline, coupled with these lists and your accountability-buddy, should keep you from making a decision you'll regret for months (or even years) to come.