Consider the entire compensation package - salary, benefits, perks, work environment - not just your paycheck. Weigh the pros and cons and take some time to mull over the offer. It is perfectly acceptable to ask the employer for some time to think it over.
Money isn't the only consideration, but, it is an important one. Is the offer what you expected? If not, is it a salary you can accept without feeling insulted? Will you be able to pay your bills? If your answer is no, then don't accept the offer, at least right away. Make sure that you are getting paid what you're worth and you are happy with the compensation. Nobody wants to be in a position where they realize that the salary isn't enough - after they have accepted the job offer. If the compensation package isn't what you expected, consider negotiating salary with your future employer.
Benefits and Perks
In addition to salary, review the benefits and perks offered. Sometimes, the benefit package can be as important as what you get in your paycheck. If you're not sure about the benefits that are offered, ask for additional information or clarification. Find out details on health and life insurance coverage, vacation, sick time, disability, and other benefit programs. Inquire about how much of the benefits costs are provided by the company, in full, and how much you are expected to contribute. If there are a variety of options available, request copies of the plan descriptions so you can compare benefit packages.
Hours and Travel
Before accepting a job, be sure that you are clear on the hours and schedule you need to work. Also, confirm what, if any, travel is involved. If the position requires 45 or 50 hours of work a week and you're used to working 35 hours, consider whether you will have difficulty committing to the schedule. If the nature of the job requires that you will need to be on the road three days a week, be sure that you can commit to that, as well. Also, consider travel time to and from work. Is the commute going to take an extra hour or will there be parking fees you're not paying now?
Flexibility and Company Culture
Many of us, with small children or elderly parents, or other personal considerations, need flexibility in our schedules. To some of us, the ability to work a schedule that isn't a typical forty hour in the office work week, is important. It is also important to feel comfortable in the environment that you are going to be working in. One candidate for a customer service job realized that there was no way she could accept it, despite the decent salary, when she was told she had to ask permission to use the restroom. Ask if you can some spend time in the office, talking to potential co-workers and supervisors, if you're not sure that the work environment and culture are a good fit.
Your Personal Circumstances
The bottom line in accepting a job offer, is that there really isn't one. Everyone has a different set of personal circumstances. What might be the perfect job for you could be an awful job for someone else. Take the time to review the pros and cons. Making a list is always helpful. Also, listen to your gut - if it's telling you not to take the job, there just might be something there. Keep in mind, that if this isn't the right job for you, it's not the end of the world. The next offer might just be that perfect match.
It's much easier to turn down an offer than it is to leave a job that you have already started. The employer would prefer that you decline, rather than having to start over the hiring process a couple of weeks down the road if you don't work out. So, do take the time to thoroughly evaluate the offer. Ask questions, if you have them. Take the time you need to make an educated, informed decision so you feel as sure as possible that you, and the company, have made an excellent match.
What's Important to You?
Take our quick quiz to help decide what's most important to you when considering a job offer:
What's Important to You Quiz
Acceptance and Rejection Letters
Whether you are accepting, or rejecting, a job offer, it's a good idea to let the company know your decision in writing. In both cases, be polite, brief and to the point. Here are sample letters to review: