Think Carefully Before You Accept a Job Offer

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If you've been out of work for some time, a job offer can seem like an answer to a prayer, but before you say “yes,” it's important to weigh your options carefully. Sure, in the short term, having any job is better than no job, but accepting a job that's clearly not right for you is a quick fix – and one that you'll probably regret. Once the newness wears off, you'll find yourself right back on the job market, trying to find a better job.


Finding a great job is a lot like dating. Just because someone wants to go out with you doesn't mean that they are the best person for you. That's why it's important to interview the company at the same time they are interviewing you. Ask questions to find out more about the position and the specific duties and responsibilities it entails. Take that information and ask yourself if you are capable of doing the job and if it's a job you would be able to succeed in.


When employers are deciding which applicant to hire, there are several things they look for to ensure a good fit. You can use these same factors to determine if the job you're offered is the one that's best for you. Here are three things to consider:


It's not always love at first sight – Whether you're dating or applying for a job, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Before accepting a new job or a promotion, do your research. Find out more about the company and the position. Ask about the person who last held the job. What happened to them? Were they fired? Did they leave because they were unhappy with the job? What about the company – are they struggling to stay open? Is it likely that they will be downsizing in the near future? Will you job be at risk? What is the corporate culture and is it something you agree with? All of these question will help you to decide if the job is going to be a “keeper” or if you're better off taking a pass.


Don't make a commitment too soon – Just like you wouldn't get married after one or two dates, don't make a commitment to a job before you've been offered it. It's tempting to see a great job opening, apply for it and then just wait by the phone. Even after a really great interview, don't stop looking at other opportunities. Until you've accepted a job offer, you should continue to apply for jobs.


Don't have hard feelings – Sometimes in love, and in hiring, things just don't work out. If you've interviewed for a job you really want and the company ends up hiring someone else, don't have hard feelings. Instead, realize that maybe the other person was more qualified or came better recommended. It happens – and when it does, it's hard not to get your feelings hurt. Try your best to brush it off and try to apply the next time the company has an opening.


Finding a job that's right for you should be the goal of any job seeker. It's not enough to simply find any job that will take you. Instead, do your homework and be sure that the job you take is going to be one that lasts.


How do you decide if a job is right for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    I'm sorry to hear that, Charlene. When you feel that way, the world can seem like a dark place. To help yourself pull out of it, maybe you could focus more on networking, getting out and meeting people. Sign up with a website like Meetup and start trying every get together that looks even remotely interesting. Most of them are free and you can try new activities. It might seem like a waste of time but you'll meet new people and maybe find someone who knows someone who has a job opening. If not, the whole process will lift your spirits at least a little. If you don't think that anything will help, you might want to talk to your doctor about other options.
  • charlene s
    charlene s
    it feels so hopeless that's why i'm waiting to take a job.
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the comments. As so many of you have pointed out, there are times when you have to accept a job you don't think is the right one for you. I don't know what the best choice is in those situations. Like @Diane shared, taking a job out of desperation can lead to situations that are worse than being out of work.
  • Bob S
    Bob S
    Spell and grammar check your work product !!!There is a difference between "to" and "too". If you want to offer yourself and you opinion as 'expert' advice in job hunting, please use the same care and diligence expected in every cover letter and resume.
  • Diane M
    Diane M
    I am currently unemployed again after 2 recent terms of employment that I took because I was desperate. I was so happy that someone hired me that I took the jobs just to be let go by each of them because of a poor fit. The first job lasted just 3 months and they fired me for no reason. However, it was a terrible place to work.  I experienced reverse discrimination there in which case I was the white person working with many blacks. My 2nd job I also accepted in desperation. After months of unemployment, I was happy to be noticed and hired!  After the 2nd month of employment I experienced constant workplace bullying. I was fired on January 4th of this year because my boss said I wasn't working up to her expectations. I am currently collecting unemployment and  I am 56 years old now,  There are many jobs that I have been applying to. What I notice is companies don't want to pay ($11.00/hr. is poverty). The pay is too low for job and education requirements. Its a job looking for a job and its expensive in regards to gas. This is just a little piece of my story. if you could do a future article on workplace bullying , that would be great. It is more frequent and commonplace in the workplace than the public knows. The outcome is usually the loss of a job and also attributes to the unemployment scenario .
  • Melissa L
    Melissa L
    To Marc W:  This happened to me, at the last minute I took another job after accepting a job prior to it. I took the job that paid more.  It was the biggest mistake of my life.  I ended up getting canned in less than 90 days and turned should have taken the first one. I could kick myself  for doing that and have regretted it all my life.
  • Theresa B
    Theresa B
    Rory and Mark I understand and live your positions 100% and it is very confusing and hard. Mark I was told about taking a job and then getting another offer. It was put to me that the employer is hiring you for a probationary period and to view myself as the same way in a probationary period. So if a better offer comes along then tell the employer that you was not a good fit for the job. After being unemployed in 2011, landing a job for 5 months in 2012 and getting laid off, I am slowly learning that I have to play hardball just like the employers. Good luck!
  • Rory M
    Rory M
    The biggest issue seems to be the desperation. We take a job based on that, then if you don't, you run the risk of losing your EI if it was reported. The powers that be seem not very in tune with the job market on a people level, at least the ones that are serious about it anyway. They seem to make blanket rules governing how we conduct ourselves around the job hunting ethic. Let's face it, it's HARD FRUSTRATING WORK looking for that fit. Throw into the mix that one might be aging, worn out, and/or seeking another 'fit' in the rat race, these rules tend to be more of a detriment than any kind of encouragement. Frustration is one thing, what about the sheer expense? Those of us who really are serious about their search are forced to take things that may not 'fit' just to try and stem the steady decline into financial ruin. I am one such that falls outside the box on these reforms and conditions of service. For me, I'm the major bread winner and am repeatedly forced into unhealthy situations out of a need to care for my family. These decisions have cost me in terms of hurting my body, then my mind due to frustration at a system that seems to take its time doing things, all the while my life goes to the point of disrepair. Then quitting the job may not about the employer letting one go before one's three months are up....and the subsequent hell to be dealt with trying to justify oneself to the powers that be? Repeating this cycle, trying to 'fit' in gives rise to another issue that recruiters look for, the issue of job jumping. How does one get around this? If you target your resume's as I do, first off the hop I feel that I need to address the issue in my cover.What do you think that says about one when they do that? Recruiters are looking for that 'perfect' candidate. Yes, we need all the information in this new world evolving around the job hunt thing. time is money...we all live with that. I sympathies fully with your situation. Keep plugging away, just like I will.
  • mark w
    mark w
    The hard part is when you are collecting unemployment payments and turning down a job offer can stop the small amount of income.  I just received an offer for a job i am overqualified for, and the $ is only about 40% more than unemployment compensation.  I had 2 other interviews to jobs i consider better fits/options, but I have to respond before they are ready to make an offer (If any). I would feel bad accepting and then quitting in 2 weeks!  any one have a similar experience?

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