You've been interviewing for a job, and you finally landed an offer. Congrats! But is it the right job for you? Read on for an excerpt from The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career, for questions to ask to make sure this job will set you up for long-term happiness and success.
In all the excitement of getting a job offer, there's one key thing many people forget to consider: Is this opportunity a good fit? Remember that for this job to truly satisfy you and put you on the road to future success, it must align with the things that you value most.
Before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself the following questions:
1. DOES THIS JOB ALIGN WITH MY VALUES?
Values are different for everyone, but take time to understand what's most important to you. For example, maybe you want a deadline-driven role that heavily relies on team collaboration and creativity. For each value that you see as essential, how does this job rank? It's OK if it doesn't rank high in every category, but if it doesn't satisfy several key values, it may be a sign that your excitement is more about simply getting a job offer — but not necessarily this job offer.
2. IS THE POSITION INTERESTING AND CHALLENGING?
It's not unusual to feel a little nervous when taking a new job, as each new role you take in your career journey will challenge and stretch you in new ways. And that's a great thing; it's what's going to help you stay engaged and motivated! Otherwise, you may find yourself bored (and job hunting) by the time you get through orientation.
3. WILL I LIKE MY BOSS AND CO-WORKERS?
Think back to the interactions you experienced during your interview process. In addition to your future boss, you may have met some would-be direct reports, other employees in the department, and senior leaders. Can you see yourself working with these people on a daily basis? Sure, you only got a quick first impression —but what was your gut feeling?
4. CAN I BE PRODUCTIVE IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
It may seem like a minor detail, but considering you'll be spending 40 hours a week (or more) in your work environment, it should be one that's conducive to your productivity. When you were interviewing, did you see that the entire floor is an open workspace that encourages collaboration? If you know you need a quiet, solitary space to do your best work, that's a sign it may not be the best fit. Keep in mind that there may be something you can do to make the environment work for you (e.g., invest in noise-canceling headphones) —but it's something you should weigh carefully and discuss with your potential employer before committing to the position.
5. DOES THIS JOB ALLOW FOR THE LIFESTYLE I WANT?
Does the role require travel for weeks at a time? For some, that might be exactly what you want — a way to see the world while still advancing your career. Others, however, might rather spend that time with local friends and family, and taking that travel-oriented role might not allow them to have the home life they want. Similarly, what are the company's policies on flexibility? Is the occasional work-from-home day OK? Is it accepted for parents with small children to adjust their hours in accordance with school schedules? However amazing the role is, consider if it also provides the means for you to fully live your life outside of work.
6. WILL I FEEL PROFESSIONALLY SATISFIED?
Will you feel like you're doing something valuable and important, or will you feel like your work doesn't really matter? Will you be constantly learning and doing new things, or will every day look more or less the same? Will you be proud to explain your new role to your friends and family? If you can't see this job as satisfying to you now, when it's new and exciting, it likely won't fulfill you in the long run.
7. DOES THIS JOB FIT INTO MY CAREER NARRATIVE?
It may be a big promotion on paper (or, at least, a quick escape from your current role) — but does it move you closer to your long-term career goals? If you want to be a writer, but take a role as a business analyst, you probably won't be gaining any skills or experience that will get you closer to your dream career. And in that case, no matter how great the salary or benefits are, it's not necessarily a smart move.
Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew are the co-founders of TheMuse.com and co-authors of "The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career."