Evaluating a Job Offer


Q.  After a long, stressful search, I received a job offer yesterday and need to accept by Friday.  It’s not exactly the job I wanted since it’s with a small, fairly new company that no one has ever heard of.  What do I need to know or ask before accepting the offer?  -BR

A.  Congratulations, maybe.  Despite your eagerness to accept the job, you need to seriously evaluate the position and the company.  Even in this market there are jobs that aren’t worth accepting.  You’ll want to know the company is financially stable and that the prospects for its growth are real.  If not, PR positions often are among the first cuts when companies don’t meet their financial goals.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL) provides a helpful tutorial on how to evaluate a job offer.  Here are a few BSL points that may address some of your concerns:

Does the organization’s business or activity match your own interests and beliefs?  It is easier to apply yourself to the work if you are enthusiastic about what the organization does.

How will the size of the organization affect you?  Large firms generally offer a greater variety of training programs and career paths, more managerial levels for advancement, and better employee benefits than do small firms. Large employers also may have more advanced technologies. However, many jobs in large firms tend to be highly specialized.

Jobs in small firms may offer broader authority and responsibility, a closer working relationship with top management, and a chance to clearly see your contribution to the success of the organization.

Should you work for a relatively new organization or one that is well established?  New businesses have a high failure rate, but for many people, the excitement of helping to create a company and the potential for sharing in its success more than offset the risk of job loss. However, it may be just as exciting and rewarding to work for a young firm that already has a foothold on success.

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