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Questions to ask yourself before accepting that job offer 

Before diving into that enticing career opportunity, pause and ponder: is it truly right for you? Here are six important questions to answer before signing that employment contract. 

Will it take me where I want to go? 

In other words, does the job align with your long-term career goals? The ideal job will align closely with your desired trajectory if it is a role in your chosen field that offers opportunities for growth such as training on the job, skills development and advancement (promotion).   

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Is the salary competitive? 

In other words, is it fair compensation for your skill set and level of experience, and on par with what other companies are offering? If you’re not sure, do some research: look at job posts for similar roles online (LinkedIn is a good place to start) and see what salaries are on offer. You could also put the word out on your social and professional circles for anyone in a similar position who can verify their salary. If you’re using a recruitment agency, they should have a good sense of what you should expect to earn. 

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Does the role offer flexibility in terms of working hours and location? If not, and you have to commute to work at set times every weekday, how much will that cost you (in either fuel or public transport)? If the distance you’ll have to travel just to get to work and back home is likely to make a huge dent in your salary (as well as your free time and mental health), it might not be worthwhile.  

What’s expected of me? 

It’s important to understand exactly what outcomes your prospective employer expects of you. For example, in a sales position, will there be a grace period in which you get to learn the ropes before you’re required to hit specific targets? For other roles, find out how your performance will be evaluated, and make sure that these expectations are realistic and achievable within the scope of the role and your level of skill. 

What if I want to quit? 

Check the employment contract to find out how far in advance you are required to give notice if you wish to resign (after three months, this is usually one to two months for junior and mid-level roles, and longer for senior or executive roles). Make sure to find out if your contract contains a non-compete clause: while they are difficult to enforce, this clause may prohibit you from accepting employment for a set period after leaving the organisation. 

How badly do I need this job? 

No one’s career is a straight line, and most people will experience setbacks and sidetracks. If you’ve asked yourself the above questions and deduced that the job is not suitable for you, you should still weigh this against how badly you need a job. Are you in a position, financially, to say no? If not, it is perfectly okay to take a job simply to make ends meet – you can continue to apply for jobs in your chosen field (on the quiet). One less-than-ideal job needn’t define your entire career.