It can often be extremely difficult to work out whether a job on offer is actually a good deal or not: sometimes it’s downright impossible. There are so many factors that determine whether a job is a good fit that it’s not unheard of for a person to take months to discover that a role really isn’t right for them. The things that people look for in a job differ from person to person and over time as well, so working out what you should be doing can be one of the hardest parts of job seeking.
With so many different factors, it’s not surprising that a lot of people latch onto something that can be measured with numbers: the salary.
The salary is often one of the first things you learn about an open job. From it, we can tell, or at least think we can tell, all kinds of things about the job on offer – the level of skill and experience necessary, and even the types of responsibilities involved.
This doesn’t always hold true however, and there is so much more to consider. So what else should you ask about before accepting a new job?
There’s more to compensation than cold, hard cash. Workplaces offer all kinds of benefits, from health and pension plans, to hammocks and free food. Many of us are happy to accept a lower salary in return for a better quality of working life, and the knowledge that their medical needs will be taken care of – so it’s worth reading all about what a company has to offer.
Free food might offset your lunch budget, but don’t treat perks as an actual replacement for a competitive salary – it’s no good having massage chairs and fish tanks if you’re struggling to pay rent.
Few of us really want to spend all of our time at work. It’s one thing to take a big salary increase, but if you’re now working weekends and into the night you might find it’s suddenly much less appealing. What is your leisure time worth?
If you have a family or social obligations, you will definitely want to think twice about putting in too much time at the office. Even if the job is advertised as being 40 hours a week, it’s common for employers to have an ‘unwritten rule’ that you spend a little longer on your work, either at your desk or at home, each day.
A job that pays well and is interesting might sound like the best deal in the world. However it probably won’t be long before you find yourself wondering if you can move on up in the scheme of things.
Many people are happy to maintain the same role for years or decades on end, but if career progression is important to you, you have to ask yourself (or your potential employer, for that matter) what kind of future prospects the job can promise.
Even if the role is a dead end within the company, think about how the experience you gain from working there might prepare you for better work elsewhere. So consider this issue from all angles before you make your final decision.
The working culture is one of the hardest things to quantify – and one of the hardest to assess from the outside. You won’t really know whether you’ll get along with your co-workers before you meet them, making this one of the biggest gambles involved in starting a new job.
If you manage to get a tour of the office, take full advantage of the chance to get a feel for the place. Trust your gut feeling on this – if you get the impression that this just isn’t the place for you, listen to that instinct.
Just because you don’t get to meet and greet however, doesn’t mean you can’t infer anything about the culture of the company. It’s acceptable to ask about the working atmosphere in an interview as so many employers understand how important this factor is.
What about you – what do you take into account when deciding if this is the job for you? Let us know in the comments below.