1. Start by doing some basic research on a company’s reputation. Is it known for being a good place to work or does it have a reputation for high turnover? While high turnover is expected in some industries, it is not the norm in most. One mistake people make is thinking that they are cut from a different cloth than all of those other employees who quit or were fired because they didn’t understand how to work with the boss.
2. Search the Internet; learn as much as you can about the company. Be sure it is something that you feel is a good fit for you. If you have absolutely no interest in what the company does, consider that a warning that the job might eventually be a problem.
3. See if you can find any articles written about not only the company but also the CEO and the management team. Learn as much as you possibly can about their history, mission, vision and philosophy.
4. Consider whether the job will provide meaningful work for you and if you will be using your talent.
5. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all you need to get from a job is money to pay the bills. Studies show that nearly 60 percent of working women spend over 40 hours a week at work. Spending time doing something you like is just as important as the money. Working at a job you don’t like and doing work you don’t feel good about can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.
6. Research the salary range for the position and don’t settle for less if you can help it. Taking a job just to get your foot in the door of a company can be a reason to settle for less money, but keep in mind that most people who are underpaid for the job they do become resentful. If you are considering accepting a position that pays less than you had hoped for, first negotiate a milestone that you will need to reach to receive additional compensation.
7. Make sure you completely understand what the job entails before accepting an offer. This might seem obvious, but I know a lot of people who have taken jobs without seeing a job description or fully understanding all of the responsibilities only to discover that the job doesn’t interest them at all.
8. Taking a job that is not right for you can be dangerous for your career. I have seen people take jobs just to have something only to wind up feeling totally incompetent. In some cases this results in their termination. Remember that you have a reputation to protect and it’s especially important to be good at what you are being asked to do. This often happens with promotions in a company. Someone who is very good at one job gets promoted to a totally different area and discovers she isn’t at all suited for it. She was swept up in the flattery of the promotion and the additional compensation only to end up feeling hopeless in her new job.
9. Go to the job interview with a list of questions about the position that are important to you. Consider the interview your opportunity to size up the potential employer.
10. It is almost never a good idea to take a job on the spot, no matter how appealing it may seem. Ask if you can have a little time ranging from a few hours to a day or two to consider the offer. If possible get the offer in writing before you decide.
And finally, as I always advise my coaching clients who come to me for advice on whether or not to take the leap and go for the new job, it’s important to trust your gut. Can you see yourself doing the job? Do you know enough about the people you will be working with and for? Is the compensation fair? If you don’t feel comfortable with any one of the answers to those questions, think twice or get some advice before you make the move.