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What to Look for Before Accepting New Job

You've made it through the job search, and now you're in the interviewing and job offer stage of the game. What now? Before accepting the offer, there are a few things you should check.

Always make sure you get the offer in writing. Within the offer should be your obligations in the position along with the title, the salary and benefits you'll be receiving, holiday and vacation time you're allowed, as well as any yearly (or six month) reviews that will be given. All of the components of the letter should coincide with what your expectations are and if they aren't, don't feel shy about sending it back with what you'd like to see.

When looking over the offer letter, make sure you understand what your job responsibilities are and how the department fits into the company. Much of this information should be taken care of in the interviewing process. You can ask for a written job description as well. During this time, you should be having heart-to-hearts with yourself to make sure the items you'd be responsible for are something you want to do, and are capable of doing.

Find out if this is a new role within the company or if you are replacing someone. If you are going to replace someone in a particular role, try to find out why the previous person left. Were they promoted to a new position within the company? Did they leave the company? Was it because their goals changed, or was there a problem within the department? Make sure you're not walking into something that you'll regret later.

This leads into the people you'll be working with. Did you feel comfortable with the person you interviewed with? Did they portray the type of personality and professionalism you enjoy working with and are productive in?

Try to meet some of the co-workers. Make sure they are the type of people you'll be able to work with on a day-to-day basis. Getting a feeling from the people you'll be working with and the environment will help in determining if you'd like to work with the company.

Make sure you also find out what type of hours are expected of you. Are there set hours you'll be working? Will there be overtime paid, or is it included in your salary? Is 40-hours or 50-hours a week expected? Make sure you're going to be happy with the hours before accepting a job offer.

Another factor to look into is the amount of vacation, sick/personal days, as well as paid holidays to consider. Be sure you understand if two weeks means 10 days or 14. Know if there is a policy on sick days, or if it is casual. Also, make sure the holidays are what you expect and if you need different holidays because of your religion, etc, that you'll be able to get them off without penalty.

Also, if you know you have an event shortly after your expected start date, negotiate this into your offer letter to be able to get the time off. Many vacation/sick/personal time doesn't start accruing until after three months of employment.

Consider any other company perks they may offer. Do they reimburse for doctor visits? Do they have health club benefits? Tuition reimbursement? All of these may be important to your lifestyle.

Most of all, you want to be able to see yourself working in the company. How's your commute going to be? What is the dress? Once you get the offer letter, the ball is in your court. If you're excited about the offer, and know you want it, then go for it! If not, be gracious when declining the offer.