How to respond to a job offer and make sure it’s the right move

How to respond to a job offer and make sure it’s the right move

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  • So you’ve been offered a new role — congrats! Here’s how to make sure it’s the right move

    After gruelling interviews and the agonising wait for an answer, it can be tempting to immediately reply to a job offer with a resounding YES. But knowing how to respond to a job offer properly can pay off in the long run. 

    A surprising 61% of employees say they’ve found the realities of a new job to be different from the expectations set during the interview process, according to a survey by anonymous company review site Glassdoor. Asking a few key questions before formally accepting a role can help you make sure you’re getting the full picture. 

    “People often forget to ask these important questions because they are flattered,” says Kate Zatland, Co-founder and Managing Partner of headhunting organisation Forme Partners. “But if we turn it around, businesses should be flattered that you are close to accepting a role! Don’t forget that this process is as much about candidates measuring up the role as it is for businesses.” 

    Here are Zatland’s top four questions you should ask and why they are so important. 

    1. “What are the steps to success in this role?”

    Knowing there is a plan in place for your personal development is essential. Ask directly about how the company will support your growth over the next 24–48 months. And if there is a plan in place, ask for examples of how they’ve supported other employees in a similar way before. 

    “You need to see personal development,” says Zatland. “The business is hiring you because they require your experience, but you need to be stimulated in your role too. Progressing and seeing yourself grow will only benefit the business in the long term. From the company’s point of view, progression plans only heighten staff retention.” 

    2. “What hiring mistakes has the business made in the past, and how has it learned from them?” 

    The idea here is to make sure the company is dynamic and open to change. “Ask them what changes they have put in place to make sure they succeed with future hires,” says Zatland. “You want to know that a company learns from its errors. If a company takes hiring seriously, they will have data which backs up these changes.”

    A young woman is working at her laptop in a restaurant.

    3. “Can you provide two or three referrals?”

    Whether they’re from a board member, current employee or past employee, referrals will give you a 360 degree view of the company and the best chance of knowing if it’s the right place for you. “This company will be looking to reference you with past employers — you should want to do the same,” says Zatland. “Have a good set of questions to probe whether this is the right place for you.”

    4. “How do the benefits compare with what your competitors are offering?”

    While the salary on offer is clearly important, there are other elements that you need to consider. What is the company’s maternity leave policy? Are there any health benefits? How much holiday will you get, and what’s the budget for your learning and development? 

    “Once you’ve understood what the package looks like, ask how the benefits compare against what their competitors are offering,” says Zatland. “It’s important that an employer thinks about how they look after their employees and be competitive in their offers.” 

    A great company to work for will be only too happy to provide answers to all the questions above. In any case, asking them shows that you know your worth and won’t settle for less than you deserve. Good luck!

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