Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

11 Things You Need to Know Before Accepting a Job Offer

By Mark Wilkinson | May 13, 2015 | Candidate Tips

A recent survey conducted by Investors in People suggests that almost 60% of employed Brits are unhappy in their current job.

So how did the end up there in the first place?

It is a understandably, a truly great feeling when you get offered a job after the dreaded interview.

However, it’s absolutely vital that you don’t, as so many job candidates do, get carried away in that glorious moment of pride.

Before naively rushing to accept the offer, you need to figure out whether the job role, company and industry are 100% right for you.

The truth is; you’re going to cause far more hassle by accepting an unsuitable job you don’t want, than declining it and giving the employers a chance to find someone more suitable.

Don’t make a snap decision; thoroughly investigate your potential new job and company!

So, here are 11 things we think you ought to consider before you accept a job offer.

1. Company Culture.

Culture is a “company vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs and habits.”

It is also the most important thing to consider before accepting a job offer, because it will define how well you’ll fit in with the team, company and office.

Luckily, the internet yields all of the resources you need to help you on your culture quest, where you should investigate the company website, social media platforms, mission statements and previous projects.

If there’s nothing on the internet to give you a helping hand, ask in the interview…

• Could you describe your company culture?
• How does everyone work towards the company mission?
• What is your vision for the future of the company?

Asking the interviewer your own set of questions will not only give you a chance to impress them, but will also give you a chance to thoroughly suss out the business.

You may not be able to explain the culture fully, but you’ll be able to intuit it from your online research.

Does it sit well with you? Would you sit well with it? Is it what you need from a company, right now?

Think about your own personality, values and belief systems.

2. The People.

You can discover a lot about culture and environment from the people you come into contact with during the recruitment process.

Whilst your interviewer assesses you, you should be assessing them (especially if they’re your intended boss).

Do they seem happy? Will they be supportive? Would you get along well?

Use your gut instincts, based on your conversation and body language.

Recruiter Pro Tip:

Company review sites like Glassdoor are a great way to get further insight into a company’s culture and the people within it.

The reviews are all written by current or previous employees who discuss benefits, management, colleauges, culture and workload.

You can also read interview reviews written by people who’ve previously been through the recruitment process, so you can find out what you could be in for!

Remember, you’ll need a strong support network on a professional (and possibly personal) level, so if you’re not sure that you’ll fit in, you should consider whether it’s the right company for you.

(You should also look out for those ten most annoying work colleague traits!)

3. Ethics.

Have you ever considered the ethical implications of a potential job before applying for it?

Some companies will have strikingly different ethical standards to our own, for example, those who are against animal testing are unlikely to work for a cosmetic company that tests on animals.

Other companies, however, are less obviously opposed to our values.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to thoroughly understand what a company does, who they actually work with and what their mission is.

We posted a blog recently that further investigates the ethical dilemma that could arise when accepting a job offer: Will ethics play a part with your next career choice?

But take it from me, working for a company that makes you feel ashamed or goes against your values is demoralising and you’re bound to find yourself trying to escape pretty sharply!

4. Your Responsibilities.

Ask yourself one question: “do I truly know everything there is to know about the role?”

If not, then you really do need to make an effort to find out!

Read through the job spec again and draw all of the information you can from that. If there’s any information missing, then subtly ask or try to construe in the interview.

• Have you got an agreed job title?
• What are the day to day aspects of the job role?
• What extra tasks will you be expected to take part in?

Some of these little bits of information will be revealed naturally in conversation, but you may have to dig deeper to gain insight into non-advertised aspects of the role.

When you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision, start assessing whether the role is genuinely right for you.

You don’t want a job that eats away at your personal life, but you certainly don’t want to be bored at work every day either, believe me!

Again, you could use sites like Glassdoor to further investigate – are any employees grumbling about the work-life balance?

5. Expectations.

Hiring managers are guaranteed to have some sort of idea what they expect from a new employee, before they hire them (the very reason they’re hiring in the first place)

It’s vital that you work out exactly what that expectation is.

Working out a potential employer’s expectations can be fairly tricky – it’s best to ask the blunt question and watch carefully for the body language and tone of their response.

• How will I be measured?
• What do you expect me to achieve over the next 12 months?
• Why are you hiring a new {Insert Position}?

You can ask all the questions in the world, but it’s also important to read the interviewer’s body language and read between the lines when discussions about workload crop up.

Leaving it until your first day of work and suddenly being handed an unreachable target or unrealistic workload is certainly not advisable.

6. Opportunity.

Granted, career progression is not everything to everyone, but if you are looking to climb the corporate ladder, it’s important to research potential opportunities before you accept the job offer.

During the interview, you’ll have the perfect chance to dig deeper into career opportunities. Be confident and upfront with your interviewer…

• Is the culture competitive?
• What happened to the last person in my position?
• Where would you expect me to be in five years?

Even if progression isn’t important to you now, it might be later, so it’s a good idea to get a feel of the opportunities out there anyway!

7. Training and Development.

If you’re interested in progression, then it’s also certainly worth finding out about what training opportunities the company has to offer you.

Some companies will even offer reimbursement of tuition fees for relevant higher education courses which is a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to develop.

Training is also a great topic to bring up during the interview; it will show your willingness to learn and grow with the business.

8. Salary and bonus schemes.

It is important for you to assess the quoted salary, before accepting a job offer. You deserve to be paid fairly and in line with the average expectations for that role.

Salary negotiation can be tricky but if you don’t think the offer is fair, don’t be shy, say so!

Recruiter Pro Tip:

If you’d like an idea of what an acceptable salary is for a particular job role, do a quick search on Indeed or one of the big job boards such as Jobsite or Total Jobs.

Search for the role you’re looking to fill, and look at a few surrounding locations within a commutable distance of your potential employers.

This will give you an idea of what salary you should be expecting.

It’s also important to work out how commission schemes work, so you fully understand the package that is being offered to you!

9. Employee Benefits.

In the grand scheme of things, employee benefits can be as important as salary, especially the subsidies that could save you heaps of money.

You should certainly investigate the more important things like pensions, health and holiday entitlement.

NB: We do not advise that you ask about employee benefits in your interview – you could come across as more interested in the perks, than the actual job on offer.

Again, research the company website for more information or take another glance at their Glassdoor profile

If benefits are your number one priority, check out our previous blogs The 20 Best Companies to Work for in 2015 and The 20 Weirdest And Most Wonderful Employee Perks.

10. The Commute.

Small things can make a huge difference to job satisfaction.

The commute is one of the most underestimated issues people fail to take into consideration when they accept a job offer.

But that two-hour (one-way) journey can make an incredible difference to your lifestyle.

• You’ll have to get up earlier.
• You’ll get home later.
• Travel is tiring.
• Travel costs money!
• Traffic and transport problems could crop up.

The commute could quite literally change your life so don’t just ignore it because it seems trivial!


As you can see, there are an awful lot of things to consider before you accept a job offer!

Some will be more important to you than others, but all are genuinely important factors on your quest for complete job satisfaction.

Always remember to trust your gut instincts; if something doesn’t seem quite right, try and figure out why.

Good luck!

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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