When deciding on whether a new job is right for you, it’s important to look past the paycheck. While salary is important, it doesn’t always spell happiness. Here are eight things to consider while weighing the pros and cons of that new position.
Remember that your base salary is just one part of your compensation package. Insurance, retirement contribution and matching, paid time off, equity, bonuses, and more should all be considered—and negotiated—before signing on the dotted line. It’s important to also ask your potential employer about perks the company offers: Are there wellness plans (including discounts on things like gym memberships), pre-tax travel options, or reimbursement for relocation costs at your disposal?
Not every office job is a 9 to 5. Before committing to a job change, reach an understanding with your potential employer of expectations for regular working hours. Beyond whether your start time is 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., try to get an idea of how much after-hours work is considered normal. And when considering a job with different hours from what you’re used to (such as a weekend schedule, evening hours, or an early-morning shift) make a list of how this change will impact your life—maybe you’re not as much of a morning person as you thought.
3. OFFICE CULTURE
Getting a handle on your new position’s hours can also be your window into one of the most elusive decision-making factors: the company’s office culture. Are the employees at your new job happy? Do they enjoy working for the company—and with one another—and do they feel like their work is valued? While something intangible like “office culture” and “vibe” can be tricky to figure out prior to your start date, the answers to questions about flexible hours, team-building events, and regular reviews (opportunities to give as well as receive feedback) can be a valuable litmus test.
4. THE TEAM
Nothing affects office culture more than your co-workers, which is why it’s a good idea to meet as many as you can during the interview process. While the hiring manager can speak to the team’s talent and dedication, your peers—if it’s possible to talk to them—can shed light on group dynamics and management as well as share their own reasons for choosing the company. Consider all interactions, including email responses (are they timely and courteous?), when determining whether these are people you’d like to work with.
It’s also important to take a look at personnel higher up the ladder. Do some research to learn a bit about the people who will be your managers. Do you see mentorship potential in any of them? Do they have a track record of supporting more junior talent? And look outside the immediate hierarchy—if there were to be a management shakeup, would you be happy with new leadership?
One good indicator of your future team’s happiness is how passionate they are about the work they’re doing. Having a unified vision and values can buoy the office atmosphere. Ask yourself if the company’s mission excites you the same way it (hopefully) does your potential co-workers—this can be a good indicator of whether the job will be a good fit.
6. GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
During the interview process, be sure to ask about advancement opportunities within the company. Doing so will not only help paint a better picture for you of what a future with that employer may look like, but shows the hiring manager that you are looking to invest your time and talents in the company long-term. It’s also worth perusing the social media pages of employees at your potential organization; look for things such as how long they stay in the same position
And while the traditional growth trajectory includes promotions to more senior roles within your department, it’s also smart to ask about horizontal opportunities. As your skills and interests evolve, you may find you want to pursue a lateral move to a different area within the company.
7. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
The bottom line is, you want to work for an organization that supports and encourages your growth—and sometimes, in order to grow, you will require additional education. Ask about whether the company provides stipends for continuing ed courses or professional degrees—and also whether employees are encouraged to take advantage of these resources.
8. COMPANY HISTORY AND STABILITY
It can’t be stressed enough that you need to do a bit of research on your potential employer before making anything official. Do they have a track record of layoffs and cutbacks? Are they making headlines for the right reasons (such as reaching new audience milestones or expanding the business) or ones that raise red flags (legal issues, financial troubles)? While joining a startup can be exciting, it’s also a huge risk—be realistic about whether it’s a good time for you to take one.