Receiving a job offer can be a really exciting moment. Especially if it comes in the wake of redundancy. However is it the right job offer?

When you are out of work, the temptation can be to grab the first thing you are offered. It can seem like a life raft in a sea of uncertainty. A new job will restore some sense of normality and that all important sense of financial stability. It might therefore seem a very brave move to turn an offer down. After all, isn’t “a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?”

Enjoy the achievement

Getting a job offer tells you that you are doing a lot of things right. Your CV has done its job and got you an interview. You’ve prepared for your interview well and performed well in the assessment process. The resulting offer tells you there are employers out there who’d be happy to have you join their team. Let that success soak in.

What getting the offer should also do is give you confidence. The confidence to believe that if one employer can see your value, others will too. That gives you the freedom to choose if this specific offer is the right one.

So how do you make that decision? We’d recommend that you ask yourself five key questions.

Is this the right role?

Will the tasks and activities involved motivate and challenge you? Or will they quickly become repetitive and mundane?

Work needs to be stimulating and give you a sense of challenge and achievement. Will this role give you that? Or are you just taking it because the alternative is continuing your job search? You need to be convinced this role is one you’ll be happy doing.

Take particular care if this is a step down on what you’ve been used to doing. Could this role make you feel like a backward step? It could easily become frustrating if you are used to making bigger decisions or having more responsibility.

Will you have the right manager?

Having the right manager can make a huge difference to your working life. For instance, if you crave independence then working for a controlling manager will quickly become a problem.

Have you met some of your potential new colleagues? A chat with some of them might tell you a lot about how your new manager likes to operate. If not, ask to spend some time with them before you commit. A good employer will happily set that up. They’ll know how important relationships at work are to engagement.

Does the company have the right culture?

No two organisations are the same. You need to believe that the organisation you are joining is a good fit with your values. You’ll quickly feel like a “fish out of water” if the behaviours the organisation encourages don’t match with your preferences.

For example, if your focus is on quality or ethics you may struggle in a business that’s driven primarily by profit. A long hours, or “always on” culture may not match your desire for work-life balance. Or maybe your collegiate style won’t fit in a more hierarchical organisation. These things are really important in a successful career move. In an era where sites like Glassdoor can give you insights into what it is really like to work in an organisation, there’s no excuse not to do your homework.

Is this the right opportunity?

Career coaches often talk about how each job is a stepping stone on a longer journey. So will this offer take you nearer your end goal?

What development will you gain from taking this job on? A great employment relationship is about reciprocity. You do a great job and in return the organisation rewards and develops you. Both sides have their needs met. Will this offer deliver on your needs beyond salary? You need to be sure.

If this job offer moves you in the wrong direction then that could set your career back rather you forward.

Are the logistics right?

It’s surprising how often people take jobs without thinking this through. For example, is the commute to work sustainable? A one off journey to an employer for an interview might be OK. However can you do that day after day, month after month? And when you get there is the working environment right for you?

Today many of us are used to remote or hybrid working. Will going back to an office be a blessing or a shock to the system? Alternatively if you’ll now find yourself working from home could that be an issue? Not everyone likes it. Nor does everyone have a good place to work at home.

Don’t allow yourself to make a snap choice

Most employers will accept that you need time to think a job offer through. Take them up on any offer to ask questions. Maybe ask for another chat with your potential line manager if you aren’t sure you are a good fit. And maybe meet your potential colleagues at the same time.

Do the commute to your potential new workplace again – this time in rush hour if you didn’t before. Ask to see where you will actually be working if you haven’t before. Don’t assume your desk or office will be as fancy as the meeting room you were interviewed in.

If you’ve been lucky enough to have outplacement support, talk to your career coach or career advisor before making a final decision. They’ll be able to give you valuable independent advice and guidance.