It is nice to be wanted. And career-wise nothing sends a stronger message than a job offer.

Getting an offer is to be celebrated. There may have been hundreds of applicants and you’re the one who has been chosen. It tells you your CV was pretty impressive and your interview skills were better than others. You did well and deserve a hearty pat on the back.

In all the excitement it is easy to say yes and accept on the spot – without thinking through whether this is the right offer, not just any offer. No doubt if you are working through an agency they’ll want you to say yes there and then. After all, their fee depends on your decision. However, you can, and should, take time to reflect.

Any career choice is a big one. Most of us spend more of our waking lives – at least Monday to Friday – at work rather than home. Our happiness at work impinges on much more than 9-5 too. It shapes how we behave in our wider lives. Miserable at work often means grumpy and irritable at home. And if you take a job with too little pay, too long a commute or too little job satisfaction your initial elation will soon turn to frustration and resentment.

Way back when you started your job search you should have taken time to consider the essentials your next job has to deliver. Now’s the time to go back to that list and start evaluating the offer against your own criteria. Is this a great offer – or is your excitement more about being wanted than the actual intrinsic value of the job?

Some key questions you may want to ask might include:-

  • Is the pay enough? Can you actually live on it – including the cost of travel?
  • Is the journey sustainable long term? Heading over for an interview was one thing. Could you do that trip every single day? Possibly for years?
  • Did you actually like the people you met? Could you imagine yourself being with them for hours at a time?
  • Does the employer’s culture match up to your own values? Or did you find yourself questioning what they do or how they do it?
  • Is the job enough of a challenge? Or would you quickly get bored?
  • Are there career opportunities? If things like promotion and training are important to you make sure they are realistically on offer.
  • Does the job actually fit with your wider life? For example does it demand long or very variable working patterns? How does that impact on your family, your interests and your commitments?

It is likely that what you defined at the start of your journey was a “dream job”. Your ideal, perfect role and environment. Those don’t come along very often – some compromise is nearly always required. However too much compromise often results in dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Before you say “yes” just be sure you are walking into a new job with your eyes wide open. You are allowed to say “thanks, but no thanks”. Or “yes, but only if…”

It is a big decision. Make sure it is the right one.

‘I’ve got a job offer. Now what?’ was written by Mike Burgneay, MD Chiumento Consulting. If you like what you’ve read why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and read all our future advice and musings on the world of work.