Congratulations! You got an accounting job offer. But should you accept it? Often, job seekers work so hard at wooing potential employers, they forget to ask themselves whether the position or the employer is really the right one for them.
Even if the title, salary and benefits look great, consider the bigger picture. Does this job offer represent a stop-gap, or is it going to keep your career moving in the right direction? Are you going to feel happy day to day, or perpetually overwhelmed and frustrated? Fortunately, with today's low accountant unemployment rate, the candidate-friendly job market provides room for you to pose such questions.
Of course, you may be under pressure to secure that first paycheck or leave your current job. Those are very understandable motives. But don't ignore any red flags you see along the way. Before you say yes to an accounting job offer, consider these seven signs that you might just want to keep looking.
1. The hiring process was chaotic
2. You got prepped about an 'unavailable' manager
Your relationship with your manager plays a huge part in your well-being on the job. If the hiring team tries to shine a positive light on an otherwise difficult personality, beware. If they are hesitant to introduce you, consider yourself warned. Hold off on accepting an accounting job offer from a hiring team that tells you the person who will supervise you is "unavailable."
The same goes for future members of your accounting team. Ask to meet and talk with them, preferably on your own. If the hiring team fails to oblige, consider that a red flag.
3. The salary is less than you want
Consider current compensation trends by geographic location for the position you being offered. You can get salary estimates with resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals, which comes in handy when you’re negotiating pay. What’s important to you besides salary? Keep in mind the value of benefits and employee perks, flexible scheduling and professional development.
4. There is no clear path to learning and growth
Ask about your potential for growth on the job. It is vital both to your job satisfaction and career advancement. An ideal workplace welcomes such questions, especially during hiring and onboarding. Better yet, they'll provide a clear path for you to achieve your goals. If their answers are muddled or dismissive, maybe you should consider continuing your search.
5. It requires a killer commute
A 90-minute drive to an interview may seem very doable, but what will it be like on a daily basis? What will traffic conditions be like during your actual commute hours? If you arrive at work tired and irritated, you may be setting yourself up for both unhappiness and underperformance.
The same principle applies to work-related travel. It may seem like no big deal, maybe even exciting, during the interview process. But picture the reality of constant security lines and 6 a.m. flights.
Recent research shows the commute to work is one of the top five factors for evaluating job offers.
6. You find out about high employee turnover
Before you accept an accounting job offer, consider turnover data and employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed part of your potential employer's resume. Gaps in your resume are fair game. The same is true for their resume. Be diplomatic, of course, but don't be afraid to ask the company to address difficult questions.
If they dodge them, you just spotted a red flag. There still may be good explanations, but make sure you get them before you take on their terms of employment.
7. You feel uncomfortable with the mission
When you really believe in a company's mission, you are far more likely to go above and beyond. And with hard work and maybe some luck, you will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If you do not feel comfortable with the mission and are only accepting the job offer because you need the paycheck, you are far less likely to feel job satisfaction. You are also less likely to feel the kind of motivation that can truly advance your career.
When assessing an accounting job offer, remember you are evaluating the employer as much as the employer is evaluating you. Honestly consider whether the job will stretch — or break — your limits.
Have you decided to keep looking for full-time finance and accounting opportunities?