The best thing has happened: You get an interview with a company, and it’s looking like you may get the job. You’re excited, but please — stop, and take a breath, then do these five things before you start unpacking your photos and office supplies at your new desk.
- Speak with someone who works/worked at the company. The ideal would be to speak with the person who had the job before you to get a true sense of what it’s like to work at that company. If this isn’t possible, look the company up on Glassdoor. Either way, it will give you a better sense of what you’re getting yourself into — and a great opportunity to get yourself out before it’s too late.
- Research salaries for the job and for the city/region. Sometimes we are so determined to take a job we can hurt ourselves by taking a salary that is too low. PayScale and Salary.com help you make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth and what market salaries are.
- Check the cost and terms of your health insurance. The company may have health insurance, but you need to know how much it will cost you, both in monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. I went to a company that covered me if I got hit by a bus, but didn’t pay when I fractured my ankle. Employers are making employees pay more of their health care costs and premiums, which takes a chunk out of your negotiated salary.
- Review the vacation/sick leave/holiday/flextime policies. Every company is different. Some will give you every federal holiday and some give none. Some companies combine vacation and sick leave into personal time off, and some make you use your vacation. Also see if the company offers flextime and the chance to telecommute.
- Negotiate. Most potential employees are so happy to get a job they take what they can get, no questions asked. But once a job is offered, that is the time to negotiate for things that are important to you. Do you have a vacation planned or want paid time off to attend professional conferences? Let your employer know. If the salary isn’t quite what you want, ask for extra vacation or personal days. Get everything in writing so there’s no misunderstanding later.