The job offer: Should you accept the first offer – what if it’s not really what you want?

Should you accept that first offer? Just because they gave you the offer doesn't mean you should accept it. Recruitment expert Mike McDonagh explores the possibilities.


Should you accept the first offer – what if it’s not really what you want?
Sometimes you have to take two or three steps before you get the job you really want. If you can see that the job you’ve been offered will help you build your experience and get you closer to your dream job, then maybe it’s worth going for. However, if you think it’s worth holding out for the perfect job, then hold out. Only you can make this decision, but again, recognise that you’ll most likely have multiple jobs in your career (and even multiple careers). If you’re resourceful and ambitious, you can get value out of any job and use it to build towards your ideal role.  So let’s say you take the first job and you realise it’s not for you – make something out of it – you never know, you may build relationships, connections, alliances, find mentors and advocates that will help you in your career in the future.

Do you take the first job that you find?
If it feels right, and it’s your dream job, then don’t turn it down just because it’s the first one that comes along. You should have a list of requirements that any job offer needs to meet and have a good understanding of which ones are essential to your decision, and which you can compromise on – they may include company, industry, location of job, type of work, what training is offered, whether further education is supported, who can you learn from in that organisation, is there travel, benefits and then salary. You should also consider how other people rate the company you’re about to join – Glassdoor, Ratemyplacement and TheJobCrowd are all sources of independent feedback on places of work
Remember, you’re taking your first step out of college – I hate to tell you, but you may be working for another 45 years!  If you make the wrong decision at this stage, it’s not a disaster and other jobs will come up.  So if it feels right, and you can afford to take the risk, go for it.  Chances are, you will be working in a different industry or profession within 10-15 years, so don’t think that this is the rest of your life you’re signing up for here.

Should you seek feedback – especially if you thought it went well
Yes, you should.  Hopefully companies are getting more cognizant of their employer brand and are beginning to realise that, with sites like Glassdoor, their reputation is being formed by people who have good or bad experiences with them.  So definitely press for feedback and detailed feedback at that.  If you didn’t get the job, take it on the chin and ask why – what could you have done differently, what experience would they recommend you go and get and can you apply again?  We recently took on a new associate who had been rejected at their first attempt.  However, rather than shying away from the feedback, they asked what experience they needed to get that would improve their chances and they went off and got six months experience. They came back and sailed through the (very tough!) recruitment process.

Mike McDonagh is a director with HAYS Recruiting experts worldwide