3 Things To Do Before Accepting That Job

before you sign the contract

There is so much advice out there on how to get that job. However, what you do between the time you are offered that job, and when you accept it, can shape how successful you are.

Especially when you’re desperate to leave your current job, or the new offer is the perfect next step for you, it’s all too easy to jump without having taken very necessary steps first.

Here’s my simple three-step list of things to do before you accept any job offer.

  1. Check the company out on Glassdoor. Glassdoor offers the chance for people to rate their own employers – though you have to keep in mind that those who want to do so probably have a bee in their bonnet. Regardless, it’s a good tool that will show you the worst in the company you could be working for. If they are inflexible about working times, have disorganised management or go through restructuring every year, it’s better to know before you sign on the dotted line.
  2. Research average salaries. Glassdoor has a feature that allows you to do this, but you may want to compare against other websites, such as Indeed. 99% of the time you will be able to negotiate the salary, even if the exact salary was listed in the job description. Women are particularly bad at doing this – we don’t want to seem unlikable and difficult. However, if the average person doing your job is getting paid more, then you need to ask for more. It’s as simple as that. Also, just as an aside, when applying for jobs I never give details of my current salary, as what my worth is to my current boss should not have any relation to the worth I have to my next boss.
  3. Read the contract. You may be thinking that this is an obvious thing to do, but how many people can say that they actually have read their work contract thoroughly? There may be things hidden in there that would greatly affect your working life – for example, in one contract I signed it said that if I handed in my notice I wouldn’t be able to claim commission for that month. It meant that I missed out on an extra £500 the month that I left. Other things to look out for are things like rules on intellectual property. This is important for me, as I write online (and hopefully soon books) about things relating to my work. I wouldn’t want anyone preventing me from doing these things.


I’d love to know how many you do these three steps during your job hunting and accepting process! If you think I’ve missed anything out, do let me know in the comments.


  1. Most jobs in the US don’t have a contract- there’s an offer letter, sure, but the terms are usually not legally binding in the same way they are in other parts of the world. Up until my stint in Germany, I had no idea that employment contracts were such a big deal!

    • Charlotte says

      ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How do you know what’s expected of you, or that your company will grant you in return for work?

      • We do get an offer letter, and that typically spells out your salary and core set of paid benefits, health insurance, PTO, and so forth. What I mean is that the work is not *contractual,* it’s usually at-will, and can be severed by either the employer or the employee at any time.

        I heard once of a guy in Germany who signed an employment contract and then quit before his starting date, and was then sued by the company for violating the contract. Something like that would simply not happen in the US, because the notion of an employment *contract* is just not commonly done.

        • Charlotte says

          I guess that’s why you don’t have any notice period either, right?
          I can’t believe you don’t have work contracts there.

          • Yes- the thing you hear about giving two week’s notice is a custom and a courtesy, but there’s no legal reasoning behind it.

            For what it’s worth, I enjoyed working in Germany more for just that reason- I never worried in Germany that I would be fired for calling in sick. That sort of thing is all to common in the US. We’re among the worst in the civilized world for worker protections. (And don’t get me started on health care, maternity leave, and so forth.)
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