Kate Eberle Walker
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CEO, Author, Working Mom

Congratulations! You successfully navigated a series of job interviews, demonstrated your value, and now have been offered a job. Your prospective new employer has decided that you are a person who they want in their organization. Now it’s your turn. You get to decide if you want this company in your life. But how do you decide? Here are six questions to ask yourself to figure out whether this is the right opportunity for you. 

1. Do I like my boss? 

Your boss has the single greatest impact on your work experience. Make sure that this is a person you enjoy talking to and who you can relate to. You will be counting on your boss to not only make this work experience productive but also to support you in getting to your next step in your career. The basics tell a lot. Start by considering what happened in your interview. Did you enjoy the conversation? Make sure that you felt good about it—because if you accept this offer, you’ll be having many more conversations with them in your future.

2. Are there women on the company’s leadership team and/or board of directors? 

It has become “trendy” to prioritize gender equity in hiring and many companies are aggressively seeking out women to fill their open positions. With so much lip service out there, you need to figure out if this is a company that actually cares about promoting and advancing women. The best way to do this? Look to the top. If there aren’t any female executives or board members, this company is still in the early stages of valuing women and hasn’t yet built out the practices to make its gender equity goals a reality. If you don’t see women in the highest ranks of the company, you should wonder whether this is a place that really cares and values what women think.

3. Did I act like myself in the interviews? 

In today’s world, work intrudes upon life and life intrudes upon work. You’ll enjoy both more if you are your authentic self in both environments, rather than feeling like you’re putting on a show when you go to work. Reflect on how your interviews went. Do you feel like you were honest and genuine in your answers? Do you feel like you’ll be comfortable showing up on the first day of the job and be welcomed for who you truly are? The right company will care about all aspects of your life and welcome the whole person that you are.

4. Did I experience diversity among the people I met in the interview process?

In your interactions with the company, do you see diversity of thought and mindset? Are people of different races, genders, ages and backgrounds visible in the organization? In a company that truly values diversity of perspective, you will see representation everywhere. If you don’t, you have to question whether this is a company positioned to succeed in 2021 and beyond. Businesses that incorporate diverse perspectives into decision-making are more successful, make better-informed decisions and retain their employees. They also tend to invite participation in meetings and discussions in a way that ensures all voices are heard—not just the loudest ones.

5. Was I happy with the offer, or did I need to negotiate? 

Women have less success than men when negotiating job offers. The best employers for women give full value in their opening offer rather than forcing female candidates to play a negotiation game that they are disadvantaged in from the start. Good offers surprise on the upside, with compensation equal to or better than what you were expecting. If you weren’t excited by the initial offer, what happened when you tried to negotiate? If you feel reluctant to ask for what you want or find that the company is unresponsive to your requests, think twice before saying yes.

6. Are my preferences for flexibility and work from home aligned with theirs?

Emerging from the pandemic, working from home is now the norm in many places—but not everywhere. Companies are taking different approaches to their office facilities and work-from-home policies. Many women prefer, or even need, flexibility in their workdays. One recent survey found that women placed “flexibility” at the top of their list of priorities when selecting a job. Especially for working mothers, there will be times when your children and their needs intrude upon traditional working hours. This was more visible during COVID-19, but it doesn’t go away now that schools and offices are open. Whatever your preferences, make sure your new employer understands and accommodates what you need.

Living through a pandemic taught us that choosing the right workplace matters. We spend so much of our time at work and rely on our jobs to contribute to our life fulfillment. When you receive an offer, it’s worth it to really try to figure out if this is going to be a good place for you. Above all else, if it doesn’t feel right, follow your instinct and keep looking.

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This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.

Kate Eberle Walker is the author of The Good Boss: 9 Ways Every Manager Can Support Women at Work, and CEO of PresenceLearning, which provides teletherapy services for special education programs in K-12 schools.

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