Before accepting a job offer you should spend some time carefully considering the exact specifications on the offer itself, and your own thoughts and reflections on your interviews and the company. Also, how your offer compares to other offers you may have already received, or expect to receive in coming days and weeks.
If you have been lucky enough to receive an offer from a top tier firm, your job offer should include many additional benefits apart from training and salary (such as gym, pension, insurance, etc).
Lower tier firms may not be able to offer you so many benefits or such a high salary, although they may be able to offer other kinds of attractive extras, such as 25 to 30 days' holiday (compared to most top firms' offers of 20 days).
Although there may be a great deal of differences between job offers, do not let things like salaries and special benefits (such as gym access) affect your decision too much. Remember that enjoying the job, liking the people you will be working with and having a good feeling for the firm you will be working for are all very important and will affect you far more than financial factors, such as an extra £1,000 a year salary.
You may also want to read this guide on how to decline a job offer, should you choose not to accept.
Before accepting a job offer consider if the proposed start date is suitable. If you would prefer to push back your start date by six to twelve months, in order to spend some time travelling, studying (for example for an MSc or MA) or spending time pursuing another activity, you should ask your prospective employer if this would be possible.
Often employers are able to delay your start date, particularly if the position you have been interviewing for is a graduate scheme with a large annual candidate intake.
Consider if the salary offered in your job offer contract is suitable. If you think you are worth more, or that the salary offered is particularly low, you should contact your employer to discuss the potential for the figure to be increased
Although it is not common for offered salaries for structured graduate schemes to be increased, smaller firms are often open to salary negotiations, especially if they are particularly keen on a candidate.
Consider whether your company will pay for your exams, your books and any other additional costs or expenses associated with vocational training. You should check the details of your job offer regarding exam resits - it is possible that you will have to pay for any exam resits, which may be expensive.
It is also worth investigating what happens if you fail an exam more than once. Many employers will fire trainees who fail multiple exams, and may even ask them to pay back their training costs if this happens, so it is important to know where you stand.
Before accepting an offer you should also check whether you are tied to the company for a certain period of time after you are qualified or not. Some employers require employees to pay back training fees if they leave their job immediately after completing training, for example.
Most large employers offer 20 days' holiday to new graduate trainees. Smaller employers may offer more holiday. Some employers offer trainees the chance to buy more holiday (by accepting a lower salary) or sell holiday (earning more money but enjoying less holiday days).
You should also be aware of whether or not you will be required to work on bank holidays and other holiday periods during your employment, before you accept an offer. Find out exactly where you stand before signing a contract.
Pension schemes are increasingly being offered by fewer employers. Large graduate employers will usually have some sort of pension scheme set up for their employees, but make sure you know where you stand on this before signing your contract. Although your pension may not seem important now, in 40 years you will be glad you investigated this.
Benefits such as gym membership are certainly not the most important part of your job offer, but it is useful to check exactly where you stand and what's on offer before accepting a job offer. Free gym membership could save you over £1,000 a year, if you are the type of person to use this kind of facility.
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