You crushed your internship—nice work, by the way!—so much so that the company has offered you a full-time job. For the first time in your life, you have a salary in front of you, benefits, and a fancy professional title to append to your resume. There’s no reason not to take the offer, right?
In reality, you might be leaving a better option on the table by not exploring other opportunities. Then again, it may be the right call to stay at a place you know and are familiar with. So what do you do?
We spoke to career experts about whether you should take that job offer—or keep looking for something better.
Even though you may have interned at this company for a few months, you may not know what it's like to work there full-time. For better or worse, interns often have vastly different experiences than employees who work year-round. Before committing, it’s essential to research the job and company. That includes asking current employees who used to be interns what their transitions were like, as well as meeting other members of the team and asking about their experiences working for the company.
"Your goal should be to learn as much as possible about the company," says Marc Prosser, the cofounder and managing partner of Fit Small Business, a site that provides reviews and articles for small business owners. "The best way is to talk to people and set up interviews. Ask the internship coordinator to see if they can set up meetings for you with members in management to learn more."
It’s always good to keep your options open, but you don’t want indecision to cost you opportunities. That’s why clarifying the time you have to make a decision is crucial.
"Explore other options, but keep in mind not to take too long," says Prosser. "Whenever you’re offered a job, be sure to ask, ‘How long do I have to decide?’"
Next, decide what you’re looking for in terms of compensation and benefits, as well as what kind of company culture you want for the long term. Knowing these factors will help you decide, advises Tiffany Gibson, lead talent acquisition specialist at Alexander Mann Solutions, a Cleveland-based talent acquisition and management solutions company.
"The question is, what’s your motivation for wanting to explore those other [job] opportunities?" she says. "Know your deal breakers and ask questions about the perks or benefits you feel you’re missing out on." If you think the place you've been interning with won’t be the right cultural fit or just can’t offer the benefits you need (schedule, commute, insurance, etc.), then it’s probably a good idea to look elsewhere.
Remember, your first job is far from the end-all be-all, especially with millennials making job hopping the new norm. So if you are happy with your coworkers, the compensation and benefits you’ve been offered, and the opportunity for career growth, then it usually makes sense to take the job.
For Alexandra Vidaeff, marketing and business development coordinator at Graced by Grit, a women’s workout apparel company, the decision was easy. She based her decision of accepting the full-time offer from her internship off of these four factors:
- She felt respected by the company’s senior management.
- She was given an immense amount of responsibility immediately.
- She found a mentor who helped ensure she was growing professionally and within the company.
- She knew her coworkers were intelligent, hard-working, creative, and fun.
"I knew that even if I got a better offer, [one that was] better paying or from a more prestigious company, I would not feel so respected or so trusted to do work that directly affects the image and growth of the company," Vidaeff says.
Whatever you decide, congratulations if you’re offered a full-time gig from your internship. That means you’ve been doing a stellar job—and you’ve got a great start to your career ahead.
This article originally appeared on Monster and is reprinted with permission.