Having someone call and offer me a job out of the blue would be like winning the lottery. It’s not something I’m counting on, although certainly something I’d welcome.

How many of you know someone who has been headhunted? Or been given an unexpected promotion by a current employer when they’ve tried to resign?  Being offered a job seemingly out of nowhere sounds nice, and is more likely to occur once you have proven experience in your chosen field, and have made a number of connections.

Building up social media connections can expose your resume and experience to headhunters.  Recruiters are searching for candidates in online resume databases and on social media sites.  Being recruited via a web profile you posted online seems like an ideal situation to me. It certainly takes the stress and strain out of the job hunt. No searching, no cover letter, no in-person networking! Someone likes the experience you’ve noted online, and just like that you have an interview request. Perfect!

Similar surprises can occur within your current organization. I know of at least two situations in which a friend or colleague has successfully interviewed for a new position with a new organization, only to have their current employer offer them a raise and promotion when they tried to give notice. This can be extremely encouraging and at the same time a little off-putting. It’s always nice to know that an employer values your work, but it shouldn’t take a competing job offer to find out how important you are to the team. (And there are significant pitfalls to accepting a counter-offer, and that’s something we’ll write about next.)

Regardless of how a surprise job offer lands on your desk, it is exciting and rewarding to know that you are at a place in your career that potential employers are seeking out your expertise.  But, along with this acknowledgement comes a caveat – is the offer the right offer for you?

Like a job you found by pounding the pavement, it is important to assess what is being offered. Are you going to be happy with the workload and the environment? If not, can you live with the things that don’t seem to work for you?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before being swept off your feet by the unexpected.

Is it the right opportunity?

Regardless of the source of an offer, it is important to learn all you can about the position, and then assess whether or not it is inline with the direction you are taking your career. You may want to know if the job will provide opportunities that allow you to advance your skill set – opportunities you are not currently being offered.

What is the environment of the new organization?

Another important aspect to consider is the culture of the organization and to whom you will report. You’ll want to know if the management style is one that will provide you with the opportunity to thrive.

Is there room to grow?

Along with assessing if it is the right opportunity, you’ll want to know if you’ll have room to grow. That doesn’t just mean learning new skills – will it be a place where you’ll eventually be given more responsibility?

How stable is the opportunity?

Stability seems to be something on everyone’s mind these days. Contracts can be great, but they don’t work for everyone. If you enjoy a certain amount of stability in your current job, you will want to know how stable the organization, and the offered position is.

A surprise offer can lead to a great and unexpected opportunity, but just because a job has seemingly fallen into your lap doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right job for you. Before you say yes, it is important to weigh the pros and cons or your current position and those of the potential position. It is nice to be wooed, but always make sure it’s by an organization that works for you.