Questions You Should Ask a Potential Employer Before Accepting a Job
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When you are offered a job, particularly after a long search, your first instinct will probably be to accept the position without question. It is important, however, to be realistic and responsible to both yourself and the employer before signing a contract. Below, review an informative list of questions to consider asking a potential new employer prior to accepting a job.
Demands and Benefits of the Job
“Is my contract firm? Can I have it in writing?”
You may have discussed pay rates and hours in the interview process, but verbal agreements are not binding. Ask for a written copy of your contract as soon as possible.
“What will my start date be?”
The date you begin work might be further away than you think. The company might wait until the beginning of each month to start new contracts, for example. You should know how long you will be expected to wait before you can begin earning.
“Can you describe my role?”
The title of the job that you interviewed for may not be very specific. Find out what the day-to-day tasks will entail, including any projects you might be expected to work on or to oversee.
“What resources do you use? Will I have access to them?”
You can specify what you think you will need – tools, software, etc. If these are not available, you can request that they be provided and explain their necessities.
“Will I qualify for benefits and insurance?”
The earlier you find out if you qualify for these, the better it will be for your planning and budgeting.
“How does time off and vacation work?”
The company might offer paid medical leave, or holiday pay. It might also be limited, or have a capped amount, so it is best to know as soon as possible. Make it clear when you ask this that you are not planning to take time off soon, but that you just want to be able to make plans.
“What is the pay period?”
You may be paid every week, every two weeks or every month. You might need to adjust direct debit orders, automatic savings transfers or utility payments accordingly.
“Do you have a dress code?”
Waiting until just before your first day to work this out might result in a rushed, expensive shopping trip.
“How many hours are employees expected to work? How many do they usually work?”
Some companies have a culture of arriving early and staying late, beyond the stated hours in the contract. You may be expected to put in extra time to finish a project or to prepare something for the next day.
“What kind of contact do you expect outside of work hours?”
An eight-hour day can turn into a twelve-hour day if your supervisor or project leader is constantly messaging you before and after work. It is good to set these boundaries early, especially if you are the caretaker of your family.
“Are the hours here flexible?”
The business may be fine with you starting and ending the day early or late, if you maintain the hours specified in your contract. You may be able to adapt your work schedule to your other commitments.
“Do you have company social events or mandatory retreats?”
Your attendance at evening or weekend business events may be expected – or required. If you cannot make these kinds of commitments, you should find out if this will impact your career.
“To whom will I report? Who will be training me?”
The way the company is structured will affect how you do your work. You could be trained by the person to whom you report, or as part of a team. It is also useful in the case of a confusing first day to know who is in charge.
“Can you describe the management style here?”
You may be able to adapt to any style of management, but it is better to be prepared. You might struggle with a “hands-on” management style if you have always managed your own time before, and vice versa.
“What is the funding like?”
In the case of a start-up business, the company might have incomplete funding or be “taking a chance” on success. This is quite normal, but you may require more stability.
“What are the opportunities for expansions and promotions like?”
A job that allows growth and longevity might be preferable to short-term work that pays a little better. Asking can also show your readiness to commit to the company.