The 8 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Accept A Job Offer
You got the job! They’re drawing up papers as we speak! Time to celebrate and start planning your ultimate desk strategy! But hold your horses – if you accept a job offer without asking these questions, you missed a crucial opportunity to find out more about the company and your new role.
Luckily, Refinery29 are on it. They’ve compiled a handy list of some of the best questions to ask before you commit to a new gig. Three career experts – Kate Aronowitz, Vice President of design at WealthFront, Ana Recio, Senior Vice President at SalesForce, and Amy Gallo, Contributing Editor of the Harvard Business Review – have dug deep and delivered a bunch of great questions to consider before saying yes.
#1 “What are the company’s goals?”
Ana Reico says that a manager’s willingness to be open with you about their company’s goals can let you know how seriously they take transparency in the workplace. Knowing how your work will be furthering the company’s goals can also keep you more engaged, informed and motivated about the work you’re putting out there.
#2 “What do you enjoy about working here?”
Similar to a question you might have asked in your initial interview, it’s important to figure out whether the company is committed to providing a healthy work environment. This question is a good way of figuring out the company’s culture; Ana says “ensuring a culture fit within your prospective new company is as important as your education, experience and skills.”
#3 “If there was one thing that people who work here could change about this organisation, what would it be?”
Similar to the first point, this one is all about company transparency. Amy Gallo recommends finding out what challenges your company is facing and whether there are any implemented strategies in mind to help solve them. These are the things you should know before accepting a job offer, because the more you know about your prospective workplace, the more informed your decision will be.
#4 “What would my first couple of weeks be like?”
Kate Aronowitz says you want to make sure you’ll be set up for success in your new role straight away, so knowing how you’ll be trained is a good indicator of how the company operates. It’s also a good measure of how the company is going to invest in you – or even, how much they value your position.
Of course, smaller companies might not have the resources for an intense on-boarding process, so if there’s little to no formal training process, keep this in mind when you’re making your decision. If you’re an independent worker who enjoys the challenge of figuring it all out on your own, then that’s great. But if not, you might struggle to get things off the ground in your first few weeks.
#5 “What does success look like, for this position, in a year’s time?”
Get to know what the typical career path of this position is. If you’re goal oriented, it helps to know what you’ll be working towards, or contrarily, whether there is in fact room for growth. You definitely want to know before taking the position that it could be leading you nowhere, as it might mean you’ll be back on the dreaded job hunt in a few years time.
As Kate puts it, by asking your manager about growth opportunities, “you’re making sure that by accepting this job, you’re not only going to be able to do the job at hand, but this is a place where you can truly grow your career.”
#6 “Can you give an example of someone on your team who was recently promoted?”
Learning about a company’s commitment to development can signal how much they value their employees. It’s also another way of finding out what success and growth can look like in your prospective company – for example, does the company reward clear-cut goals, or was the individual promoted because they took their own initiative and killed it?
More importantly, are people getting promoted? Some companies would rather hire externally than promote from within. If that’s the case, don’t get too comfortable – you might have to move on in a year or two if you’re wanting to climb the professional ladder.
#7 “Can you tell me how you determined my salary?”
Sure, it’s intimidating to talk salary and growth before you’ve even stepped foot in the door, but let’s just say you’ll be kicking yourself if you let it fall by the wayside. Just keep in mind that at this point, they’re invested in hiring you and it’s unlikely they’ll rescind the offer because you wanted to learn more about your salary determination.
Know this: negotiating your salary is pretty common these days, so don’t feel bad about asking your employer how they got to the number they are offering you. Amy says this strategy “will give you information you can then use to negotiate and also [learn] whether the number might be negotiable.”
#8 “When would I be eligible for a raise?”
Amy also explains what to do if you can’t get your salary to a number you want. She suggests asking for a timetable for a potential raise can be a good compromise. “You might consider asking whether they would consider a bump in salary at a predetermined time, e.g. six months, based on a thorough evaluation of performance,” she says. Hey, it can’t hurt to ask, right?
Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.