If you’ve stumbled across this article, chances are congratulations are in order — you were offered a job! That stressful period full of scouring through job ads, sending CVs, waiting for feedback, and getting your hopes up is finally over (well, hopefully).
Still, there might be a few questions you should clear up before accepting the job.
In this article, you’ll find some of the most important questions to ask both the hiring manager and yourself before you say one of the most important instances of “I do” in your life and accept that job offer.
Let’s begin, shall we?
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Questions to Ask the Hiring Manager Before Accepting a Job
When Is the Start Date?
Let’s start with the most obvious question to clarify before accepting a job offer. Make sure you and your prospective employer are on the same page regarding your potential start date. In a perfect world, you both would be willing to start cooperation immediately, but we all know it rarely works like this in real life!
Think about all the loose ends you may have to tie up before you’re able to start. What is your resignation period at your current employer, and is there a possibility to negotiate it forward? Do you have any unused vacation days, and would you get paid for them if untaken? Is there a holiday coming up you’d booked half a year ago? Keep in mind all these factors before finally agreeing on an exact date.
Even if everything seems obvious, double-check with your potential manager that you understand each other, and do it by email so you have it in writing. Take a start date at the “beginning of next month,” for example — does that mean Friday, the 1st, or Monday, the 4th? It might make more sense for an employer to begin your onboarding process at the start of a new week. Oh, and remember to ask about working hours, as well, especially if you’re starting a remote position!
What Does My Future Team Look Like?
This is a perfect question to better understand the overall picture of both your future responsibilities and the environment you’ll be working in. Will you be joining a large team with many members working in the same position? Or perhaps this is a new department and you’ll be one of the first people on it? Who would you reach out to if you need guidance or mentorship?
This post-interview, pre-acceptance question will give you a general idea of the company’s expectations towards your performance, especially on whether you’ll work on a team or more autonomously. Additionally, you will get some insight into whether there are strict guidelines in place regarding your position or if it’s more open to creativity and improvisation.
Related Read: How to Turn Your Passion Into a Career in 5 Easy Steps
What Are the Growth Opportunities in the Company?
This simple-yet-important question can tell you an awful lot about the company, its culture, and its approach towards employees.
How does the overall organizational chart look? Is there room for growth? Does the possibility exist to transfer between departments, should you so desire? Is your future manager an outside hire or were they once also in your prospective position?
After all, if you accept the job offer and successfully work some time in this company, you don’t want to reach stagnation. Knowing you can grow and gradually gain more skills and responsibility will keep you motivated and satisfied—good for both you and the company!
What Benefits, Perks, and Bonuses Can I Expect?
It is easy for a hiring manager to say “well, you know, we have all the standard benefits” during your interview. But there are two things which will be very important for you to know: when your eligibility for receiving benefits begins, and, of course, which benefits exactly to expect!
There are many ways a company can approach health insurance, for example. It can be quite basic or extended, with dental, vision, and the ability to include family members, for example. Perhaps there’s a gym membership, free lunches, an annual Christmas bonus, tuition reimbursement programs, or language classes. Some jobs even cover some or all of your MBA or Ph.D. costs! Armed with this information, you’ll be able to see your true compensation, a much more comprehensive picture than simply knowing your base salary.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting a Job
Is This the Right Working Environment for Me?
Even if you’ve been looking for a job for some time, don’t settle for just anything; make sure you’ll feel comfortable and satisfied as a part of this particular company. If you’re introverted or anxious in large groups, will you be required to give large presentations? Is working overtime a part of their culture, and, if so, are you ok with that? Do you agree with the values and beliefs the company portrays on their website, social media channels, or during the interview?
Make sure there are no red flags and you truly believe this company will be a place where you can thrive, professionally as well as personally.
Will This Position Help My Long-Term Career?
There are many reasons why we choose one job over another opportunity. And, unfortunately, it is easy to forget that a new job should be yet another step up your career ladder, especially when times are difficult and you might inwardly be begging for just any job.
In my experience, many people (myself included) make the mistake of picking a job for a variety of strange reasons. The new workplace might be close to their home, or a friend might have said they’ll put in a good word to their boss. Or, maybe this company was just the first one to send out a job offer. Oftentimes, people settle on a mediocre-but-definite offer just to get the stressful job-seeking process over and done with.
If you know that you want to pursue a career in the publishing business, for example, try your best to at least land a job in the publishing industry. Of course, life isn’t a fairytale and you might not have all the time (and money) in the world to wait for the perfect opportunity. However, even if you cannot score a job in a publishing house, try to find a place in a related area of the publishing sector that will be able to provide you with transferable skills or prime connections.
Am I Happy With the Salary?
Money is always a tricky topic to discuss during interviews, especially for women. You don’t want to ask for too much, but also you don’t want to agree on too little. If you’re happy with your future paycheck, that’s great! However, if you’re feeling disappointed about how the salary negotiations went, there is still a chance to turn it around.
Say you communicated a certain figure or range during the interview but ended up with a lower amount in your job offer. Now’s the time to speak up! We all might feel a little insecure when it comes to putting a price tag on our skills and abilities, and it may seem easier to remain silent rather than “making a scene”. Remind yourself that it is absolutely normal to ask for what you deserve, and give it another try!
Oh, and yes, make sure that you and your future employer are on the same page when it comes to gross and net pay (particularly in Europe or when working remotely for a European company)! Even if it seems obvious to you, it might not be that straightforward for the other party.
Do I Have Enough Info to Make a Decision?
The interview process can be stressful, to say the very least. Even if you performed spectacularly (and that’s why you got this much-anticipated job offer!), there might very well be some details that could have slipped your mind.
Does the office have dedicated parking? Is it possible to take your dog to the workplace? These are important questions for some people, but they often feel decidedly inconsequential when negotiating salary or vacation days. In turn, you might simply forget to bring them up during your interviews. Don’t wait until your first day at work to find out, as it will only add to your stress and anxiety!
Give the hiring manager a quick call, or write them a short, post-interview email if there are a few “minor” questions left unanswered after receiving your job offer. The given answer could even become a dealbreaker for you, and the sooner you learn that, the better.
Well, that’s my guide on the best questions to ask before accepting or rejecting a job offer, and I do hope these tips will help make your transition even just a little bit easier. Oh, and you can’t see it, but I have my fingers crossed for your future professional success!
This article was originally written by Mariia Kislitsyna for Girls in Work. Mariia Kislitsyna is a career and education writer focusing on the topics of professional development, college life, and self-improvement. Mariia is a master’s degree graduate in business strategy and a former IT recruiter, and she currently lives in Warsaw, Poland.