Ten Questions I Wish I'd Asked Before I Took The Job
By Liz Ryan
Anybody can understand why a job-seeker might choose to be extremely flexible and accommodating when they’re considering a job offer.
It’s exciting to be offered a job. Somebody wants you to come and work for them. If you need a job to pay next month’s rent, you might think “The last thing I want to do is make these folks uncomfortable by asking too many questions!”
Anybody can understand why you’d feel that way, but you will learn a painful lesson if you neglect to ask these ten critical questions before you accept a job offer.
You simply have to know the parameters of the assignment you’re about to accept. If you take the position and only then find out that they expect you to work every other Saturday for no pay and that showing up two minutes late to work will get you put on probation, you’ll wish you had asked more questions earlier!
If your fearful brain tells you “Don’t make waves!” and you accept the job without asking these questions, any number of snakes will be lined waiting to bite you. By the time the first snake bites, you’ll be ensconced in the job.
Will you be willing to quit your job because you learned a few weeks or months too late that one or more of the working conditions of the job was unacceptable or downright insulting?
You could find yourself wishing you had kept your job search going a little longer, especially if you had other irons in the fire when you jumped at the first job offer you received.
Ten Questions You Must Ask Before Accepting A Job Offer
1. What are the working hours here?
2. How much flexibility in working hours or location (e.g., working from home) is customary in your department?
3. What is considered a normal workday here?
4. How “reachable” do you need or expect the person in this role to be, particularly during the evenings and on weekends?
5. How do paid time off, including vacation, personal and sick time work in this company?
6. What are your expectations around communication? Do you prefer to use email, face-to-face conversations, the telephone or text to communicate? How fast a response time from me do you expect, especially after hours?
7. Will the person in this job take work home, and if so what are your expectations around work performed at night and on the weekends?
8. What set of criteria will you use to evaluate my performance in this role?
9. How much business travel, if any, should I expect to do in this job?
10. What will my level of authority and decision-making responsibility in this role? Will I have a budget, and if so how is that budget allocated and managed?
You probably won’t have the chance to ask all these questions in one sitting. You will drip out the questions during your interviews with your hiring manager, and if necessary get any missing answers by phone or email as you get closer to the job offer stage.
We have to keep in mind that accepting a job offer is no different from entering into any other business relationship. You have to know the terms of the deal before you step into the job. Find your voice and ask these questions and avoid snakebites!
Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author ofReinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.