Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting The Job

Robin Schwartz

Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting The Job

Interviewing for a job you are really interested in can be a long and stressful process. So, when the company approaches you with an offer, you can’t wait to say “yes”! Before you take the plunge, consider if there are still some questions that need to be asked.

Do you offer flexible work schedules?

Flexible office hours or location may be important to you. If it is, it is best to know a company’s policy before you accept an offer. Many companies are beginning to embrace remote work locations or flexible schedules. More and more candidates are demanding the opportunity to create a work schedule that’s more convenient for them.

Due to the nature of some jobs or the industry, some companies just can’t offer the flexibility to work remotely. An accountant can do her job from home while a front desk attendant at a hotel can’t exactly phone in to work.

If the opportunity to flex your schedule and work-life top your list of priorities, it is best to ask up front.

What opportunities are available for professional growth?

Before accepting a new job, you want to be sure there are opportunities to grow your career at the new company. It doesn’t make much sense for your career to move into a role or with a company that you can’t advance in.

It is not always guaranteed that the next job you take will continue to lead to new opportunities. You want to be sure there’s at least a possibility.

A company that can talk about their plans to add staff and continue to grow might have future chances for promotion. Even if they have none available now. A company that doesn’t have plans to expand or change their organizational structure might be a dead end in terms of developing a career path.

What is the company’s process for merit increases or anniversary salary raises?

It’s not only the salary you are being offered to start a position, but your future salary potential. Understanding the company’s process for annuals reviews will help you make a decision about the offer.

Some companies are only able to offer small annual increases. Other companies have more robust bonus and increase structures. For some, performance based monetary raises or gifts are important.

Can you provide me information about benefits?

Benefits don’t just include medical and dental coverage. A benefits package might also include:

  • Vacation and other leave practices
  • 401ks
  • Transportation reimbursement programs
  • Continued education program
  • Work from home policies

Based on the information you receive about company benefits, you may or may not feel that additional negotiating is needed in terms of salary.

For example, if your previous employer offered the opportunity to work from home twice a week, you may have been able to save on childcare and transportation costs.

If the same benefit is no longer being offered to you, it will end up costing you more money to accommodate the additional hours in the office. You may feel it necessary to go back to the HR representative and request a higher starting salary.

Understanding the total compensation package (salary + benefits) is important before accepting an offer. There likely is not an opportunity to negotiate these items after you have accepted.

Can I get the offer in writing?

You want to be sure what you are being promised verbally matches up with what is on paper. Not having an offer in writing could lead to confusion later on. Many companies will follow verbal offers with formal written offer letters.

Before you hand in your resignation to your current employer, make sure your written offer outlines:

  • A start date
  • The accurate salary discussed
  • Scheduled hours
  • Any other items you might have negotiated during phone conversations

If anything appears on the offer letter that doesn’t match up with your negotiations, bring it to the company’s attention right away. It may be an oversight on a standard offer letter or it could be a miscommunication.

Assuming the letter is to your liking, stick to the timeline they ask you to return the letter by.

The final question to ask yourself: Is this the right job for me?

Just because you received an offer for a position doesn’t mean you have to accept. Assess where you are with your career and how this new opportunity with help you keep moving forward.

You also want to be sure that the company offers the environment and culture you want to work in. A fancy new title and a bump in pay may not be worth it if you are expected to work long hours.

The decision to accept a new job offer needs to take into consideration all of these factors.

Asking additional questions should allow you to become more confident that the new job being offered is the right one for you. If not, it is within your right to politely decline the offer.

If you decide to decline, there is no reason to go into detailed reasons with the company. Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity and let them know it is not the right time for you to make a move.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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