I recently found myself in the job market. Even though it was somewhat of a shock, I embraced the idea of looking for a new job with excitement and lots of energy. I didn’t know what to expect or what the outcome may be, but I did know if giving the opportunity to meet face to face, I could influence the individual or group that my experience, knowledge, beliefs, and relationship approach to the profession would result in a positive outcome.
Well, there were more roadblocks than I anticipated along my journey (those will be coming in future blogs). However, I did land several offers, all within a week of each other.
Yes, I made it through the most difficult part of the job search. Well maybe not, deciding on what job to accept and if we were willing to move was pretty difficult in its self.
Throughout this process, I think one of the most difficult things to do was ask the right questions. Questions that provided relevant information to make the right choice. I believe I was so excited that I had an offer, much less multiple offers, that my thought was just to pick the one with the highest salary. Flawed thinking. I didn’t have a job, and I needed a job, so why did it matter. Money is the most essential thing in the position, right? Again, flawed thinking. You need to assess and evaluate all offers based on the role, the company, culture, future, benefits, and salary.
As I began looking at my options and trying to decide on what offer was right for me and my family, I realized I made a few critical interview and follow up mistakes. I didn’t get all the information I needed to make a decision based on sound facts and ultimately intuition.
After the decision was made, I read an article in HR Digest that listed practical questions to ask before you accept a job offer. Reading it, made sense and made me realize I fell short in my preparations for choosing the right offer. Now, I am not saying I picked the wrong position. In fact, I love my job, and it offers excellent challenges with exceptional growth opportunities. However, I believe I could have had a much better understanding of the role and those jobs competing with it.
From that article, I narrow down several questions I feel are relevant to the job search process and any impending offer.
When I began to evaluate each offer and looking back, I realized I should have focused on three main areas. I then identified seven questions in each area I feel are important in the interview process and job offer evaluation.
Interviewing is a two-way street. The employer is offering you the job, and you are providing the talent.
When you ask questions, it shows interest in the company, gives you more information, and makes the conversation flow between you and the interviewer.
- How did this position come to be open?
- What does success look like in this role?
- What would my immediate priorities be?
- What are the most significant challenges people face when they start out in this position?
- Who will I report to directly?
- What are the expectations of this position over the first twelve months?
- How would you measure my success, if I were chosen for this role?
These questions would serve multiple purposes. It would give you a brief idea about how well suited you are for the role or the management style. It also lets the company know you’re motivated, passionate and ambitious in life. Moreover, they will open doors to discuss training, what projects you’ll be working on, and whom you would be working with.
SALARY & BENEFITS
- Is the pay negotiable?
- What is included as a part of your benefits package?
- What kind of opportunities exists for personal growth?
- What is the bonus structure? Will I be eligible this year? Is the percentage negotiable?
- What metrics or goals will I be evaluated against?
- How much paid vacation time will I get per year?
- Can I carry over the paid vacation time if I don’t utilize it?
These are specific questions you can ask when considering a job offer. It will make it much easier for you to negotiate on your contract before you join the team.
THE COMPANY CULTURE
- Where do you see the company in the next five years?
- Can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?
- Would you mind giving me a tour of where this job would take place so I can get a feel of where I’d be working and who I would be working with?
- How is work-life balance in the company?
- What is the company culture here like?
- Would I be able to represent the company at industry events and conferences?
- Can I answer any final questions for you?
These are some very good questions to ask before you accept a job offer. It means you’re already thinking about the role you have been offered. You can also find out whether a company is right for you.
It will also help you make a better decision when you’re deciding between multiple offers so you can compare responses.