What to Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer

March 21st, 2013 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »

Character with question

When you receive a job offer with a hefty salary, don’t jump the gun and accept the job before giving some serious thought to the big picture. Ask the following questions and make sure that you will be satisfied with the end result.

When your long, exhausting job search brings you through countless applications, interviews, games of phone tag, and polite rejection letters, you may be tempted to jump at the first opportunity offered without giving it a second thought. Avoid that temptation. Accepting a job offer should not be a decision made on a whim. Even though the salary might be right, you need to ponder over the big picture, analyzing both the pros & cons as you build toward your final decision. To make sure you maximize your time throughout the hiring process, you need to find the answers to these questions before the offer is ever presented.

Are there development opportunities? If you aspire to grow into a leadership role, a flat organization where management is staffed to capacity can leave you unfulfilled. If you are earnest about expanding your technical aptitudes, a highly compartmentalized organization can create the same effect. To find out whether or not development opportunities exist, ask what the position can lead to in 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years time. Ask about ongoing training, highlighting your passion to stay current & on point. If your questions elicit weak responses, you may have to look elsewhere to avoid sticking yourself in a stagnant rut.

Can you be productive in their office? An office’s atmosphere not only contributes to your on-the-job contentment but to your overall ability to produce exceptional work. Introverts & extroverts handle different workspaces differently. Where an extrovert may thrive in the commotion of a fast-paced open-office, an introvert may be stifled amidst all the chatter. Moreover, where an introvert may thrive in a secluded work place, an extrovert may feel cut off from the pulse of the company.

Personally, you know what works best for you, so ask questions during the interview to get some clarity on your future workspace. If you are taking part in an onsite interview, ask to see your future workspace. If offsite or on a video conference, ask questions about the office environment to tease out the answers you need.

Is the work challenging? A job that fails to keep you challenged will start to wear on you before you know it. So, start thoroughly investigating the position – through job board postings & inquiries during the interview – to find out whether or not the challenges you encounter will be too old hat for your skill level. Ultimately, if you find yourself unchallenged, the likelihood that you will grow or excel in this position is relatively slim.

Is there an ample work/life balance? Determining the work/life balance of a company is not always a straightforward feat. Some companies will directly discuss their culture on their website while others will remain coy until you ask the right questions. Avoid questions that explicitly discuss schedules, PTO, and other related perks (these questions always make you sound more mercenary than you ever intend). Instead, ask about the company culture & team dynamic, getting the hiring manager to unveil answers on his or her terms.

In conclusion: Do not wait until the very end of the hiring process to make a split second decision about these job factors. Be proactive throughout, asking the right questions and doing supplementary research to help you make an informed decision. That way, you commit yourself to a rewarding position and keep yourself free from the trying nature of the job search.

by James Walsh

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