You did it! After carefully crafting the perfect cover letter and resume and artfully answering several rounds of tough interview questions, you landed a job offer! Without a doubt, this is the most exciting part of the job search process for all job-seekers. But before you pop out the champagne and sign on the dotted line, there are a few questions you want to make sure you ask your prospective new employer.
What Should I Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer?: 15 Questions to Ask
1. What is my total compensation package?
This might not be the very first question you ask, but it is probably at the forefront of your mind, so let’s get it out of the way. Even your dream job may not work out if the numbers don’t add up. Make sure that you fully understand what your total compensation will be. This includes base salary, bonus, and benefits (and when they kick in). If for any reason you are not happy with the offer, you can always ask if there is room for negotiation. (How do you negotiate salary with HR or a prospective employer? Our guide has the answers.)
2. What is my job title?
Imagine interviewing for a Manager role only to show up on your first day and find Assistant written on your business card. Although an extreme example, it is very important that you clarify and agree on what your title will be. The title should be commensurate with the job responsibilities, and you should also have an understanding of where your position falls within the company structure.
3. To whom will I be reporting?
You may already have this information from your interview, but if for any reason you’re unsure about whom you will be reporting to, now is the time to ask. You should also clarify if there is anyone else to whom you will have to report besides your direct boss.
4. With whom will I be working?
This is another question you may have gotten answered during your interview, but it’s important to understand how your team is structured. Are you the only one in your role or are there several of you fulfilling the same function? If there are several of you, how does the work get divided? You should also ask which other teams or departments you will be working with so that you can get a fuller picture of what your day to day will look like. You can even ask to meet some of your team members beforehand if you didn’t get a chance to do so during the interview stage.
5. What is my schedule?
While a standard workday typically runs from about 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., you can’t assume that your schedule will look like this, even if you work in an office environment. Knowing what times you’re expected to come in and to leave will help you to manage your calendar and ensure the schedule works for your life.
6. Do you offer any flexible work programs?
Companies today are offering more and more flexible work options for employees. Whether your company lets employees work from home a few times a week or allows them to work unconventional hours, it’s good to know what kind of flexibility you will have before going into the job. Another good reason to ask this question is that if your company doesn’t offer anything like this, it’s much easier to negotiate a flexible schedule upfront than it is to try doing so once you’ve settled into a routine. (You shouldn't ask about benefits in an interview, so now is the ideal time.)
7. What are your vacation and sick leave policies?
Everybody gets sick and everybody needs time to rest and recharge. Before you accept a job offer, be sure to know how many days your company offers for paid sick leave, as well as personal paid time off. Some companies now offer unlimited, “take what you need” time off. In this case, asking the average amount of time most employees take can give you a better understanding of the company culture and expectations.
8. Do you have a parental leave policy?
Most larger or more established companies will have a parental leave policy in place, and it’s good to know what it is. Smaller companies may not have a parental leave policy, which is something you would definitely want to know before joining. Even if you’re not planning on starting a family any time soon, you never know when this may become relevant, so best to know ahead of time so that you can adequately prepare. If you feel uncomfortable asking this question at the offer stage, you can also use sites like Fairygodboss.com to get a sense of the company’s leave policy.
9. Do you have a retirement program?
Retirement might be years away, but the time to start preparing is now. Ask your employer if they offer a 401(k), pension, or any other retirement program to help you start saving for your golden years. You should also feel comfortable digging into specifics such as company matching, relevant fees, investment options, etc.
10. How will my success be evaluated?
One of the most important questions you can ask before accepting a job is how your performance will be evaluated. Do they have a formal yearly review process or is feedback given on an ad hoc basis? How does the company decide who to promote and when? Understanding your career prospects and how to advance is key if you are looking to grow with a company.
11. Will the company pay relocation expenses?
If you have been offered a job outside of where you live, you should ask the hiring manager or HR representative about relocation expenses. Many companies will pay for all or a portion of your moving costs, which could make the offer all the more enticing.
12. What kind of training will I receive?
Some companies will provide training programs to get you up to speed on what you need to know to be successful. Others will expect you to hit the ground running, so be sure to ask this question so you can adequately prepare for your first day. You can also ask about professional development offerings as you continue to grow within the company.
13. Can I get this in writing?
While some jobs may only extend verbal offers, it’s always a good idea to ask to get your job offer in writing. Having a written offer gives you the chance to confirm all of the important details that were discussed during the interview or when you were extended the verbal offer. A standard offer letter will include your title, salary, benefits, and start date, among other important information.
14. By when do you need a response?
You should never feel pressure to accept a job offer on the spot. After all, it’s a really big decision. However, you also need to be mindful of your potential employer’s needs. You should expect anywhere from a few days to a week to make your decision.
15. When do I start?
Because you don’t want to miss your first day!
How Do You Accept a Job Offer?
Accepting a job offer from a potential employer is exciting. Once you've asked these questions and established the terms, make sure you get a complete offer and summary of what you've discussed. You should also formally accept the position in writing. For more tips, read How to Accept a Job Offer: 4 Steps You Can't Afford to Miss.