Job offers are exciting and they can also be overwhelming—especially if you’ve been in the market for a while. Here are a few important questions to get answered before you sign that offer letter!
1. What are the expectations from management?
This is a broad question. Things to consider include: the type of work you’ll be doing, the level of flexibility you’ll have with your daily schedule, how many hours you’ll be expected to work each week, and what hours you’ll need to be in the office. If your boss tells you that you’re allowed to work from home, you’ll want to clarify how that works and if there are any stipulations.
2. Does the company have a good reputation?
This is a question you'll need to research on your own. Check out a company’s reviews on Glassdoor, Yelp, and Google. Look at their social media pages to get an idea of what their customers and followers have to say. Look up their leadership team on LinkedIn and see if they have a professional presence and network.
3. What are my immediate priorities upon beginning the job?
“It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be” is one of the most common reasons people don’t last long in a new job. Before you sign that offer letter, ask what your priorities and major responsibilities will be in your new role. If you’re interviewing with more than one person, ask everyone the same question. If you get inconsistent answers, this is a red flag.
4. Do I understand my salary, commission, and bonus details?
It’s critical that you understand your compensation package before you accept a new position. Will you be exempt or non-exempt—this is important because it dictates whether you’re eligible for overtime pay. How is your commission calculated, when is it paid out, and under what parameters? If you’re eligible for a bonus, what do you have to do to qualify for it?
5. What are the health insurance costs, coverage details, and deductibles?
All health plans are NOT created equal. Most employers pay a portion of your health insurance costs, but don't assume that your new employer will pay as much as your previous employer, and don’t assume that the level of coverage will be the same. If you want to continue to see the same doctors, check to see if they are in-network on your new plan to avoid costly fees. You’ll also want to find out the deductible on your new plan because there can be sizable differences from one plan to the next; this will affect your income.
6. What’s in the non-compete agreement? Is it reasonable?
When you sign your new-hire paperwork your new employer will often include a non-compete agreement. These range from being very strict to not strict at all. Non-compete agreements typically prohibit you from stealing clients or trade secrets from one company and taking them with you to another company. However, some employers take it a step further and actually prohibit you from working for a competitor and some will even bar you from working for any company in the industry within a certain radius. This can be quite limiting, so read your non-compete carefully before you sign and make sure you know what you are agreeing to.
7. Do I need to ask for any special accommodations?
Whether it’s a vacation that you’ve had planned for a long time, or you need to leave at a certain time to pick up your child from school—don’t assume your new employer will be agreeable with your requests. Ask about any special accommodations you require before you sign your offer letter, and get their approval in writing.
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