08 March 2005

10 questions to ask about a new job

So the job has been offered to you and you’re feeling unsure whether you should accept it or not? Are you feeling emotionally insecure whether you’re making the right decision?

So the job has been offered to you and you’re feeling unsure whether you should accept it or not? Are you feeling emotionally insecure whether you’re making the right decision?

Remember that this job offer is a career change and a step forward. It’s not just “another job”. It can change your emotional well being in many ways. Here are some questions to ask before accepting the job. This will assist you immensely in making the crucial decision.

  1. Is the company financially sound?
    People often join a company that’s expanding without having much knowledge of their financial security. If it crashes, it takes you down with them. Investigate as much as possible.
  2. What are the company’s objectives in the short, medium and long term?
    Will you be working for a forward-thinking or a plod-along company? If the company is not innovative and creative with its competitors, it probably won’t be around for long. Check this out.
  3. How long has the department in which you’ll work, been in existence?
    If it is a new department, then you’ll have to prove yourself with the rest of the team - teamwork, challenge and creativity should be your key words, to prove success long term.

  4. What is the management style of your new boss?
    If your prospective boss makes comments during the initial interview, such as “I do this, my staff won’t do that…” then he/she is clearly a bureaucrat who gives orders and won’t be keen on employee input.

    Bosses should use the term “we”, “us” and “the team”. Insist on meeting the manager. If you can’t, don’t join the company - how can you report to someone you have not met. There could be a personality clash.

  5. 5. What is the staff turnover in the company and/or department?
    If it’s high, it indicates that it is not a very happy place to work at - stay away from there.
  6. Ask to meet colleagues and see the office.
    If e.g. Susan had done this, she would never had taken the job that landed her in a warehouse, instead of a smart office she expected. And you might just pick up a vibe, a culture, peculiar to that team, which differs from yours.
  7. If possible, ask to meet the person who is presently in that post.
    If they reject your request, they’re either hiding something or it is impossible because she/he has e.g. left the country or moved on to another company. Then ask why he/she left and how long did he/she hold the post.

    If you can speak to the previous employee, ask the person questions such as: What is the boss’s management style, does he/she make unfair demands, does he/she expect one to work late etc. These are important indicators whether you will cope in that environment.

  8. What is the company’s policy concerning increases, reward systems and incentive schemes? Is there a good performance appraisal system?
    Will it make a difference if you work 8 or 18 hours? Or is everyone paid the same, regardless of input? If the company e.g. doesn’t pay overtime or offer increases, it kills initiative and commitment and you’re likely to get frustrated.
  9. What career advancement is available for you in the company?
    One of the main reasons people leave companies, is because of a lack of career development/training.

    They are challenging for the first couple of years and then…nothing. Look on the bright side - people with well developed skills will always find jobs. Ensure that this matches your idea of career advancement.

  10. And always remember:
    You have the right to ask questions.

Now you have to make that crucial decision: Are you going to take the job or not?


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