5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting A Job Offer
When you’re given an offer to join a company in Singapore, do you accept it immediately? Or do you dig deeper to find out if the offer is the right one for you?
Most candidates we’ve worked with will always take the best paying offer in your salary negotiations, without considering other factors.
We think that’s a mistake.
Here are 5 questions you should always ask before accepting any job offer:
Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer
Though every hiring manager is different, there are some common questions that make sense to ask when interviewing for a new role.
- Will I be required to check messages after office hours?
- What is the work scope? Does the job title accurately reflect the scope?
- How will my performance be measured? What will “success” look like?
- How often are employee review session done? Do you have a feedback structure?
- Is my supervisor someone I can learn from, and who can and will help me grow?
- What career development opportunities are there?
- Is the salary negotiable?
- What is the expected start date?
- Can I work remotely?
- Can I speak to other people in this team?
These are all important questions to consider when you’re interviewing for a new position. Let’s run through them in more detail.
1. Will I be required to check messages after office hours?
Some companies, especially in finance and tech, need their employees to be ready to respond to emergencies at all hours.
This is fine as long as you’re aware of the need before joining the firm.
Check in to make sure expectations are managed. If you’re a parent with a newborn child, this probably isn’t the role for you.
2. What is the work scope? Does the job title accurately reflect that?
I’ve noticed companies using job titles in very manipulative ways, especially in recent years.
Some firms use inflated job titles to attract young and ambitious executives. The use titles such as “Manager” or “Director”. Unfortunately, upon joining, they find that they’re only managing and directing an army of 1 – themselves!
Other firms deflate job titles, to make sure their employees don’t get poached elsewhere. I know one private equity firm that has 8 levels of Associates (each with differing pay scales).
3. How will my performance be measured? What will “success” look like?
This is related to #2, and more critical. Understand what your deliverables are. That way, you’ll know what you should be focusing on.
One recent client of mine had a job title of “Head of Sales”. Unfortunately, he was working with cross functional teams (marketing, merchandising, inventory management) who all had different KPIs from his own.
No one wanted to cooperate as it would have resulted in their own KPI decreasing. He was caught in the middle, unable to make changes. It was mission impossible.
Thankfully, after much negotiations with his senior management, he was given new KPIs which were attainable under his jurisdiction of control.
Be clear on your KPIs before you start. A good way to extract such information would be during the job interview. Ask about the company’s indicators of success, to get a glimpse into your KPIs.
4. How often are employee review session done? Do you have a feedback structure?
It is so important to find companies that invest in their employees. A sure sign of this is when companies have a clear review system, to help employees get constructive feedback, allowing them to improve.
You can also clarify about feedback processes directly to employers at a job interview.
5. Is your supervisor someone you can learn from, and who can and will help you grow?
Jack Ma often speaks about the 3 stages of a career.
Between the ages of 30 and 40, go to the company with the best boss.
A good boss is like a second father or mother. They’ll nurture you to fulfil your maximum potential.
6. What career development opportunities are there?
Though the compensation package that you’re offered is important, if you’re early on in your career then your path for growth may be paramount. Advancement opportunities can be scarce in some companies, so it’s worth asking about.
Hiring managers may have limited knowledge of this, but they’ll likely know the hierarchy of the company and where you may be in 5 years time. So, it’s worth asking this question if you want to see where the road could lead.
7. Is the salary negotiable?
It never hurts to try, right?
So, if you’re going to be signing an employment contract that’s in excess of a year then it’s worth your time asking whether the salary is negotiable. Even if you can get 5-10% more in your new position, this can make a huge impact at the end of the year.
You can also ask if the company offers bonuses, whether travel expenses will be reimbursed and whether there’s a benefits package available too.
8. What is the expected start date?
Asking when you’re expected to commence your role is always a good idea. Some roles might expect you to start immediately, whilst others may have weeks or a few months before they expect you to start.
This way you can make sure that your immediate priorities align with your new role, and ensure that you can give your previous employer enough weeks notice in advance.
9. Can I work remotely?
Depending on the field you’ll be working in, you may want to ask if you can work from home. This doesn’t have to be on a daily basis, but some new roles may allow you to work outside of the office one or two days per week.
It’s a good idea to clarify this before accepting a new position, as some companies can be pretty rigid with their stance.
10. Can I speak to other people in this team? (take them out for coffee)
Job interviews are an entry point into the company and its culture. However, the interview process is often plastic. Companies hide their darkest skeletons, showing you only whats glossy and beautiful.
If you’re confident, try asking the other members of your new team out for coffee. It’ll give you remarkable insight into the culture of the company, and what kinds of challenges you’ll face.
Work takes up 70% of our waking ours. Choose the people you’ll be working with wisely. It’ll make a massive difference to your happiness.
And if, at the end of it all, you find the role isn’t the right fit, do turn down the job offer politely anyway.
It’s a small world we live in.
You might encounter the HR or hiring manager again in a professional capacity some time down the line, so asking sensible questions and building a rapport is a great idea.
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