After a long and grueling job search process, you finally get some traction and receive a job offer. At last!. You want to scream, "YES!" when they ask whether or not you'd like to accept the job they offered. But, as great as the position may seem, you should make sure you know exactly what it is you're getting into.
Think about it: after all of your efforts to search, apply, research and answer interview questions, and obtain the perfect job, you don't want to waste your valuable time on the wrong position. That's why we always recommend that you get a few answers before officially accepting the job
Here are a few questions to ask before signing on the dotted line to accept an employment offer:
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What’s my job title and description?
Knowing your job title and description will give you a better sense of what you’re working to accomplish each day. While tasks may be necessary that fall outside of your job description, it’s a pretty surefire way to evaluate whether it’s a job you’ll be successful at and whether or not it’s a job you’ll enjoy.
What is expected of me on a daily basis?
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Your job description may say one thing but the reality of your day-to-day may differ. Make sure you know what the job will entail by asking what a day on the job is expected to look like. Go into the job knowing what tasks will be expected of you each day so that you’re prepared to fulfill them.
Is there room for advancement within the company?
It’s important to know if there’s opportunity for promotion or growth within a company; otherwise, working there may be a waste of your time. You’ll have to evaluate whether or not the experience is worth the dead end – it still may be a good springboard for your next job opportunity.
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If you are working part-time for a company, consider more than the season you’re prepared to work. Is this a company you could see yourself coming back to after graduation? If not, is it at least a job that you could come back to over school breaks?
Asking these questions enables you to set expectations for both yourself and your managers. Just as you would love the job security every summer or after graduation, your employer would love the security of having a hard-working, motivated employee season after season – or for the foreseeable future.
Is the salary negotiable?
Only ask this once you actually have the job offer! Remember, it’s a lot easier to negotiate salary before starting than to wait and negotiate later. It’s difficult – if not impossible – to go back and negotiate once you’ve already accepted the offer. You’re likely to be able to acquire raises, which may not be as significant as starting out at a higher salary point.
While some companies are willing to negotiate, others have salaries set in stone. With that, be sure to take cues from your hiring manager. When negotiating, set reasonable expectations so that you don’t turn your employer off to any negotiations whatsoever.
What are the hours like?
While some companies operate on a 9-to-5 basis, others may differ. Additionally, some may expect that, even though 9-to-5 is stated, you work much longer hours. Inquire about the expectations before deciding to take the job.
If the hours seem unfair or too long, it may be an opportunity you should pass on. If you’re working part time, make sure the hours work for your schedule. In this case, it will be something that you ideally cover during the job interview. However, if it wasn’t discussed, make it a point to talk through your part-time schedule before your start date.
May I get the offer in writing?
Always, always get your job offer in writing. You should keep that document for reference, just in case. This is to ensure that, if you decide to take the job, you’ll have everything you need in writing should any issues arise regarding job description, salary or benefits.
May I have a copy of the offered benefits package?
Similar to getting the offer in writing, you should also have a copy of the company’s benefits package. This is useful for your personal reference in case any issues – medical or otherwise, arise.
Fortunately, benefits for part-time employees are expanding more and more, and it’s not uncommon to see employers providing some of the most progressive benefits in order to attract part-time employees.
Many employers today, like Walmart, Starbucks and McDonald’s, offer tuition assistance
or scholarships in addition to medical or dental. Essentially, don’t shy away from asking about benefits just because you’re a part-time employee.
After You Accept the Job Offer
Once you’ve received answers to your questions and accepted the job offer, there is one more question you need to ask: what should I bring with me on my first day?
In addition to the paperwork you receive after you’ve accepted the job, there is oftentimes more you need to fill out throughout your first week. You want to make a great impression on that first day of work, so make sure you’re prepared.
By taking careful time to consider the job offer and being prepared with questions, you’ll show your supervisor or hiring manager that you’re diligent, organized and ready for this opportunity. And with that, your future employer will be just as excited about your first day of work as you are.