To some applicants, the lure of receiving a monthly salary after months of job hunting is so irresistible, they sign the first offer they get.
Maybe they already know the offered compensation package. And maybe knowing their basic salary is going to be bigger than what they received before was enough.
But money isn’t the only item you’re agreeing to when you accept a job offer.
By signing on the dotted line, you also agree to a company’s existing work schedule, vacation leave policy, and health insurance plan—or lack thereof. And while it’s not always in the contract, it’s also implied that you agree to work with your new boss and co-workers, whether you get along with them or not.
Quick Start Video: What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer
You've got a job offer. Congratulations! Should you take it? Maybe. The answer depends. Here's a video with a list of important considerations to help you make the decision.
For even more factors you should consider before accepting a job, continue reading this tutorial.
The Best Source for Digital Elements (With Unlimited Use)
Envato Elements is an essential source for digital resources, including resume templates. You become a subscriber for a low monthly fee and then get access to premium PowerPoint templates, audio, fonts, stock images, and much more.
If you work in a creative field, Envato Elements is the best option. Because there are unlimited downloads, you can download a template and if you don’t like it, find a new template to download. So, get ready for your next job now. Sign up for Envato Elements today!
After a Job Offer, It's Now Your Turn to Ask the Questions
Your future boss was the one steering the conversation during your job interview. The tables turn though, once they give you a job offer.
It’s okay to decline the job. You worked hard to get to this stage, but all that effort won't justify how miserable you’ll feel if you don’t like working there in the end.
Don’t let them pressure you into giving a favorable answer. Thank them for the offer then give yourself time to examine it.
Read the job offer and list questions you think of as you go through it. Then schedule an appointment to discuss it. If you’re not sure what questions to ask before accepting a job offer, the list below is a good starting point:
- What Are My Non-Negotiables?
- Am I Happy With the Salary?
- Is the Company Reputable and Stable?
- Can I Get Along With My Future Colleagues?
- Can I Work With My Future Boss Given Their Demeanor and Leadership Style?
- What Does My Commute to Work Look Like?
- Is This a Firm Offer? Can I Please Get This in Writing?
- When Do You Want Me to Start? When Do You Need to Get My Decision?
- What Type of Benefits Are Included and When Does My Eligibility Start?
- How Much Vacation and Sick Leave Do I Get?
- Do You Have a 401(k) Program?
- How Long Do Employees in My Role Last?
- Does the Company Offer Bonuses?
- What Relocation Expenses Do You Offer?
- What Will My Everyday Responsibilities Look Like?
- What’s the Onboarding Process Like?
- What Are the Goals of This Job? How Will You Measure My Success?
- What Will My Schedule Be?
- What Are Your Expectations in How We Communicate?
- What Opportunities Are There Available for Professional Growth?
- What Education Opportunities Are Offered?
- How Long Until I Am Eligible for the Retirement Plan?
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting a Job Offer
Some job offer questions you need to ask yourself first, so you're better positioned to negotiate with a potential employer:
1. What Are My Non-Negotiables?
An applicant’s career goals and desired compensation package is unique to their situation and plans. That said you can’t always get everything you want.
List your non-negotiables and think hard about what you’re prepared to compromise. The perks you’re willing to compromise on can be used as a bargaining chip for your non-negotiables.
2. Am I Happy With the Salary?
Is the basic salary in line with your experience and similar positions in the area? Consider if it’s enough for your expenses after taxes and other deductions.
If it’s not enough, start preparing to negotiate it. These professional tutorials on negotiating can help you:
- How to Negotiate a Higher Salary After a New Job Offer (With Scripts)Charley Mendoza09 May 2021
- How to Negotiate Your Salary via Email (+ Killer Tips, Examples, Video)Charley Mendoza18 Apr 2022
3. Is the Company Reputable and Stable?
A year ago, I accepted a job at a company that shut down six months after I started. They left almost a hundred employees with no severance pay and half a month’s salary unpaid.
I didn’t know the people who owned it had a history of ripping off their customers. They also had questionable sales practices that led to many consumer complaints. I didn’t know about these when I signed the job offer. If they treated their customers horribly, I should've realized they would do the same to us.
This experience taught me the importance of researching the company’s reputation and leadership background before agreeing to be part of their team. Google them, check reviews on Better Business Bureaus, and read feedback from their previous employees at salary review websites like Glassdoor.
4. Can I Get Along With My Future Colleagues?
You may have met one of your colleagues in your interviews, or when you were given a tour of the office.
Now that you’re not obliged to be all-smiles and likeable, do you think you can get along with your colleagues? No one said you've got to be best buds with your co-workers, but you should at least consider their attitude and how they’re likely to treat you.
5. Can I Work With My Future Boss Given Their Demeanor and Leadership Style?
This question was suggested by Michelle Riklan, Managing Director at Riklan Resources and former HR executive.
She continues, “Your future boss will have a huge impact on your career. Examine whether you can trust, respect, and learn from him.”
What are your impressions about your future manager’s attitude and management style during the job interview?
6. What Does My Commute to Work Look Like?
Another question to ask when offered a job is what does my commute look like?
First, you should know whether the job being offered is too far. When considering this, remember you'll be making this commute for a long time and probably daily. So, a long drive might be okay for a short while. But it can get tiring really quickly.
If your commute to the job offered is too difficult, consider looking for a job with an easier commute. Or you could request a hybrid work schedule.
Job Offer Questions to Ask HR
Now let's look at questions to ask HR when offered a job. You want to make sure your salary offer is firm, they can accommodate the start date you need, and the benefits package meets your needs.
7. Is This a Firm Offer? Can I Please Get This in Writing?
Get everything in writing. Telecommuting perks, stock options, and fancy benefits discussed during a negotiation mean nothing, unless it’s in a contract.
Valerie Streif, Senior Advisor at The Mentat, says:
“A friend informed her hiring manager that she will take a month long trip during her first year of employment. They said they’re okay with it but she demanded that it’s put in writing to confirm that they understood she would be taking a long leave, and that it wouldn’t affect her employment.”
If the verbal agreement about the month long vacation wasn’t put into the employment contract, she could’ve lost her job. Unkept promises about your role and benefits will cause a serious headache for you later.
8. When Do You Want Me to Start? When Do You Need to Get My Decision?
Do they want you to start immediately or will you have a bit of time to get your affairs in order? These are two of the most important questions to ask before accepting a job offer.
Think of everything you've got to finish before starting your first day at work, such as:
- turn over pending projects at your current employer
- the resignation notice required in your current job contract
- finding a new place if you’re relocating
- packing up your stuff and moving into a new place
- spending unused vacation leaves that you can’t convert to cash
You can negotiate starting at a later date, if needed.
9. What Type of Benefits Are Included and When Does My Eligibility Start?
Compensation packages often come with:
- health insurance
- dental insurance
- group life insurance
- transportation allowance
- and other benefits
Ask HR when you can start enjoying these benefits, and if there are any requirements you need to submit.
All these benefits add up to your basic salary package. Think about how much these benefits will cost you if you pay for them yourself, then add that amount to your basic salary to get a rough idea of its cost.
Gym memberships, day care discounts, and tuition reimbursements are good benefits, too, especially if you already pay for these services yourself.
10. How Much Vacation and Sick Leave Do I Get?
Vacation and sick benefits vary depending on the country you’re in and the corporate culture of your employer.
For instance, companies in the Philippines usually give six to ten vacation days a year, plus five to ten sick days on top of public holidays. One multinational finance company even offered unlimited sick leave to their pioneer employees in their first branch here. In the U.K., most employees get 28 days of paid vacation, excluding public holidays. There are no such mandates in the U.S.
This can feel like a taboo issue, but one you need to consider. Asking about vacation time is frowned upon during the job interview, but you should definitely ask about it when accepting a job offer. Find out if the leave credits:
- increase when you get promoted
- could be rolled over to another year
- are convertible to cash at the end of the year
Most importantly, find out the process of applying for said leave. Some companies make employees go through hoops just to get a few days off. Others have a system that prevents favoritism and relies purely on the team’s workload.
11. Do You Have a 401(k) Program?
Your 401(k) is a crucial part of your retirement funds. If your new employer has a 401(k) program, part of your salary will be automatically funneled into this account. So, it’s important you know where that money goes and how it’s invested.
Ask the Following Questions to Get a Better Idea of Their Program:
- Will you match my contributions? Is there a limit to the matching?
- Do employer contributions have a vesting schedule?
- What are the investment options available?
- When can I withdraw my funds?
- What are the fees involved?
Use this 401(k) calculator if you want to see how much your contributions and employer matching can grow your retirement savings.
12. How Long Do Employees in My Role Last?
If your predecessor left to chase after a dream job, that’s great. But if they had to hire for the same position every year for the past five years, that’s a red flag. A bad boss, demanding schedule, lack of growth, and company politics could be the cause of the turnover.
If you sense the HR representative isn’t being truthful about the reason for the vacancy, look for employee reviews online.
13. Does the Company Offer Bonuses?
A question to ask HR before accepting a job is whether the company offers bonuses or profit sharing. Not every company offers this, but it’s good to know before you accept the offer. If the salary is a little less than what you want but there are bonuses, it could be equal to the amount you want.
14. What Relocation Expenses Do You Offer?
An important question to ask HR before accepting a job is about the relocation expenses. Information about this is essential if your new job requires you to relocate.
Find out what the company will pay for. They may not pay for moving everything. But they could offer a percentage of moving expenses. If you’re expected to move for your new job, they should help you in some way.
Questions to Ask Your New Boss
There are some important questions to ask your new management team when getting a job offer. You want to get a good understanding of what your daily work and responsibilities will be, as well as accurately gauge the potential for professional growth this new job offers.
15. What Will My Everyday Responsibilities Look Like?
It seems silly that you’re asking this after the interviews. But you should ask this anyway to confirm that you're signing up for the same responsibilities that were advertised and discussed with you in the interview.
It’s not uncommon for employees to experience scope creep, a situation where tasks keep adding up to what was originally agreed upon. If this happens, you’ll be overworked, underpaid, and itching to leave your new job.
You can also ask for a copy of your job description and responsibilities so that you've got everything on paper.
16. What’s the Onboarding Process Like?
An employer’s onboarding process varies greatly, from a week long shadow session with a colleague, to a month long program that combines classroom training and on-the-job training. The length of the onboarding program also affects how soon your boss expects you to show results.
17. What Are the Goals of This Job? How Will You Measure My Success?
Clarify the output your boss expects, and the metrics that'll be used to gauge your performance.
Big companies often have established key performance indicators (KPIs) in place. But if you’re working for a small company or startup, you may need to discuss to create these metrics with your manager.
Another thing to consider is the frequency and timing of performance reviews. Will it be done on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis?
18. What Will My Schedule Be?
Even if you’re not paid by the hour, the length of your work week still affects your income.
Let’s say your salary is $50,000 a year. If you only work 40 hours a week, you’ll earn about $24 per hour. If you often stay late without overtime pay, your hourly earnings will drop.
This kind of schedule is common for some jobs. In some cases, employees are compensated for it with a bigger base salary or more vacation days. Is that the case with your new job?
Your future boss may not tell you the whole truth, so as not to scare you off from accepting the job. So, try to ask your future colleagues as well.
19. What Are Your Expectations in How We Communicate?
A telecommunications engineer is always on call, in case one of their company’s clients experiences a problem with their system. Depending on their service level agreements, if a call comes in at 2 AM, they've got to answer it and troubleshoot the problem. In some cases, they've got to go to the site themselves, or send someone to fix it. It’s the same for doctors and other time-sensitive jobs.
Unfortunately, round the clock communication isn’t limited to these jobs. In some cases, it depends on how workaholic your boss is. It’s better to know this early, before your future boss calls you at 1 AM to confirm your attendance at a 4 AM meeting.
It’s not just after midnight phone calls you should be worried about. Ask how you’re expected to answer texts and emails after hours, and on weekends.
Taking a break from work is a vital part of work-life balance.
20. What Opportunities Are There Available for Professional Growth?
You might’ve left your previous job because you’re not happy with the career development opportunities available.
If that’s your reason for moving, can your new employer give you the opportunities you’re looking for?
Look for the company’s organization chart. Where does your position fit in that chart? Does it have room to grow or is it a dead-end job?
If there’s room to grow, does someone have to resign before you get promoted? Or are there jobs that allow for lateral movement, like transferring to a different department or team? Lateral promotions may not always come with a salary increase, but they can broaden your skills and network within the company.
- How to Convince Your Boss to Pay for Your Training (With Scripts and Email Template)Charley Mendoza15 Nov 2021
21. What Education Opportunities Are Offered?
Another question to ask before accepting a job offer is what education opportunities does the company offer?
Many companies offer training or pay tuition for an employee to go back to school. It’s beneficial for a company to pay for educational opportunities because the employees then feel grateful to the company and want to give back. Not only do the employees want to give back, but they've got more to offer since they've got better training.
22. How Long Until I Am Eligible for the Retirement Plan?
If you had a retirement plan that you were contributing to in your last job, then a question to ask before accepting a job offer is when you're eligible for the new retirement plan.
You also need to ask what retirement plans are offered. Each company can provide a different option, so it’s best to know your options. There may be a wait before you can contribute to your plan. Also, there may be a wait before matching contributions start.
Premium Templates to Help You Get Your Next Job Offer
You've just learned some questions to ask when offered a job. But before asking those questions you first need a job offer. Here are some articles that feature premium templates that may help you get a job offer:
- 25+ Attractive (Eye-Catching) Resume (CV) Templates With Stylish Aesthetics 2022Brenda Barron13 Nov 2021
- How to Pick the Best Cover Letter Template for You in 2022Sarah Joy18 Nov 2021
- 24 Premium Business Card Templates (In Photoshop, Illustrator, & InDesign)Sean Hodge11 Aug 2021
You're Not Picky, Just Knowledgeable
We've just gone over some things to ask before accepting a job offer. Are you afraid your future boss and HR manager will think you’re too picky? Don’t be.
Knowing the questions to ask an employer before accepting a job offer just shows you’re confident of your value as an employee. If they don’t see it that way, you should think twice about working with people that shun intelligent questioning.
Editorial Note: This content was originally published in 2017. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant. This article has been updated with new information by freelance instructor, Sarah Joy.