4 Questions You Should Always Ask Before You Start a New Job
So, you've gone through the interview, and you've smashed it (naturally). You answered every question with ease and asked all of the right ones in return. Now you're staring a job offer in the eyes, but before you say, "I do," here are four questions you should always ask.
What is the time frame for benefit availability and raise eligibility?
This question alone can change your interest in a company. Do they make you wait three months? A year? How quickly do you have access to PTO, medical leave, health insurance, etc.? Is there a minimum time you have to spend in your current position before you can be considered for a position with more responsibility? Find out before you sign up, just to make sure you don't end up stuck at a dead-end job with no real opportunities for progression.
What values are important to your company?
Every company has a mission statement, and generally a statement of values as well. Whoever you're communicating with might simply refer you to the e-brochure, but it's important to get your answer from the person who will actually be hiring you. This will show you if the values are truly integrated, and are actually important within company culture, or if they're merely a front to give them a semblance of attractive qualities.
Ask, and upon receiving your reply take a few moments to assess: do these values line up with your own? Do you believe in them? Do any of them sound fake? And, most importantly, can you get fully onboard with these values, and make them your commitment every day during the week?
Do you have a bonus program?
It’s not uncommon for desk jobs to have some sort of bonus program. Find out what it is now. Are they offered monthly, quarterly, annually? How do you qualify? Are the criteria stats based, team based, review based, etc.? It's important to know ahead of time what your focus will need to be in order to claim that extra cash, because there's a huge difference between cranking out as much work as possible and kissing as much butt as possible, and you want to know which one will take you the furthest before you start wasting energy on the wrong one.
Do you work with any charities?
If you want to get a feel for their values in action, you can ask about any community involvement or charities the company works with. It’s pretty common for interview candidates to ask questions about benefit programs and PTO during the interview. It can be a great lead in to the more difficult questions about bonus programs. Never ask about total compensation in an interview. You may be interviewing with a panel and that question is best left for a one-on-one between you and the hiring manager.