5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a New Job Offer
In the past year, 21% of employees switched jobs. Forty percent of them are already actively looking for another job, according to a recent survey. It’s one reason why some people say “the Great Resignation” is really a misnomer—it’s more like “the Great Reshuffling.” “Candidates don’t ask these questions, they get hired, they get angry about the situation, and they leave,” says Korn Ferry Advance Coach Sondra Levitt.
Candidates should try to get to know as much as possible about the culture, the new role, and the potential new company before they accept a new offer. That’s often easier said than done, since candidates may not look beyond salary or other benefits. Plus, bringing up topics like job security before taking a job can be uncomfortable. “It’s all in how you phrase it,” says Korn Ferry Advance Coach Alyson Federico.
Here are five questions job candidates are often afraid to ask—and the best ways to phrase them.
Can I work remotely?
It’s OK to ask how frequently you need to be in the office—you’re asking how to be the best possible member of the team. This question reinforces the idea that you want to be an active participant, support your manager, and help the team to be successful, Federico says.
Rather than posing the question directly, Federico suggests asking, “How do you need me to engage in this position? What does that look like for you? How often do you need me to come into the office?”
Will I fit in with the culture?
Figuring out cultural fit is tricky, but it’s better to find out whether a situation could be bad before you commit to it. Experts say one way to get honest answers from a hiring manager is to ask them to describe their work culture in one or two words. This forces your potential new boss—who might otherwise talk at length without clearly responding to your question—to be precise, Federico says. Their answer also provides insight into what is important to them and to the company.
Will I have job security?
Some companies are already initiating hiring freezes or layoffs in anticipation of a potential recession. Job seekers might be wondering whether switching jobs now could put them at the front of the line for future layoffs. The person you interview with might not have any insight into whether leadership is considering future staff reductions. So instead of talking about the current situation, Federico says, ask how the company has approached previous recessions. For instance, you could say, “There are rumors about a coming recession. How is your company preparing for this, and how has the company handled this in the past?”
Will there be a career path for me?
Candidates can learn a lot about a company’s perspective on hiring, promotions, and future job opportunities by finding out why the current position is open. How a manager answers this question can provide invaluable insight. For instance:
- “The last person quit” could mean the job is difficult and hard to fill.
- “The last person was promoted” shows the company is willing to make investments in existing employees.
- “The position is new” indicates the company is growing.
- “The company consolidated two positions” could mean the company is forward-thinking (it also could mean that the new role might be a lot of work).
Is this job hard to do?
Published job descriptions don’t always align with actual day-to-day tasks or overall responsibilities. The best way to determine if your expectations match the reality of the position is to say, “Tell me what you expect the person in this role to have accomplished by the end of their first six months and their first year.”
This question, Federico says, provides a rare opportunity to find out not only whether you can do the job, but also whether you want to. The answer will also alert you to any important needs the company has. If it has a particular need for your expertise, for instance, this is something you can leverage during salary negotiations.