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Stop for a minute and think about some questions to ask before accepting a job offer!
So you aced that interview and you’re offered the job! Congratulations! Before you accepting a job offer too quickly because of your excitement, take a minute or two to consider questions to ask before accepting a job offer.
Sometimes, having no job is better than having a bad job. There’s no point in starting a job, and maybe uprooting your life or making some big changes, just to quit in a couple months because you’re unhappy. The job may not be what you expected or you may be in a toxic work place.
Related: 3 Signs how to recognize a toxic work environment when job searching
If you’ve decided to go forward with the job, make sure you’re getting what you’re worth! Here are some things to consider and questions to ask before accepting a job offer!
5 Questions to ask before accepting a job offer
Ask about the salary and the entire compensation package
In thinking about questions to ask before accepting a job offer, probably first and foremost is your salary of course.
Your salary is usually the biggest part of your compensation package, but it’s not the entire compensation package. These extra benefits can make up a significant portion of your compensation package. So make sure these are questions to ask before accepting a job offer!
This is pretty clear, but may not be simple. Your salary is either hourly or a yearly wage.
If this is your first job, you may not want to negotiate this. You have no leverage. You need them more than they need you.
What happens if you try to negotiate and they say no? Are you willing to walk away? Or are you just going to say “OK” and then accept the offer? Will that ruin your credibility or relationship with the company in the future if you try to negotiate?
Exceptions here are if you do not NEED this job, have multiple job offers, or your education gave you the knowledge or experience in the very specific niche they are looking for.
Having specialized knowledge means that you are rare and it would be hard for them to replace you. This gives you leverage.
If you have leverage, DEFINITELY negotiate. Negotiate a higher salary than what you are willing to accept. Chances are they will probably meet you in the middle.
Your bonus can be a percentage of your salary depending on your performance or the company’s performance. It can also be a set amount. It can be given at several times of the year or once a year.
This is different than your regular bonus. This is a one time payment when you accept the job offer. Depending on how much leverage you have, this signing bonus can be significant – so don’t forget about it!
Retirement plans can be either a) a defined benefits plan or b) a defined contributions plan.
A) Defined benefits plan
A defined benefits plan is very valuable and not offered commonly anymore. They are typically reserved for positions with unions such as government workers, teachers, police officers, etc.
In this pension plan, you are guaranteed to get a set amount at retirement based on a calculation. This calculation usually includes your years of service or your top years of salary.
You are guaranteed this amount regardless of how the (investment) market performs. This is why this pension is so valuable.
B) Defined contributions plan
A defined contribution plan is based your contributions and your employers contributions. Your employer usually matches your contributions up to a maximum amount.
For example: For every 1$ you contribute, your employer will also contribute 1$ up to a maximum of 5% of your yearly salary
The contributions are then invested in the market and the amount you get at retirement depends on how the contributions performed in the market.
Related: Defined benefits vs Defined contributions plan
Some companies offer stock options that you can purchase at a discounted rate or restricted stock options (RSUs). RSUs are stock given to you, but they vest after a certain period of time. Meaning that you can only get these stocks after staying with the company for X amount of time.
If you have been offered a job at a start up company, they often offer stock options or a percentage of the company. You should take this with a grain of salt.
At my first startup company I worked for, they offered 1% of the company as an incentive. However, this company did not perform well and eventually went out of business. Startup companies are high risk! And 1% of nothing is…..well, nothing!
If the position requires you to relocate, questions to ask before accepting a job offer could be about relocation assistance. Moving is not only a lot of work, but it can also be very expensive!
Do you get health benefits?
A) Health insurance
This is one of the things people can forget, which can be costly!
At my second job offer, I was satisfied with the salary and was too naïve to even ask about health benefits. This meant that I had to find my own health insurance and pay for it entirely out of pocket, and it was a significant portion of my take home pay! In your questions to ask before accepting a job offer, make sure to find out if health insurance is included!
Health insurance is something that is paid for by your employer. If it is a good employer, they may pay for the entire health insurance cost. If your employer does not pay for the entire health insurance cost, they will pay for a portion of it and you will pay the rest
B) Health or Fitness reimbursement
Some companies may offer a fitness reimbursement benefit up to a certain amount of money. This means they will reimburse the money you spent on things such as a gym membership, fitness classes, equipment, etc. The rules of what can and cannot be reimbursed will be specific to your company.
How many vacation days do you get?
Some countries have a mandatory amount of vacation days companies must give to employees while others do not. The typical standard is usually 2 weeks of vacation.
If you have leverage, meaning the company finds you very valuable and difficult to replace, this is something you can negotiate for. With leverage, you can negotiate for more vacations days. Because 2 weeks in a whole year is not a lot of vacation!
Are there employee development benefits?
Part of your questions to ask before accepting a job offer could be about company benefits to develop employees.
This can be things like education reimbursement for degrees or courses. It can also be things like paying for you to attend conferences or workshops. These are nice perks if you want to continue developing your skills to remain competitive in the work force.
Is there flexible hours/work from home option?
This can be a nice benefit to have, especially if you are a caregiver. Having flexible work hours or the option to work from home for days where you have an appointment to get to or you are waiting for an important delivery is a nice perk.
Those are 5 questions to ask before accepting a job offer to make sure you’re getting your full value’s worth!