Don't Accept The Job Without Asking These 10 Questions

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, getting an offer can feel like the ultimate victory. Your work is done! Time to say yes and move on with the next chapter of your career.

Not so fast. While receiving a job offer is indeed a huge accomplishment, accepting without asking a few questions is a missed opportunity to learn more about the company and your new role. Not only are you potentially neglecting a chance to negotiate your salary, you also risk rushing the process and not making an informed decision. You should absolutely use this time to ask about growth, salary, and company culture if you haven’t had the chance yet. Yes, it can be a little intimidating to ask these harder questions, but if you’ve secured an offer, you should be comfortable in knowing they want you. Now you just need to be 100% sure you want them.

So what exactly should you know before saying yes to a new gig, besides the number of vacation days you'll be getting? We’ve asked some career experts for the questions they recommend asking — and the kinds of answers you should be looking for to make sure this is an offer worth accepting.
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You probably discussed company culture and your working relationship with management and your new team during the interview process, but some things can really only be learned through observation. Amy Gallo, contributing editor of the Harvard Business Review, recommends asking if it would be possible to shadow someone for a day or half-day, ideally the person you would be replacing. If that is too big a request, they shouldn't have a problem with you sitting in on a meeting, which can also be hugely informative.
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This might be a question you ask during the interview process, but if it didn’t come up, don’t forget to ask before you officially accept. Gallo recommends finding out what kinds of challenges the company is facing. Ideally, you’d want to know if any of those challenges are financial in nature, but beyond that, it’s important to know about any pain points employees are facing — and if there are plans to address them. Only you can know how much these issues will affect your well-being on the job, but the more you know, the more informed your decision will be.
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Ana Recio, senior vice president at SalesForce, points out that a manager’s willingness to be open about company goals can mean they take transparency seriously. “Transparency is one of our core values at Salesforce, and we work to ensure all employees know what they are working toward,” she explains. Knowing how your work is furthering the company’s goals can also help you be more informed when it comes time to ask for a promotion or a raise.
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This is another question that probably will come up during the interview, but if it doesn’t, now is the time to ask. “This question is a good way to get a sense of the company’s culture,” says Reico. “Ensuring a culture fit within your prospective new company is as important as your education, experience, and skills.” Even if this is something that you may have already raised with your interviewer or manager during the hiring process, it’s not bad to ask HR or the hiring manager for a chance to chat with a colleague about her personal experiences.

Gallo recommends also reaching out to people who have left the company for a more unfiltered opinion, as well. Here, a little LinkedIn sleuthing can be your friend. Be sure to take any gripes with a grain of salt — if it’s a disgruntled former employee, you’re only getting his or her side of the story. But if the picture you get does seem to jive with things you’ve already picked up on, that’s something to be aware of.
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Kate Aronowitz, vice president of design at WealthFront, emphasizes that you want to make sure you’re set up for success in your new role. Knowing how and if you are going to be trained can be a good indicator of how the company is going to invest in you. If there’s no formal on-boarding or training process, that should help inform your overall view of the company. Of course, smaller companies may not have the resources to do something like this, or maybe you’re an independent worker who will relish the challenge of figuring it out on your own. But once again, the more information, the better.
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By this stage in the hiring process, you should have a pretty clear idea of the job you are being interviewed to do. But you want to ensure there’s room for growth, as well. Asking your manager to discuss opportunities to grow in the role can help you understand any expectations and opportunities, Aronowitz explains. “You’re making sure that by accepting this job, you’re not only going to be able to do the job at hand, but this is a place where you can truly grow your career.“
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This is another way to find out what success and growth can typically look like at your new company, Aronowitz says. Does the company reward clear-cut goals, or are the people who are promoted innovators who blazed their own path? And even more importantly, are people getting promoted? Some companies tend to hire outside rather than promoting from within. If you’re fine moving on after a year or two, this might not matter. But if you’re hoping to put down more permanent roots, take that into consideration.
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Negotiating a salary can be intimidating, but keep in mind that it’s common, if not outright expected, to counter the initial offer. Remember, if you've gotten to that stage, they’re invested in hiring you and (probably) aren’t going to rescind the offer. But sadly, that doesn’t mean they can always meet you halfway. If your potential employer can’t go higher, be sure to ask how they got to the number they are offering you. “That will give you information you can then use to negotiate and also [learn] whether the number might be negotiable,” Gallo explains.
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Gallo also adds that, if you can’t get your salary where you want, asking for a timetable for a potential raise can be another compromise. “You might consider asking whether they would consider a bump in salary at a predetermined time, e.g. six months, based on a thorough evaluation of your performance,” she says.
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You’ll miss the whole compensation picture if you consider your salary without asking about potential bonuses. A hefty end-of-year bonus could make up for a slightly lower salary. Of course, a bonus is not guaranteed (an important to point to keep in mind), but knowing how much they tend to be at this company can help in your decision-making process. Gallo adds that this is also a good chance to ask how bonuses are determined, too.
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