Every day, I encounter candidates in all stages of their job search. I talk to people who haven’t looked for a job in years, and I also talk to people who change jobs regularly. It could be personal preference/choice, or it could or it could be out of necessity.  If you are a Java Developer, or an iOS engineer, you need to keep your skills sharp in a rapidly changing technology world.  Because of this, people with a technical background may change jobs every year or 18 months.  If you work for the State, you may never change jobs.

The other day, a candidate fell into the bucket where she did not change jobs very often and felt very uncomfortable with the whole negotiation process. Before you say “Yes” to an offer, you need to talk about the basics such as Benefits, Equity, 401k, Time off, etc. Here are 6 things that you may have not thought of that are important questions to ask before you accept an offer.

  1. Why me?  Seriously. There is a reason they want to hire you. If you are going to succeed at this company, you need to know what you need to bring to the table. If you are a social media expert, be prepared to really help the company in that area.
  2. What are your expectations of me as an employee? This sounds so basic! What happens often is that an employer will expect much more than you can give. You have made it through the process and they want you. Great. Do you want them? So- you CAN do the job. So what?! Do you have the time to do what is expected of you on a day- to- day basis. If the manager wants you to work until the job is done and you have a family that needs to be fed at 5 PM, is this going to work? No!
  3. What Do You Foresee this Department Looking Like in a Year? So, they are going to ask you what you want to do in 5 years. Why don’t you flip the question right back on them? If you are going to be in sales, what exciting things are coming to the company that could help you in your sales efforts? This is two sided! Find out as much about what the future holds as what today holds.
  4. What is your management style?  This should have been covered, but make sure that how they manage is how you want to be managed. It is better to double check than not know the answer confidently.  Some people may need constant guidance. Some people may need to be left completely alone. Some people are very detail oriented, others may not be. Who are you? Can you work with this person? Different styles CAN complement each other and bring out the best in both, or it can be a disastrous situation.
  5. Why is this position open? There is a reason a company is hiring! Hopefully the company is growing for all of the right reasons. Sometimes though- a role is a revolving door. The product may be too hard to sell and the sales managers goals are unrealistic. They may be combining 2 roles to cut their payroll in half. The list can go on and on. You NEED to know this answer.
  6. Tell me about people that have been promoted?  If you are joining a company and you want to make more money in the future, how realistic is that at this company? Are you getting hired for $50k and will you make $50K the entire time you work here? Is that okay with you? It may be, but it may not align with your goals. You may get frustrated because there is no upward mobility. Do people move up within the company or is it a place where there is constant turmoil. What is the longest tenured employee that works here and in your department?

Are there any other questions you can think of that you need to know?