Looking for a new job can be a nerve-wracking process. And, sometimes, you might feel so desperate that you accept the first offer that comes along. This could be a massive mistake. You might accept an offer only to find out later, after you’ve signed your contract and after your first day, that you don’t like the type of work they’re doing or feel comfortable with the company culture.
That's why it’s essential you ask a number of questions before you accept the job. Otherwise, you might just end up wasting both your time and theirs, and need to seek out legal advice. Obviously, you aren’t sure how they’ll react to you telling them the job isn’t for you once you’d already started. They might be far more litigious that you’d have thought. So, here are some of the questions you should ask before you accept that job offer.
What benefits do you offer?
This is an important question that every potential employee should ask. You’ll need to know whether you’ll be in line to receive benefits like medical aid cover or pension fund contributions. These extras play a role in determining your salary, so it’s important you know what these are from the start.
What perks do you offer?
Perks won’t necessarily make up for not receiving medical aid or pension fund contributions, but they can be more important than you might think. Perks like being able to work from home, flexible working hours or free food at the office can sometimes sweeten the deal and be the difference between accepting the job or passing it up.
How many leave days am I entitled to?
This is always something which weighs heavily on an employee’s mind. They want to know how many leave days they’re entitled to and if there are restrictions about when these should be taken. Many companies, for example, insist their staff members take time off over the festive season. That’s positive if you value being at home with family during this time. But for a keen traveller who isn’t particularly religious, they might prefer the option of being able to take their leave days at any time during the year.
What are the official company paid holidays?
Just like leave days, it’s important that you know which days are official company paid holidays. For instance, you might assume that you’ll be off on all public holidays. At some workplaces, this is simply not the case. Because of your role and responsibilities, you’ll be required to be at the office on public holidays, perhaps not all of them, but some of them at the very least. It’s important to ask if you’ll be given time off if your religion celebrates holidays on other days than those which fall on public holidays.
How many sick days am I entitled to?
It’s important that you know how many sick days you’ll be able to take while working at that organisation. No, you’re likely not planning on taking advantage of these. But it is useful to have that information ahead of time so that, in the event you do become ill, you don’t have to worry about taking time off work and possibly not being paid.
What are the typical office hours?
It’s essential to know what hours you’ll be needed in the office. Some workplaces are very strict about the hours staff members work while others are far more relaxed. It’s also important that you know this so that you can plan your transportation needs. For instance, if your workplace demands you to be there at 6am on the dot but you don't have a car and rely on public transport, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be on time.
Do I get paid overtime for exceeding 40 hours each week?
This is something that usually worries potential employees. Working overtime is never anyone’s favourite activity. And, yet, if it's possible to be paid for additional hours worked outside of regular office time, there is potential to earn a significant amount of extra money. This is often a reason for many potential employees to sign on that dotted line.
How will this role help to advance my career?
It’s important that you know how working in this position can move your career forward. For instance, are people at the company often promoted from within? Is there room for growth? Do they offer and encourage training opportunities that will enable you to increase your skills? These questions are all essential to knowing whether you’ll be happy there for an extended period of time.
Lastly, find out when they’d like the position to be filled. They might want someone to start as soon as possible while you have to work out a two month notice period. That likely won’t work out well for either you or the potential employer.