Getting a job offer does not end the job search process. You're only done when you formally choose to accept. That may seem like a small difference, but even when you have an offer in hand, it's still possible -- and even important -- to get some questions answered.
These are some questions you should ask before taking any job. Some of them may come up during the interview process, or they may be answered in your offer letter or in other materials given to you.
If you already know the answers that's great, and it's a sign that the company you're joining has its act together. If you don't, that's not always a red flag -- but it's important to get answers before formally saying yes.
1. How long do people generally stay at the company/in this job?
I once took a job as the editor of a daily newspaper without asking this question. Having worked for the company at another location, I knew there had been some turnover at the position I was taking. I did not know that the job had turned over half a dozen times in two years, with most editors only lasting a month or two (with interim people handling a lot of that time period).
Had I asked, I would have learned that most of the turnover occurred because the company either offered the position to the wrong people or forced them into it. I would have realized that I would be fine, but I might have handled skepticism about my longevity potential with my staff and the community differently.
2. Why did you pick me over other candidates?
In a competitive hiring situation, it's important to know why you were chosen so you make sure you deliver on that front. In one case, I asked that question and was told "you seemed like the most organized candidate."
Since I'm very detailed when it comes to interviewing, but not particularly that way in my work life, I made a special effort at staying organized, because that was something my new employer prized.
3. Is there anything I'm forgetting to ask about?
This is an old journalism technique. At the end of an interview, you ask the subject if there's anything he or she wanted to talk about that you forgot to ask. The answer is often no, or something not relevant (or not interesting).
Occasionally, though, that's when someone brings up something huge, or tells you a story that's much more important than any question you asked. The same can happen when you're in a job offer situation. If you ask what you may be forgetting, the person you ask could say nothing, share something minor, or give your really important information.
Don't be shy
You got the job, and that's great -- but you should not let gratitude stop you from doing your full due diligence. Be polite and respectful, but look out for yourself and recognize that taking a job is a big deal, something that probably does not happen very often in your life. Make sure you go in knowing as much as you can, and don't be afraid to ask more questions (or turn the job down) if things don't seem right.
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