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Don't Accept a Job Offer Until You've Asked These 7 Questions

By Maurie Backman – Aug 19, 2019 at 10:02AM

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When the stakes are high, you need answers.

Getting a job offer is certainly something to celebrate. After all, it's nice to be wanted and have your skills recognized. But the last thing you want to do is get caught up in your excitement and accept that offer before really thinking things through. These key questions will help you arrive at the right decision.

1. What are the expectations for this role?

You probably read your role's job description before applying for it. But are you clear on the role's expectations? Your potential employer might have demands you don't anticipate, so before you agree to take the job, figure out exactly what the company has in mind, and make sure it sounds reasonable. After all, you don't want to set yourself up for failure.

2. What sort of growth do you anticipate if I accept this role?

Nobody wants to sign up for a job that's likely to go nowhere, even if the role itself does seem appealing. Before saying yes to an offer, make sure there's room for growth at the company, and figure out what your specific path looks like.

Smiling man in collared shirt shaking hands with another man


3. What challenges did the person who did this job before me face?

All jobs come with challenges, but it helps to know what you're signing up for. To this end, ask your prospective employer what the last person who held the job's experience was like. Did that person leave for a reason? Were there issues he or she couldn't overcome? This will help you better understand what you're getting into.

4. Who will my manager be, and what sort of management style does that person have?

If you don't mesh well with your new boss, you're likely to wind up unhappy in your new role. That's why you need to dig deeper into your potential boss' personality and management style before agreeing to take the job. If it turns out that your new boss is very hands on and doesn't like to give employees much leeway, that may be a deal breaker for you.

5. What are the company's goals?

Just as it's important to know what's expected of you in your new role, so too must you understand what objectives the company is setting for itself. Not only that, but you should gain an understanding as to how you'll specifically help your employer meet its main goals.

6. What challenges is the company facing now?

It's pretty hard to find a company that isn't grappling with one challenge or another. Before you accept a job offer, be sure to understand what issues that employer is facing. If employee retention is a problem, it could serve as a red flag that workers aren't valued enough or treated well. If overall growth has been stagnant, it could be that the company's management team isn't strategic enough, which may not sit well with you. Once you understand what key issues your potential employer is struggling with, you can decide whether you're willing to be a part of them.

7. What's it actually like to work here?

It's a bad idea to accept a job offer without a solid understanding of what the company culture and workplace experience is like. For example, is the environment collaborative? Are employees encouraged to present new ideas to management? Do people generally work late? And how flexible is the company with scheduling and time off? These details will give you insight as to what your daily life might be like if you were to sign on with the employer who's made you an offer, so don't hesitate to dig for answers.

Accepting the wrong job could constitute a major career setback. If you ask the above questions, you're less likely to make a bad decision.

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