We all want to make the best decision when it comes to our career choice that sometimes we are willing to overlook the obvious. In our excitement and sheer delight, we accept any and all conditions of employment as part of the job offer without hesitation. This is not a one-sided negotiation. When it comes to accepting a job offer, here are a few things you should think about and ask BEFORE you sign on the dotted line:
- How does Compensation work? You may be so caught up in the fact that you are earning more with the new job, that you do little to inquire about how the company’s future compensation system works. How often do you receive raises? What are the merits or parameters for additional increases? What does the bonus opportunity look like? Is there equity? How do you move from one pay grade to another? Some people shy away from discussing compensation even after they have received an offer because they think it’s bad form. It’s naïve of you if you DO NOT ask about compensation after you have expressed interest in the job and before you accept a formal job offer. If there is room to negotiate, it’s before you start your job not once you are in it.
- Upward Mobility: What are your chances for advancement? What happened to the other person in the job assuming you replaced someone and this is not a new position? How are promotions and advancement in the company treated? Your ability to not only accept your current job but also think towards the future is important if you want to get ahead. Knowing how the company treats employees once they are hired vs. being in the job for many years is a sign on how well you will be treated. The last thing you want is to go into a dead-end job or wind up in a worse situation than the one you may be leaving. Think ahead.
- Company Culture: Equally as important as the duties of your job are the conditions which define the company’s corporate culture. Do they have a formal or informal dress code? Does the company provide meals to employees? How are the benefits valued? Do they allow dogs to work? What is the communication style and how well do they communicate to staff? Are there formal work systems in place or is it open and non-structured? Knowing how the company operates before you say, “Yes” will help you manage and navigate the company better than hoping and praying you will just fit in.
- Communication: Whether formal or informal, knowing how well the company communicates internal and external businesses is crucial to your ability to succeed in your position no matter what level you are in. Does the company have an open communication plan, regular Town Hall meetings, posting updates on Wiki’s or just having an “open door” policy on being able to express concerns or ideas, are all important to know ahead of time before you accept a job offer. Healthy communication of the lack of it can really dampen an otherwise great work experience. Get your company’s report card before you accept the job offer.
- Organizational Structure: Understanding and knowing who reports to whom and how the company is set up not only in your department but in the rest of the company is helpful to you on many levels. Understanding the lay of the land will help you to know how workflow is managed, who has approval authority and how the lines of expertise and communication are drawn. Understanding not only the make-up of your department but the names and positions of your co-workers, helps you to not only assimilate quicker, but gives you a better understanding of how the company manages its lines of businesses and where you fit into that equation.
Being prepared when you start your job will not only help you have a stronger foot hold in your new job, but will help you manage and grow your career in a more insightful way.
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