10 questions you should always ask before accepting a job
It’s estimated that we spend a third of our lives at work – choosing the place we wish to spend this time is therefore very important.
First things first, you should NEVER rush into accepting a job offer. An obvious statement I know, but it’s something that happens all too often.
It’s natural for us to be blinded by the bright lights of change, by that extra few hundred pounds in our pocket at the end of the month, by a shiny new office environment with new people to meet – but it’s important that we try and restrain ourselves and focus on the facts.
When preparing candidates for interview the one piece of advice I always give is to ‘interview your interviewer’. After all – the person sat opposite you already works in the business so they should know pretty much everything there is to know about what type of place it is to work.
Here are my top 10 questions that everyone should be asking before leaving that interview…
1. What plans have you got for the growth and development of the business?
Join a business that is going places – one that has direction, drive and vision. No matter who you’re interviewing with, every member of the company should be aware of the key company objectives for its future.
2. Aside from salary, what other workplace benefits do you offer your staff?
Don’t take ‘a pension & 28 days leave’ for an answer. What else can they do for you that sets them apart from other employers? Try to eke out the social and emotional benefits of working within the organisation. Consider things like their policy regarding flexible working, the type and frequency of company social events, their workplace culture etc.
3. What are the career development opportunities for me?
It’s important to explore at this point what training is available, both internal and external. Also, enquire how they plan to review your progress and career journey – explore their appraisal and review processes; you must ensure that they’re invested in your future.
4. Talk me through an employee success story. What was their journey? How did they progress through the business?
If they’re as focused on career development as they make out then they should be able to tell countless tales of employees they have brought through the business. You could even go one step further and ask to meet one of these individuals to ask them personally about their experiences.
5. Tell me about why you like working here? What has been your journey so far?
People should be able to speak passionately about their company if they truly believe it’s a great place to work. Try and understand the things they think are good and probe with them what it feels like to be an employee of the company. This is also a great way to learn more about a potential future colleague and to build rapport with them.
6. If you could, what would you improve about working here? Is there anything you dislike?
Bold, I know, but there’s always something that can be made better. It’s very important that you understand whether these are things you can come to handle or whether they would frustrate you.
7. If I was to accept this position, what would success look like?
You want to understand what their expectations are. What would impress them and what are they looking for you to accomplish in this role? This opens up an opportunity for you to ensure you demonstrate that you possess the skills to deliver on their expectations, or better still, outline previous achievements that prove it!
8. Who will I be reporting to?
You want to understand who this is, what they’re like, their management style, their background. This is the person who you’ll ultimately need to please – the more you know about them the better. Ensure it’s someone you can gel with – 8.5hr days feel a darned sight longer when you’re with someone you don’t like.
9. Tell me about my direct team. Can I spend some time with them?
Try and understand the vibe of the team, what they’re ‘into’, where their strengths lie, what part you’ll play in the team, where they’ve all come from. For the same reasons as above, it’s important to get the right fit here. Are they your kind of people?
10. From what I’ve told you today is there any reason that you wouldn’t offer me the role? Is there anything you have seen in the other people on the shortlist that you have not seen in me?
This is a great question to throw into the mix as the interview is drawing to a close. Get those cards on the table! There’s nothing more frustrating than getting feedback from an unsuccessful interview and you thinking ‘But that’s not the case’ or ‘Yes I do have experience in that area’. This is your opportunity to counteract any of their reservations or concerns. You should always be looking to improve and getting feedback from an interviewer is a crucial part of this. It is a risky strategy to take because you might get an answer you are not happy with. But if you are prepared to take a risk, then this final question is a gamble that just might pay off!
Now, the interview is coming to an end and the interviewer says ‘So, have you any questions for me? Please – please – PLEASE don’t say ‘No, I think you’ve answered everything thanks’.
I can guarantee that won’t be the case!