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7 Essential Questions to Ask Before Accepting a New Job

Submitted by amanda.dumsch@… March 26, 2024
Image of two women at a conference table talking to each other. Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

When you're in the throes of an interview for a new job, it's natural to focus on selling yourself and your skills. However, it's equally important to ensure that the company aligns with your professional goals and overall happiness. After all, you'll be dedicating a significant portion of your time to this job, so it's vital to ascertain if it's the right fit for you. To aid in this decision-making process, we've compiled a list of seven crucial questions to ask about a potential new job.


1. What are your expectations for this role? 

Understanding the expectations and goals for the position, especially within the initial three months, is crucial for setting yourself up for success. Clear expectations from the outset indicate a well-defined role and increase the likelihood of a positive work experience.  Additionally, be sure to ask how your work will be evaluated and if there are certain metrics or performance measures indicative of success in their estimation. 


2. What personalities flourish here?

Enquiring about the type of personalities that thrive within the organization provides insight into whether you'll fit into the company culture. This knowledge allows you to gauge your compatibility early on, minimizing potential friction in the future. Another way to ask this question is: What type of person or character traits tend to succeed in this role? 


3. What personal or professional development opportunities exist?

Exploring the company's commitment to employee growth signals its investment in staff welfare. Knowing the availability of training programs and support for professional advancement can influence your decision, especially if you prioritize skill development.


4. What's the typical career path for this position?

Understanding the potential for career advancement is crucial for goal-oriented individuals. If the position lacks opportunities for growth, it may hinder your long-term career objectives, making it essential to clarify before committing. Sometimes smaller organizations don’t have a lot of internal growth opportunities, so even asking about where people have gone after a position can help signal career advancement options. 


5. What's the company culture like? What do you think is unique to your department?

Learning about the company's culture, including work-life balance and daily routines, provides valuable insights into your potential work environment. If people struggle to answer this question, this can potentially be a red flag about team dynamics. 


6. Do you have a bonus program, or do you offer equity?

Discussing compensation details, including bonuses, equity, and benefits, is essential to ensure that your financial needs are met. Understanding the complete compensation package ensures transparency and avoids surprises later on. Never sign off on a job offer until you are crystal clear on your cumulative compensation – base, bonuses, etc. 


7. Where will I sit, and what kind of tech will I be using?

While more granular, these details can significantly impact your day-to-day experience. With the return to office/lab, knowing your workspace and the technology you'll be working with helps manage expectations and prepares you for any adjustments needed.


By understanding the role, company culture, growth opportunities, and compensation package, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your professional goals and overall well-being. Remember, interviewing is not just about proving your worth to the company; it's also about ensuring that the company aligns with your values and objectives.

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