Many of the best questions to ask before accepting a job offer get skipped by job seekers, causing them frustration later.
This list of questions to ask when you’ve been offered a job will help you understand the situation you’re considering stepping into. The more you know, the better! (Plus it may even help you negotiate your offer!)
Questions to Ask the Company
You’ve put in your resume, nailed your interview, and got that elusive job offer: Congratulations! But before you accept the job, there are many things to go over.
You want to feel confident in your decision and get all the information you need to enter your first day ready to succeed. Here are some of the best questions to ask before accepting a job.
1. What should be the immediate priorities for me in this role?
Your first day can be pretty overwhelming. You’re in a brand-new environment trying to learn the ropes. One of the most fundamental questions you can ask is what your priorities will be.
This question when you’re offered a job is vital for a couple of different reasons.
First, it gives you a good idea of what you can expect during the first few months of your job. You’re getting thrust into a new company with goals and objectives that differ from your last job. The goal here is to understand where your focus should lie.
Secondly, it gives you actionable guidance. The first few days and weeks always involve getting into the swing of things. Knowing what you should be doing can help you find where you fit into the bigger picture and what you can do to contribute to the bottom line.
2. What are the policies for sick leave and vacation time?
Time-off policies vary from company to company. While some countries have strict laws regarding paid time off and vacations, that’s not the case in the United States. As a result, it’s important to ask upfront.
Knowing your new company’s policies will help you decide if the job is right for you. Plus, it can help you plan for personal time and better understand what to do in unexpected situations.
It can be awkward asking about time off, but there’s no better time to clear up confusion than after getting a job offer.
3. How do employees accrue PTO?
PTO, or paid time-off, is another detail that varies between companies.
Many organizations have strict guidelines about how employees accrue PTO. You may have to work a specific number of hours. Alternatively, they might accrue monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Some companies reward PTO differently based on how long you’ve worked there. Senior employees might earn more PTO than a new hire over the same accrual period.
Again, those details are unique to your company. Asking this question before accepting a job will make sure there are no surprises later.
4. Who will I be reporting to?
It’s always a good idea to understand team dynamics and where you fit in before accepting a job. You need to know who your immediate supervisor is and how you will contact them.
Some supervisors are more hands-off, making it trickier to get in touch with them. Others are readily available.
Knowing who you will be reporting to can help you get a good feel of the workplace and whether or not you’ll be comfortable working there.
5. What should I expect from the onboarding process?
The onboarding process is a critical piece of the puzzle when you join a new company. Once again, the details of this process can be different from one company to the next.
Some organizations have new hires shadow current employees to learn the ropes. Others invest millions into training programs and classroom-style lectures. In-depth onboarding processes can take several months to go through!
Asking this question before accepting a job offer will help you know what to expect going in. Plus, it gives you insight into what’s expected from you moving forward.
6. Are there any bonuses?
Bonuses are a type of incentive that goes beyond your standard compensation package. Not every company offers bonuses. But if yours does, you want to learn about it upfront.
Asking this question might feel awkward or pushy, but it can help you decide if the job is right for you. For example, generous bonuses can help even out a lower-than-expected salary offer. Don’t forget to ask about eligibility criteria and details on how you can earn the rewards.
7. Does the company have a retirement program?
The job you accept now will affect your financial future one way or another. Ask about retirement plans and any available 401 (k) programs. If you have an existing 401 (k), you’ll want to know about contributions, where that money goes, and how it’s invested.
Retirement programs are part of the compensation package, so don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need to understand your options. This is a very standard question to ask before accepting a job, so don’t be shy!
8. Can unused vacation time roll over to the following year?
Vacation time is valuable, but policies can be confusing. You might earn a decent amount of vacation time and PTO. But what happens if you don’t use it all?
Some companies let it roll over to the following year. However, others have a “use it or lose it” policy. You might even have the option to receive a bonus in lieu of taking time off.
9. How much time do I have to accept the job?
Whether or not you accept this job is a major decision. You don’t want to rush it! If you’re fielding offers from multiple companies, you might want to hold off on providing an answer just yet.
However, the company interested in hiring you can’t wait forever. If you wait too long, they could rescind their offer and move on to the next candidate.
Asking this question when you get a job offer will help you understand how long you have to think through your options.
10. How is success measured for this position?
This is one of the best questions to ask before accepting a job offer, but many people overlook it. What you consider successful might not be the same as what the company thinks.
Some organizations use detailed performance analytics. Others take a more holistic approach.
Understanding where this company lies is crucial. It ensures that you know how to reach your full potential in the position and make sure the hiring manager is pleased with their decision.
11. How many hours will I realistically be working each week?
If you’re working a salaried position, you’re getting paid for what you do, not how long you’re there. Asking about how many hours you’ll likely work is paramount.
A company might expect you to work upwards of 50 or 60 hours a week. However, another offer might only require you to work 30 or 40. Suddenly, the value of the compensation plan becomes more apparent when you know how much you’ll need to work.
Furthermore, asking this question before accepting a job offer helps you understand what type of work/life balance you can expect.
12. How long is the initial training period for this role?
We’ve already touched on the onboarding process. However, this question focuses more on the hands-on training you’ll receive.
There are a few reasons you might want to know how long you’ll train. The company might offer a different pay rate during that time. Or, you may have limited opportunities to earn commissions or bonuses.
Time is money, so you should always go into your first few weeks fully understanding what to expect.
13. What will my schedule look like on a daily basis?
A hiring manager can’t tell you what you’ll do every second of every day, but they can provide some insight into what the typical workday is like.
That might include a few hours at your desk, an hour or two in meetings, etc. Whatever the case may be, you want to know! The answer to this question will help you understand if the daily grind works for you.
14. What kinds of benefits are offered?
Of course, you can’t forget to ask about the benefits. Don’t focus on the base salary alone. Non-monetary benefits can sweeten the deal tremendously.
Oftentimes, companies will use benefits to offset lower salaries. For example, you might have modest pay, but you’ll save money in the long run, thanks to fantastic healthcare. Always look at the entire compensation package, including the benefits.
15. What are my weekly job responsibilities?
You might think you know what the job will look like, but it’s not until you understand weekly responsibilities that things become crystal clear.
Asking this question when you’ve been offered a job will help you understand what’s expected from you on a weekly basis. It’s not uncommon for new hires to experience a phenomenon known as “scope creep.” The responsibilities can slowly expand beyond the job description.
That’s something you want to know before you start.
16. Who can I reach out to on the team for guidance or advice?
Here’s another team-related question you should ask before accepting a job offer. Ask about any available contacts you can turn to if you need help.
There’s no doubt that you’ll have tons of questions during your first few weeks on the job. Knowing who you can call for assistance makes all the difference.
17. What are the main goals I should focus on in the first 12 months of this role?
After you understand your immediate responsibilities, ask about long-term goals.
Every job is unique, and you need to understand where to focus your attention. What are your position’s objectives? Are there goals you need to meet?
It’s better to know those details before heading into your first day.
18. May I have this offer in writing?
It’s always a good idea to get your offer and all the finer details in writing. It’s one thing for a hiring manager to say that you’re getting all these sweet perks. But at the end of the day, you want all of that documented.
Having the offer in writing can save you a world of headaches later and also protect your job.
19. When are new employees eligible to receive benefits?
Asking this question before accepting a job offer is very important, but many job seekers forget to! In most cases, benefits don’t kick in right away. For example, health insurance usually goes into effect 90 days after employment. It all depends on the organization and the policies they use.
You need to know this information to prepare for the worst-case scenario. It’s always good to have backup insurance during that brief transition period.
20. What is the expected start date?
Whether you’ll be working at a new office or working from home with a remote job, you need to know hard start dates. Get the exact information about your first day so that you can make plans and put in any notices.
21. What are my daily job responsibilities?
It’s not uncommon to see vague job descriptions when you’re looking for something new. You might see some broad goals and duties, but the everyday operations are kept secret. Sometimes, that’s by design to avoid scaring potential applicants.
Ask about what you’ll be doing every day. What are your typical responsibilities, and what does the company expect from you every day?
22. Are relocation expenses covered?
If this position requires relocation, don’t forget to ask about expenses associated with the move once you’ve been offered a job. Whether you’re moving to another city or across the nation, relocating your entire life isn’t cheap.
Many companies will cover relocation expenses as part of a hiring package. Make sure to get those details in writing, too.
23. Is there room for advancement?
There’s a good chance that this position is not your end-all-be-all goal. It’s likely a stepping stone to something greater. Unfortunately, not every company (or role) provides opportunities to grow.
This is one of the best questions to ask before accepting a job offer because it could impact your long-term career growth. See if the company invests in employee growth and whether they promote from within. The answer you get could make you rethink accepting the job.
If there’s any hesitation, take it as a red flag. Hiring managers know that advancement opportunities are important, so ask all the questions you need.
24. Is the salary negotiable?
The company might extend an offer with a set salary and benefits. Before you rush and accept the job, ask if the pay is negotiable.
Do your own research about this position and what it pays for your area. Look at competitors and do your due diligence to have a figure in mind. Ideally, you’ll do all of that before you even go into an interview.
Once you get the offer, you can start negotiations and get the salary you deserve. That is, however, if the company is flexible enough for salary talks.
25. Would it be possible to meet some of the members of my team before I start?
You never know what kind of work environment you’ll be in until you start your first day. Hiring managers and interviewers want to paint the company in as good a light as possible. As a result, they might not be realistic regarding team dynamics and collaborative efforts.
See if you can meet some members of the team before you accept the job. That way, you can get a feel for the culture and determine if you’ll fit in.
26. What is the company dress code?
Another question to ask when you get a job offer centers around the dress code. Dress codes aren’t usually deal-breakers. There are plenty of creative ways to express yourself while maintaining a professional appearance.
But one thing you don’t want is to come to work unprepared! Ask about dress codes early so that you have plenty of time to shop and create outfits that meet all requirements.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Not every question you should ask before accepting a job offer should be directed at hiring managers.
After searching for weeks or months, getting a job offer is a huge relief. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the position is right for you.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself after getting a job offer to determine if it’s a position you should accept.
27. Does this job excite me?
If you have any reluctance about this job at all, it might not be a good idea to accept it (unless you don’t have the financial luxury to pass on it).
Your career should excite you. It needs to challenge you and utilize all the skills you worked so hard to obtain. Ultimately, it needs to excite you!
Is this a job that you’ll feel good doing? Or is it something you’ll grow to dread?
28. Does the company have a good reputation?
Always do your due diligence. While hiring managers look over your resume and perform background searches about you, do the same thing about the company.
You don’t want to work at a company with a bad reputation. That reflects poorly on you, but it could spell trouble in the future. The last thing you want is to accept a job at an organization in such bad shape that it’ll close its doors within a year!
Do all the research you can and make sure the company aligns with your values and goals.
29. Does the salary work for me?
Money isn’t everything, but it’s naive to think it’s not a major deciding factor. Think long and hard about your lifestyle and financial responsibilities to come up with a reasonable desired salary.
Maybe you’re looking to buy a house or pay down student loans. You may even have a lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to over the last few years. Does the salary for this new job support all that?
30. What is the company culture?
Company culture is important but often overlooked, which is why we recommend asking yourself this question before accepting any job offer. Every organization has a unique culture that’s dictated from the bottom down. Poor management, awful attitudes, and problematic behavior creep their way through an entire company.
The work environment can make or break your experience. It’s the difference between feeling happy and supported to feeling like it’s a nightmare every time you step into the office.
You can learn more about a company’s culture through research. Try speaking to some existing employees, too. Make sure that the culture meshes with your values and ethics.
31. Is the commute manageable?
A long commute can make an otherwise amazing job feel like a huge drag.
Consider how you’ll get to work and how long it’ll take. If you have to drive an hour each way every day, you might end up resenting the job.
If the commute is too far, see if you can work remotely some days. That might help make things more manageable. But if that’s not an option, you may want to reconsider the position.
32. Will I be challenged in this role?
Every job should challenge you. You never want to feel complacent or uninspired. Navigating tough challenges and finding unique solutions to work problems is what makes you grow.
Your career should push your skills further and further. Think about your current capabilities and compare them to the expectations of this new job. If you have no way to challenge yourself, it might not be the job for you. Ask yourself this question whenever you’re offered a job, and be honest with yourself.
33. Will this job get me closer to my long-term career goals?
Finally, consider how this position will impact your long-term goals.
As mentioned earlier, every job should be a stepping stone to something greater. It can take years or decades to reach the pinnacle of your career path. However, this position should help you get there!
Make sure it provides you with the necessary skills and advancement opportunities to continue climbing your career ladder.
Now that you’re familiar with the best questions to ask before accepting a job interview, don’t feel bad about bringing them up!
It’s never unreasonable to ask questions about the future of your career.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.