10 questions to ask before you join a new job

 This post has been uploaded on my new blog, Happiness Creator. Please visit it :)

 When hunting for a job, most candidates are so busy trying to sell themselves, that they don’t research the company thoroughly enough to see if they’re a good fit or not.

It’s very important for a candidate to ask questions about the company. If you’re looking for a job, you should definitely try to find out if working at the company will drive you crazy or not ;)

Here are some questions that you should try to get answered. Many of these are not things that you can ask during your interview. The most valuable sources of information are usually friends who are currently working in the company, who know the company somehow, or who are working in the industry. 

Well, here are the questions:  

  1. What type of work will I be doing?
    Establish this one early on. Ask for examples. We recently hired two people to conduct phone surveys. Anyone expecting to create policy reports would have been disappointed. So often, the job description is just a vague generalization of something the HR manager thought should be mentioned. And, in the real world, you will never get exactly what you expect. But it’s always better to ask: for a while, our Brand Management department was looking for people in different areas, although the designation for each was the same. 
  2. Who will be on my team, and what is their background?
    You might be able to find this information online and the answer to this might not really change too much for you. But good people are good to be around. If very talented and smart people are on your team, work is more likely to be fun, you are more likely to meet people you’ll enjoy being around, and at the very least, you’ll pick up something. Good team members indicate that the team is capable, but the lack of them might also indicate that you will have the opportunity to build the team’s capabilities. (Ahem: assuming that you’re that good, of course!) 
  3. Why do you want to hire someone? How will that person contribute?
    Sell yourself, describe how you’ll be able to contribute, and hope that it’s a good match. But wait, why should you just sit and hope? Go ahead and ask, what is it that they would like from their new employee? You’ll gain a much better understanding of what your future at the firm would be like. 
  4. What are the issues facing this team, at the moment?
    This one shows your interest. Ideally, you will not ask this during the interview, but to some nice young people who work in that team. Someone might just mention the rivalry with the other department, and the chance that the division will be eliminated. 
  5. What are the opportunities for this team in the future?
    Don’t ask this if the answer is very obvious. But if the division or project is new, this is the chance for your potential supervisor to paint a rosy future for you. You’ll get to judge if the best-case scenario is really something that you want. 
  6. Will the company ownership change in the near future?
    Ok, so you probably won’t get an answer to this one. But try to find out. If there’s a chance, the rumors will be floating around. Someone working in the industry, or in the banking sector, might be able to answer this.   
  7. What are the pay, benefits, etc?
    You will probably have to negotiate this one after you get the offer. But make sure to negotiate. Don’t just settle by not knowing the details. For instance, these days many companies have rules that state that an employee must return the signing bonus if he/she leaves before a certain period of time. 
  8. Will I need to travel or work late hours?
    Whichever company you decide to join will appreciate it if you forget the clock and finish your work, meet deadlines, and go beyond the call of duty. But ask if late hours are normal (i.e. 4 out of 5 days), if you’ll need to work on weekends regularly, or if you’ll be required to travel a lot. Be honest with yourself as to how much of this you can handle sanely.  
  9. What would be the future career path of someone entering this company in this position?
    Yet another chance for your future supervisor to wax on, hopefully. Just make sure that what he/she makes sense, and seems reasonable.  
  10. What type of experience will I gain?
    This is slightly different from number 1. In essence, you are trying to find out how this position will improve your resume, what kind of value addition you will receive. Will you learn how to work with different types of people, make key contacts in the industry, gain skills that can be transferred to other industries…. What? 

Well, these are the questions that I came up with, I wonder if anyone has more suggestions?

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90 Responses to 10 questions to ask before you join a new job

  1. [...] Life: Personal, Business, Social has 10 questions to ask before you join a new job. There’s nothing worse than a job that doesn’t fit, unless it’s going hungry. If you can be choosy at all, I’d say be choosy. And if you can’t, it’s always good to know what you’re getting into anyway. [...]

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  12. Aruba Al says:

    1-what are the important things that HR manager should do when he joined a new company?
    2-what steps that HR Manager should do if he had been asked to set up HR Department from the beginning?
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    I think those also might be a good question that HR Manager should think when he joined any new company. Who ever have an answer for the above questions please reply back to my email?

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  13. Gunnar says:

    These are all good questions. One I would like to point out is if your leaving for more money, that will end up being your raise for the following year. Knowing that, make sure you ask the question; “When are reviews done, and will I be considered for a raise upon my good review.
    Never stay at your old job if your salary is being match. That will only happen once and if the manager isn’t the one who approved it, you will be the one with the mark on your back to be let go if they have an opportunity to do so.
    Leave on good terms, let the company know that you want to excel at this new opportunity. If later on a new position opens up at the old company, you sell your self with the new skills that you have aquired. Showing them that you are now a greater aset to the company.

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    I feel so dumb right now for not asking these obvious questions. Too bad I already accepted the offer and I did not negotiate and I have a vague idea about the job descriptions. Ugh.

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