Pilots use a checklist to make sure that everything that’s supposed to happen before a flight does happen. You need a checklist too, to make sure that you’ve covered all the bases before you accept a job offer.
Here’s a list of 10 things to do before you say “Yes, I’ll take the job!”
10 Things You Must Do Before Accepting A Job Offer
Get Clear On The Title And Reporting Relationship
Your offer letter should include your job title and your reporting relationship. You need to know who your boss will be! I’m embarrassed to tell you that I accepted a job one time without a clear understanding of exactly who I’d be reporting to, and I had reason to regret my oversight within a couple of weeks. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
Hammer Out Your Compensation Details
Maybe your hiring manager or the company recruiter told you, “Here’s your starting salary,” and you liked that number well enough to say, “I’m in!” There’s more to the compensation picture than just your annual salary, though. You also need to know these details:
• How often you’ll get paid.
• Whether there’s a bonus plan, and if so, what that bonus plan entails.
• When your performance and salary review will take place.
• Whether or not you’re eligible for overtime, and if so how that overtime is calculated.
Understand The Benefits Plans
Benefits matter, especially if you’ve got dependents who rely on you for their health coverage. Get your benefits plan details in writing before you accept a job offer. If the company is small and its benefit plans are weak, negotiate for more salary to cover the additional expense you’ll incur when you have to buy additional coverage on your own.
Make sure you know how much paid time off you’ll be eligible for in your first year on the job and subsequent years. Our client Alina got a rude awakening when she accepted a new job and learned at her new-employee orientation session that she was only eligible for a week of vacation after fifteen months on the job!
She did not last there 15 months. Know your benefits situation before you sign on dotted line.
Get Clear On The Working Hours And Off-Work Communication
You can’t afford to take a new job without knowing what your manager expects from your where working hours are concerned, especially if it’s a salaried position. Some workplaces pack up and everyone goes home shortly after five, while other companies look at you sideways if you leave your desk before seven p.m.! Make sure you know how available your boss expects you to be in the evenings and on weekends. You don’t want to learn after the fact that you’re expected to be on call 24/7/365.
Know The Travel Requirements
Some jobs require no business travel, some require 100% travel and others fall somewhere in between. Ask questions about the business travel. How often will you travel, and how long will you typically be out of town? Get a copy of the company’s travel policy. Some of them are rich, boosting you up to Business Class for international trips or long domestic trips, for instance. Some of them cover dry-cleaning in your hotel.
Other travel policies are skimpy. They may not provide you with enough of a per diem amount to allow you to eat more than a sandwich or a slice of pizza when you’re on the road. Get your travel details straightened out before you accept the offer.
See The Working Space
Don’t accept a new job until you’ve seen your office or workstation, or you may find the working conditions intolerable. Check for light and airflow and acoustical privacy, because these are the things that can drive you crazy if your working space wasn’t designed with human beings in mind.
Everything is negotiable if your hiring manager wants to get you on board. You can negotiate your way into a private office or a more favorably-situation workstation. Don’t take these things for granted — they turn out to matter very much!
You take a big chance when you accept a job before meeting your teammates. It’s a very bad sign when a manager tells you, “You’ll meet the team after you start. They’re too busy to meet you now.” Too busy? Are they chained to their desks, or what? If your manager wants you, he or she will arrange a quick 20-minute coffee meeting with your prospective co-workers.
Read The Employee Handbook
Ask for a copy of the company’s Employee Handbook and read it cover to cover before you accept a new job. Policies like these are a huge red flag. They signal “This culture is fear-based — stay away!”
Talk About Objectives
Talk with your boss about his or her objectives for you before you step into a new role. Sometimes, especially when a position has been vacant for a long time, managers can have unrealistic expectations about what you can accomplish in your first 30, 60 or 90 days. Hash out an attack plan and a set of goals for your first month and quarter on the job, so that everybody is on the same page and nobody is disappointed.