During the interview process, you’re trying to put your best foot forward. This means avoiding questions that could give the wrong impression, like asking about vacation time during the first interview. Once you’ve been offered the job, however, you have a little more leeway to ask about all the things new hires want and need to know, like the specifics of the dress code or how exactly bonuses are paid out.
Your new manager is your go-to contact for these job-specific topics that HR doesn’t always have the details on. Your manager is one of the people you’re going to be working the closest with in your new job, so it makes sense to begin building a strong relationship with them by asking straightforward questions.
Important things to consider about your job offer
Under no circumstances should you start a job without a firm understanding of how much you’ll be making and what the pay structure looks like. Even for jobs where the pay is flexible, like bonus- or commission-based roles, you want to understand how those things are calculated and when they’re paid out. Find out if you can expect to receive a check weekly, bi-weekly or monthly and what’s included in each one.
2. Hours and schedule
Your scheduling will depend on if you’re salaried–paid a fixed amount at regular intervals regardless of how many hours you work–or hourly. If it’s a salaried position, find out what the typical work hours look like and what extenuating circumstances might affect those hours, like busy periods.
If you’ll be paid hourly, here are some good scheduling questions to ask:
- Will you have the same hours from week to week, or will they vary?
- How far in advance does the schedule come out?
- Are you allowed to swap shifts with coworkers?
- What happens if you have a scheduling conflict with a shift?
- What’s the procedure for requesting time off?
3. Remote work options
With remote work becoming more common, more managers are open to their employees working out of the office at least some of the time. Your boss can give you a definitive answer on whether remote work is allowed and how often you can do it. If being able to work remotely is a must for you, it’s a good idea to get your manager’s approval in writing before you accept the job.
4. Day-to-day responsibilities
Your manager can tell you how you’ll spend the majority of your time, which is something that has a major bearing on how engaged you’ll be with your work. Ask questions to understand things like how much time is spent on collaborative versus independent work, what tools you’ll use to do your job, what your deliverables look like and how your work contributes to the organization’s success.
5. Team culture
Your interview experience and your own research may have given you an idea of the company’s culture, but what about the team you’ll be working on? Your manager plays a big role in setting the tone for the relationships coworkers have with one another and the relationship the team has with the company as a whole. Learning more about how your new manager motivates their employees, how they approach conflict resolution, and how employees are recognized for a job well done will tell you a lot about the team culture.
6. Dress code
Whether it’s a business suit, a collared shirt and pants or a company-issued uniform, you want to be sure you have the correct wardrobe for the job. The best way to find out about the dress code is to ask. If you interview in person or have any group Zoom calls as part of the hiring process, take note of what others in the office are wearing. This is usually the best way to get a feel for what’s considered acceptable attire.
7. Opportunities to advance
Demonstrating an interest in career advancement is a good sign, as it shows you’re committed to the idea of a future at the company. Putting your ambition on your manager’s radar from the start is a great way to help them see you as a potential leader and make sure your name is top of mind when advancement opportunities arise.
8. How success is measured
One of the most common gripes that new hires have with their jobs is that they lack direction. To prevent this from happening to you, ask for clear guidance on how your manager defines success so you can work toward it from day one. A good idea is to prompt them to explain what they’re looking for from you within the first 30, 60 and 90 days. This should give you a good road map for your first few months on the job.
9. Training and onboarding plan
Training is another big component of new hire success. Ensure that you’ll have the support and education you need by asking your new boss to describe what your onboarding will look like. Ideally, you’ll be looking for them to have a clear plan to get you up and running, rather than winging it as you go along.
10. Start date
Finally, before you accept a job offer, make sure you and your future manager are on the same page about when you’ll start. Make sure that their expectations give you enough time to give proper notice at your current job. As excited as you may be to start a new position, you don’t want to burn a bridge by leaving your current employer on short notice.
Asking questions about a job offer is not only a chance to confirm the position is a good fit but an opportunity to set the tone for a positive, productive relationship with your would-be boss. By preparing a few key questions ahead of time, you’ll ensure you have all the information you need if you do decide to accept the position and move into an exciting new role.