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The Millennial: What you should ask the human resource personnel before signing that contract

It goes without saying just how daunting the job-hunting process can be. A great job is more than the salary in an offer letter.

When deciding whether to accept a new job offer, you need to have a checklist, ensure you get all your questions asked before accepting a job offer, and don’t be shy about it.

The last thing you want to do is quit a job after a few weeks because you hate your new job because of some ridiculous rules or expectations, you probably hate your boss, the commute is too long, or other reasons.

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By asking good questions during the interview process and after an offer is made you can avoid these mistakes. This article highlights some of the important questions one should ask before signing a contract.

What is the company culture like?

Every company has its own unique culture. This is a big part of what makes a company a great workplace or nightmare.

You want to make sure your work ethic and personality will mesh with the co-workers you interact with daily.

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 your priorities.

When you’re offered a job, this question 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. The goal here is to understand where your focus should lie.

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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.

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.

Who will I be reporting to?

Understanding team dynamics and where you fit in before accepting a job is always a good idea. You need to know who your immediate supervisor is and how you will contact them. Knowing who you will be reporting to can help you get a good feel of the workplace.

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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. Don’t forget to ask about eligibility criteria and details on how you can earn the rewards.

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. 

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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.

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.

Furthermore, asking this question before accepting a job offer helps you understand what type of work/life balance you can expect.

May I have this offer in writing?

Last but not least, solidifying the agreement. Getting your offer and all the finer details in writing is always a good idea. 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.

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