Getting a new job, especially after a period of unemployment, can be exciting, validating and emotional. But before you say yes, consider the following aspects.
Starting a new gig is a huge decision, one that you are stuck with for a long time. Before making your final decision, you should find out the answers to the questions below.
What Are You Actually Going to Be Earning?
Finding out what your income will be can often be murkier than it appears. Even if you’re a salaried employee, there may be other opportunities to earn money, such as revenue-sharing, bonuses, commissions and more.
If you’re going to be an hourly employee, there may be opportunities for overtime or even some of the options listed above. Hourly employees should find out if they are guaranteed to work a certain number of hours per week or if that will depend on external factors.
What’s the Atmosphere Like?
Beyond how much you’ll earn and what work you’ll be responsible for, the most important aspect to a new job is figuring out what the culture is like. Is this a company where the CEO is addressed only by his last name? Or is this a firm where the HR department plans practical jokes for April Fool’s?
Finding a company whose culture matches your personality can make the difference between dreading going to work and a lively morning commute.
Do They Pay for Certifications, Degrees, etc.?
Many companies pay for college credit for their employees. This is how a lot of people are able to earn advanced degrees without going into debt. Ask if the company has a policy and how you can be eligible for it.
Even if they don’t offer to pay for your degree, see if they will cover the cost of continuing education, conferences and special seminars.
What Are the Options for Health Insurance?
The cost for health insurance can differ greatly based on deductibles, copays, coinsurance, premiums, and coverage for spouses and dependents. Seeing the hard numbers for all the available plans can make it easier to compare it to your current coverage. Don’t be afraid to contact the insurance company to see if your current providers will be accepted.
How Do They Review Employees?
One of the biggest ways a good job can turn sour is if you aren’t sure how you can succeed. Some companies have set guidelines for performance reviews, while others offer feedback on a regular basis.
Find out how you will be evaluated, if pay is tied to performance and how often reviews will occur.
What’s the Vacation Policy?
Comparing salaries can be easy – just take the higher number of the two. But vacation days is another story.
Vacation days, personal days, sick days and holidays vary from employer to employer. Find out the policies for each type of leave – how much notice do you have to give, what happens if you’ve run out of paid time off and have an emergency, are you ever required to work on holidays, etc.
Some employers allow you to roll vacation days over into the next year; others have a “use it or lose it” policy. There are even companies that allow you buy vacation days for a set price, which can be one more benefit for those who love to travel or have family far away.
Do They Offer a Retirement Program?
Many companies nowadays offer 401(k) or equivalent options to their employees. But not all retirement programs are created equal.
Ask about the matching program, vesting schedule and types of funds offered. The vesting schedule explains when you’re eligible to take advantage of the employer contributions (some companies make you wait a few years before you can withdraw those, while others ensure you’re vested immediately).
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