Five questions before accepting a job offer

The job interview is often a stressful experience. Focused on the image that they wish to convey, applicants sometimes don’t clarify certain essential points. So, before accepting an offer, here are five questions that should not be ignored. 

Is the company flexible?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many tasks can be done remotely. According to Statistics Canada, about 40% of Canadians were working from home in April 2020 – up from 4% in 2016. Another survey by the Order of Chartered Human Resources Advisors (CRHA), published in 2021, showed that 24% of people who have had the experience of working from home would like to enjoy total flexibility and decide for themselves which days they will go to the office. This percentage is only 8% on the employer side. “It is therefore very important to ask about flexibility in remote work, as well as the arrangements for schedules and vacations”, points out Geneviève Provencher, founder of Flow, a directory of flexible companies in Quebec.

Are the company’s culture and values in line with yours?

This is often a dimension that is validated even before the interview. Geneviève Provencher suggests reading the comments on the company, published on the Internet and in social networks. This will avoid unpleasant surprises. If the direct managers were not present during the interview, you can ask to meet them briefly before accepting an offer, in order to check that you’re on the same page.

Does the job title match the daily tasks?

This might seem obvious, but sometimes job titles posted by companies do not quite correspond to the tasks. So it’s important to make sure that the job matches the job title by asking questions about what is really expected of you. What will  the main objectives of the position be? Will you be able to participate in special projects? Understanding these factors more precisely will ensure that the proposed salary is in line with the expected work.

What are the opportunities for advancement?

“The prospects for advancement are not necessarily the same in a start-up compared to a larger company,” says Ms. Provencher.

So someone about to be hired will benefit by asking the managers about this. Their answers will give him a better idea of the career possibilities in the structure, compared to his personal objectives.

What are the social benefits?

Information on benefits is often included in the contract or as an appendix. If nothing is mentioned, it is important to ask the managers to specify what they are. Are benefits available in three months or when you’re hired? According to Geneviève Provencher, it may also be wise to confirm salary bonus systems. “We check if bonuses are paid based on performance or agreement, for example,” she says.  

Final pro tip: take notes during the interview so that you can make sure that everything mentioned in the interview – at least the tangible and quantifiable factors – is clearly written into the employment contract. This helps to avoid oversights, and enables these questions to be addressed during discussions with human resources managers.

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