The 7 most important questions you need to ask your future employer
Where does your company see itself in 5 years… ?
More and more Poles are regularly deciding to change jobs. We preferred to wait for the first waves of the pandemic in the old companies, but the more we get used to the new situation, the more willingly we have made decisions about our professional development. In most industries, the so-called ‘employee market’, is dominant, thanks to which, employees are the ones to choose job offers. This is most evident in the IT industry, but the others experience it, as well.
It’s easy to change a job, but it’s harder to change it… for a better one. Karolina Struzik, a consultant at Awareson, a company recruiting IT specialists, suggests what questions are worth asking a future employer.
What exactly will my role be?
The same position may have slightly different responsibilities in different companies. First of all, we need to understand exactly what we will be dealing with, what our responsibilities will be, and – especially – what we will be held accountable for. It is worth asking about the daily duties, and what does a typical working day look like. In the case of IT specialists, the key will be the technological stack, and the tools that the employee will have at his/her disposal. It’s good to know how the project is run.
Let us ask our immediate superior about all these issues. After all, it is she or he who will entrust us with tasks, and hold us accountable for them.
What does our team look like, and what is the structure of the company?
We spend 1/3 of our lives at work, which is why it is of great importance, whom we work with. During the recruitment interview, it is good to find out how big the team we are joining is, how the information exchange and co-operation functions, and how our team is embedded in the company’s structure. There are also important issues regarding the way the project, to which we are joining, is conducted, and what are the most important roles in the project. Is the team dispersed – works in an office, in an open space, or maybe remotely, or in a hybrid way? After a pandemic experience, it is increasingly common for individual team members to work in different cities, and even countries. It often happens that we only see our immediate supervisor or key partner on-line.
Will my tips be taken into account?
Another important element is the decision-making process in the new workplace. It is worth knowing if we will have an impact on our project, and sometimes, even on business processes throughout the company. Will our ideas be approved by one, a few, or – due to the hierarchy and procedures – a dozen or so people? In smaller, young organisations, the influence of a new specialist may be strong and direct, but as a result, a lot of changes may take place in the company, and management may become more dynamic. In large enterprises, processes take longer, but the situation is more stable. In tech companies, decisionmakers sometimes, work in a different time zone i.e. in the US or Japan – and that can complicate the process. Before choosing a workplace, it is worth determining which option suits us, and what may frustrate us.
What are my development opportunities?
The desire to develop is the second most common – after salary – official reason for changing jobs. Make sure the new company allows you to expand your skills. Is your new boss or colleague expert, and will you have someone to learn from? Already during the recruitment interview, it is worth asking about internal training, and the possible external training budget, and how it is accounted for: for instance, you choose the training courses yourselves, are they fully financed by the employer, or maybe only partially co-financed? The second important aspect is the promotion path. Will you be able to develop within the team, or with other company structures? Some employers allow you to move to another project/department, e.g. after working for a year or two.
What about the benefits?
Benefits are not only just health care and subsidies for sports. More and more companies offer, for example, flexible working hours. Let’s carefully analyse what is important to us. It is also worth finding out if the company plans to pay extra for leave, or arranging a place for remote work at home. After the pandemic, it becomes popular to co-finance bills, e.g. for the internet or electricity while working on-line, as well as co-financing dinners in nearby restaurants and bars. Can we count on a bonus in the new workplace? If so, is it dependent on the company’s performance or mainly our work? What does the “fork” depend on, and when is the premium paid?
What are the next recruitment steps?
The interview was nice… and so, what next? It is convenient to know if and when we can expect feedback, so as not to wait forever for the phone to ring. Let’s also find out how much time we have to decide whether the company meets our expectations. Pushing decisions through either side is never beneficial, and can ruin an entire process that has cost a lot of effort.
What will work be like after the pandemic?
Currently, many companies are offering their employees hybrid, or fully remote work, but what are they planning in six months, next year? Let’s not take anything for granted, especially since the company itself may not yet know the answer.
Remember, that not only what we ask is important, but also the manner in which we do it. Nobody likes to be questioned like a student at the front of the classroom. It is worth writing down questions for the employer, but it is not worth reading this list directly during the meeting. It’s good for them to appear as naturally as possible in the conversation.
If a recruiter, headhunter, or IT consultant helps us in our search, he or she will know most of the answers, can reliably recommend the company to us, and will suggest what else to ask the immediate supervisor.
More and more companies are seizing the opportunity to invite a candidate to a meeting with the team. Getting to know the people we are going to work with is a valuable experience. Even if the company does not offer it, we can suggest it, or ask the recruiter to do so.
Finally, let’s ask about the so-called “on-boarding”. Who will introduce us to new responsibilities, and whether the recruiter / consultant will help us in this.