Applying for jobs and interviewing can be extremely intimidating, especially if you don’t know the right questions to ask. Whether you are entering the job market for the first time, making a career change, or seeking a better job it is important to look beyond how much you are getting paid. Salary is an important part of any job, but there are a lot of other aspects to consider when you are looking for a job.
When searching for a job, people often only consider the salary and overlook the benefits. However, the benefits are a major part of your compensation package. Different companies offer different benefits and they can vary greatly depending on the field you are in. Benefits include insurance, retirement contribution, paid time off, bonuses, and more. All of this should be taken into consideration, and it is helpful to be prepared to negotiate these terms just as you would with a salary.
Make sure you ask your potential employer about what extras their company has to offer. If you are considering multiple different jobs, extra perks from one company like a gym membership, discounts, travel reimbursement, and so much more could make or break your decision about a company.
If you already have health insurance, for example, if you are still on a parent’s health insurance and don’t need to switch yet, make sure you ask about this as well. When companies do not have to pay for your health insurance, they should increase your salary because you are saving them money by not requiring that benefit.
While it seems like every job once you reach a certain point in your career has to be a 9-5, this is not the case. Before beginning your job search, consider what your ideal hours would be. Maybe you prefer to get out of work earlier, so you’d really like an 8-4 or even 7-3. If you prefer to sleep in, a 10-6 might be more your speed. Whatever your preference is concerning hours, be sure to ask about how flexible the hours would be.
A great question to ask your potential employer is whether they would be comfortable with you working different hours on different days. For example, one day you may have plans in the evening and want to finish at 4 instead of the usual 5. If this is something one employer would be totally comfortable with but another one is not, it could influence your decision about which one you would prefer working for.
Some jobs also require after-hours work or weekends and evenings, make sure you have considered whether these are hours you would be comfortable working. Ask the employer if their employees often work beyond their workday, such as into the evening to finish an assignment. If clocking out at 5 every day is important to you, you might want to reconsider a job that has its employees meeting strict deadlines.
Most workplaces don’t present themselves as toxic on the surface, and unfortunately, you usually have to spend some time in the office to figure these things out. Even if you ask the employer about the “vibe” of the office you may not get an accurate answer, especially because a boss’s perception of the workplace culture can vary greatly from the opinions of the employees.
There are a few things you can ask about to give you a better idea of what the environment would be like. Things like hours, team-building events, and reviews can sometimes tell you a little bit more about the relationship between employees and management. You may be looking for a company that is very team-oriented, or prefer to come to work and leave every day without much interaction and drama. Whichever you are looking for, asking questions that assess how much value the company puts on socialization between coworkers can give you an idea.
If you are starting a new job in hopes of moving up within the company, you definitely need to inquire about growth opportunities. Ask the potential employer what the growth opportunities are for your position, and keep in mind that while promotions to senior positions in the same role are most common there are also often opportunities for horizontal growth. For example, if you start at a company utilizing one skill, there may be opportunities for you to learn new skills within the company and take on new responsibilities.
Growth opportunities can also mean educational opportunities. If you are entering a role that would pay more if you went back to school, some companies will support you by advancing your education. Some companies also pay for educational videos and classes that will help you enhance your skill set.
Overall, when you are searching for new employment, you want to ask the right questions to choose a company that is going to view you as more than just an employee.
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.