The 5 Questions You Must Ask Before Starting a New Job

5-Questions-Before-Starting-a-New-JobIn a challenging job market, it may seem that any job offer is a good job offer.

I’ll never forget being hired to fill what seemed like a dream position – a great fit for my experience and skills and a move up in terms of career advancement.

Shorty, however, I found  – there had been an internal candidate who now reported to me… and was intent on making things difficult. Long-term, the job idid prove to be a good experience, despite the unanticipated obstacles to overcome related to personalities, the workplace and organizational culture.

While there’s no way to truly experience the organization before accepting an offer, what can job seekers do to better estimate what the new job will be like?

The following questions are designed to help you find out what you need to know about your responsibilities on the job, in the workplace environment, and as part of company culture… before starting a new job:

What are the immediate priorities for the person in this position?

Adjust this question for different groups, of course. By asking, you’re determining the company’s mission impact priorities, current clients’ or customers’ needs and your supervisor’s point of view and sense of urgency.

What Roles Should I Know About that are Perhaps Not in the Job Description?

Job vacancy announcements and the formal descriptions kept on file in human resources offices can be full of information that is more bureaucratic in nature than actually representative of the work to be performed. What else can they tell you about their expectations of you and your work?

What is a Typical Day Like for Someone in this Position?

Tweak this one to be relevant to your situation. If it’s a brand new position, for example, what do they anticipate a typical day will be like? This is also a great question to ask alumni, or others in your network that may be employed by this company or in similar positions with other companies.

What are the Biggest Mistakes You’ve Seen Others Make in this Role?

What are your supervisor’s pet peeves – coming in late, not proofreading correspondence, or not asking for assistance when it’s needed? This question is from The Huffington Post‘s “The Job Interview: Questions to Ask … And What to Avoid” and can help you understand the climate at the organization, inform your approach, and set your expectations.

What Improvements Do You Hope I’ll to Bring to this Position?

Brazen Careerist recommends this question for interviews as well, but it could also be useful after accepting an offer or as part of periodic performance reviews. This conversation may reveal existing problems and shed some light on how you’ll be evaluated, as well as how success is currently, or will be, defined.

Having these questions ready will not only help you get the information you need to make the right decision about a potential job; they will also show you are prepared, a good listener… and are quite serious about exceeding expectations in your new role!





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MelissaAbout the Author: Melissa Venable, PhD is an Education Writer for Melissa’s background includes work in higher education – private, public, and for-profit – as an instructional designer and curriculum developer. Melissa is also an experienced instructor, academic advisor and career counselor. She is actively involved in research related to online education and the support of online students. Her work has been published in The Career Development Quarterly, TechTrends, the Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Follow Melissa on Twitter!


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