Questions to ask before accepting a job offer
The unemployment rate in the country is above 20 per cent. This means that millions of people are out there searching for jobs; a development that the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, describes as troubling.
“Unemployment is a global problem, and in Nigeria, the current unemployment rate of 23.9 per cent is worrisome,” he said in Lagos recently.
The implication is that whenever there a job vacancy is announced, thousands of people apply. So, it is no surprise to see people giving testimonies and celebrating job offers.
In the excitement that follows such an offer, many people fail to ask the right questions and before long they find themselves on the hunt for a new or better job.
Human resource experts say it is important for people to consider many things and ask questions before taking up a job in any organisations. Some of those questions are discussed below.
Is the offer accurate?
It is common to see people complaining that their employees have not fulfilled promises made to them. But when their employment letters are scrutinised those promises are often not stated. One of the important things to check before accepting a job offer is that the promises made in the course of the interview or salary negotiation are documented. Verbal promises often do not add up to anything, especially in the case of litigation. Promises or offers regarding vacation, promotion, exit requirements, etc have to be properly documented.
Is the pay good enough?
This, for many people, is the main issue. HR experts, however, say such things as the work environment may even matter more. Nonetheless, when offered a job, it is important that you determine whether the pay is good enough. Is it enough to keep you motivated and to allow you function effectively? Can it pay your bills? Experts say to determine whether the pay is good enough, it is important for people to determine what their skill is worth.
The Head, Talent Intelligence Group, Workforce Management Centre, Mr. Akindele Afolabi, says, “Before you go for any job interview, you have to decide your ideal salary expectation, the realistic salary and your minimum threshold.”
He said this way you know when to say no to an offer. To determine the minimum threshold, he explains that it is important to consider the physical requirement – things like transportation and feeding.”
Many people have failed to do this and accepted offers only to realise that the package is not good enough.
What are the benefits of working there?
While it is very important to review the salary being offered, it is also important to understand what it means to work for an organisation. Are there other benefits? Experts say when the benefits of working with some companies are evaluated they may amount to even more than their salaries. Some companies organise training programmes for their workers at great expenses. These programmes cost hundreds of thousands for people who have to enrol privately. Some companies have health insurance schemes for their workers and their families. Some people who work in hotels, for instance, say they hardly get to spend money on food. All these need to be considered before a job offer is accepted or rejected. If the nature of your job means you do not have to worry about medical bills, cost of feeding or transport fare, then you should be able to put less emphasis on your salary.
Is the location okay?
It takes some people two hours or more to get to their offices. This is not ideal. According to experts, in accepting a job offer the location has to be considered. If you live far from your place of work, you are bound to spend a lot of money every month to get to work; this will diminish the amount you are left with to pay your bills. That is apart from the stress of being on the road, probably stuck in traffic, for hours and the man hours you will lose. Compared to your peers who live close to the office, you are likely to be less productive and punctual and you will be exposed to more financial pressure.
What is the work environment like?
You also need to consider the work environment before accepting an offer. What kind of people are you going to be working with? Some work environments are more suited to extroverts, some to introverts. Similarly some work environments will require you to have impeccable human relations skill as you will be dealing with a lot of people, while some just need you to get in, get the job done, and get out.
Have you thought about whether you will fit into the environment? Are you sure you won’t end up spending your whole day avoiding people and giving thanks once it’s time to go home? Many people have quit jobs just because of the nature of the environment. “The job was boring”, “My colleagues were too withdrawn” and “The environment was not conducive”, are among that some people have giving for quitting their jobs.
Is there a clear job description?
Does your offer letter clearly specify what you will be signing up for once you accept the offer? Do you know what is expected of you – what you are expected to do daily? Many people do not. According to experts, the accepted a job offer based on their understanding of what a public relations officer is expected to do – according to the text books. They don’t bother to find out what it means to be a PRO in that particular organisation. So, by the time they are asked to run an unusual errand they may end up saying, “This is not what I signed up for.”
Experts say it is important to understand what the organisation wants from you and to have that expectation documented.
It is equally important to be clear on such things as work schedule. This is more so for people with children and many other responsibilities or activities outside their jobs. By having a clear schedule and job description it is easier to plan.
The Chief Executive Officer, ReQit Limited, Mr. Ken Okolo, says this is part of the questions people should ask when it comes to taking up a job offer.
“Can I say, for instance, that if I work for XYZ company, I will be able to have a good work-life balance and my retirement package is certain?”
How about the career prospects?
Another important question is about the prospects you have working for that organisation. Some organisations are notorious for failing to promote people when due. Some have no clear career path at all, leaving workers clueless as to what they have to do to get a promotion. In addition to know what is required of you, you need to know what it would take for you to rise to the top in whatever organisation you are about to take up a job with.
You should also consider policies regarding: health insurance, vacation, illness, bonuses, training, further education, retirement age, growth, travel allowances, job security, among others.