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Before Accepting

You're floating on the clouds.  It has been a long most likely insane roller-coaster ride but your ride as finally come to the station and is stopping.  At least you hope it is.

Here are some things to consider BEFORE ACCEPTING the offer ...

    1.  What are your new Manager's expectations from you in this role?
         Ideally this was part of the discussions earlier.  If not, last chance to do it right!
         
         a)  What quarterly goals you will be expected to achieve (or are there any)?
              Quarterly goals may be easy or a nightmare.  Eitherway, get them identified
              and discussed how you could achieve these early in the quarter.  If it is deep
              into the current quarter, will they apply to you as a recent hire?


         b)  Ask about the Top 5 biggest challenges to achieve in your position.  Every new
              hire has challenges over the first three to five months.  After this transition
              period you will be amazed at all the things you now know.  If you are told there
              are no challenges, get worried.

    2.  What personalities flourish here?
         This is a good question to determine you ability to be a good fit.  Best asked at an
         interview as you may have landed a job you can't fit into or one you won't like.


    3.  What Development (Learning/Training/Education) Opportunities exist?
         Development at some companies is option; at others it is mandated - no option!
         This is gold for you as it is tax free and they want to invest in their people which
         is wonderful.  Explore that which exists within company provided courses and
         other material plus what may be available externally such as college tuition aid or
         full ride programs as a part-time student leading towards a degree.


    4.  What is the Typical Career Path for this Position?
         This shows you being a goal oriented person or someone who may leave early if
         their expectations are shattered.  There can only be ONE Chief Executive Officer.
         This position may be a dead end for you but that does not exclude the potential
         to later transfer into an area with greater growth opportunity after you establish
         yourself as a valued employee.

    5.  What is the Company Culture Like?
         Asking your manager in the interview is often best.  Asking people you know who
         work there is even better BEFORE you submit for the position.  Culture is one of
         two top reasons people leave a company.  The #1 reason: their manager.
         -  Is flex time something that is available; perhaps after you establish yourself
         -  Is bringing your pet to the office possible?
         -  Is riding your 10 speed to work, changing and showering on the job cool?
         -  How casual is casual attire here?  What about Fridays?
         -  Am I expected to buy things for company charitable evemts, even if made it?
         -  How many hours late is acceptable or how many hours leaving early is good?
         -  Am I the master of my own time and effort provided i meet expectations?
         -  What free stuff do I get to have?


    6.  Incentive Programs
         Once the "Bonus" program was the dream but that may only be part of the whole.
         Cash bonuses for meeting group or individual objectives may exist.  Stock shares
         may be offered for outstanding individual or team achievement.  Comp time may
         be a given or requires advance approval to meet business demands.


    7.  Some "deep dive" questions for a Manager on the company.
         This is NOT a typical question hiring managers ever get so be sensitive but show
         real interest.  Realize you may get the genuine story or a "boilerplate" story sent
         to all managers from Human Resources, Public Relations, Investor Relations and
         reviewed by Legal.
         
a)  What attracted you to this company and do you still feel the same way today?
         
b)  What are some aspects you really don't like about this company?
         
c)  Have you ever considered resigning, and what drove you to that point?
         
d)  Has the promise of growth and rewards been upheld for the efforts given?

    8.  What Values are Important to this Company?
         The values are very important to insure you can support the common mission or
         goal expected of all employees are are able to work with others to achieve them.
         If you hear various answers, be concerned as it shows lack of alignment or that
         few buy into the Values.  Some companies have them on a bronze plaque in their
         main entry for everyone to see.  Some companies have it for show, others for
         focus.

    9.  What Would the Top 5 Assets of this Company be?
         This is loaded with landmines to don't expect a quick response.  Common ones
         can expect to hear, and good ones you should want to hear, include:

         -  Employees - they make things happen for the customers and shareholders
         -  Customers - without loyal customers, we have no business
         -  Products    - innovative quality products keep a company in the marketplace
         -  Service       - you always take care of your customer before competitors do
         -  Loyalty       - when everyone works together, everyone benefits
         -  Innovation  - always being creative, new and smart ideas, leading the pack
         One sign this is serious:  If you see a Suggestion Box in employee areas.  

  10.  Where will I sit?
         Depending on the job and culture, this will be your life for 40 or more hours a
         week so you don't want the cube in the basement by the dumpsters.  Do not let
         ego get in the way as sometimes these are temporary assignments until the new
         remodeling work is finished.  Also remember a rectangular or square buidling
         is limited to four corner cubes or offices on each floor and you can bet those are
         already taken with a waiting line of hopeful future occupants.  But in the end, take
         the cash over the office ... you won't want to bring the office home every night.


  11.  What are parking arrangements?
         This can range from free parking towers with covered or enclosed walkways into
         the building to being shown public parking areas to being shown where the City
         Parking Lot and meters or pay boxes exist.


  12.  What about payroll dates and payment options?
         It's good to know when your first paydate will be and those you hope will follow.
         Companies may provide a variety of options for payroll ranging from someone
         who distributes the paychecks (very old school) to Direct Deposit (most likely).
         Some can do a distribution to different accounts for alimony or support issues to
         save you additional bookkeeping and minimize forgetting mandated payments.

  13.  Is there a cafeteria on-site or do people go out or bring lunch in?
         This helps you on your first day if someone doesn't take you out.  It also is a polite
         way to feel out if the cafeteria is there as a good reasonable place to eat or a place
         to hold larger meeting at and dine using the vending machines.

  14.  What are the dynamics between your potential manager and other employees?
         Pay attention to this while you are in the building.  Notice how others respond
         when your potential manager talks.  If they seem uncomfortable or suddenly go
         a different way, you should be concerned as these are NOT good signs.  Are
         people tense and quiet or is there a friendly short recognition of each other.


  15.  Are you actually talking to the hiring manager?
         In the hiring process, are you ever talking to your potential manager or is all
         communication through third parties?  Who offered you the position, was it the
         hiring manager or someone else?  Reasons for you to have reservations.


  16.  Are you on a fact-track to success or a "sign them before they quit" road?
         Do you feel like you're on a fast-track to be hired or they're trying to get your
         commitment on paper ASAP?  This often signals a short-term employment as the
         people resign.  The rush often leads to hiring mistakes and the fit most likely will
         not be for the long-term.
 According to the Harvard Business Review, bad hiring
         decisions are responsible for as much as 80% of employee turnover.  Think it over.

  17.  Managers with excessive or unrealistic Needs and Wants.
         Are they expecting you to be a "Super Person" starting day one?  It won't happen,
         you don't know where the restrooms are yet or your desk or many other things.
         Is the Job Description filled with a long list of required and desired certifications?
         Are you about to plug yourself into a pressure-cooker environment?  Learn to put
         side the "glossy" images being painted and listen to your gut.  Super Persons are
         rare and often get burned out and leave.  And if you're not a Super Person, you
         may find yourself running for the doors.


         Asking questions, talking to current and former employees, checking out the
         culture and history of your prospective manager are essential.  Good companies
         will look for somebody as a good fit.  Bad companies often just need a somebody.