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  • Ann Willets

Questions to Ask Before You Accept Your Next Job


News flash, the people who hire you don’t always stick around. People move around a lot in agency life. This is why, despite hitting it off with the person who’s hiring you, you need to do a deep dive into your potential employer.


A lot of the big agencies offer in-house training with their own internal training programs, but smaller mid-sized agencies may not, so ask if they'll pay for you to go to the PRSA or elsewhere for training. Also, be sure to ask what a prospective training program looks like.


It's also a good idea to take a look at the work culture. You can be blunt in asking what the work culture is like, but chances are you won't get the truth. A good workaround is to ask if you can speak to a few team members to get a better feel for the organization. They likely won't be as shy to disclose the dynamics to you. These are also the right people to ask about the true nature of the organization's work-life balance. Will you work within the hours you've agreed to, or will you be trucking your workload home for the weekend? And while you may have PTO/vacation time, will you be encouraged to take it?


Think about the way they organize and interact with their teams, and what their office structure looks like. What is the chain of command? Familiarize yourself with the various layers of management. If there’s ever a problem, you’ll know who will be there to listen.


How many accounts are people working on? It's essential to gauge your workload and the workload of those around you. While you will obviously be curious about how full your plate will be, it will also be helpful to know more about your supervisor's plate. Will they have enough time to train and guide you?


How often does the team meet? Is it sufficient for you? Otherwise, what is daily communication going to look like?


How are you going to be judged on your performance, and who will do the judging? This is important from the get-go. You don't want to be surprised about this one. And it never hurts to have a conversation with a team leader about individual expectations.


There are several situations, and circumstances you could find yourself in that may prompt you to be hasty in accepting your first job offer. It's never good to have too long a hiatus between jobs. For example, when hiring managers see a gap longer than 3 months, they will often ask me, "What's wrong with this candidate?"


Yet, timing must be balanced with being a bit selective about where you land. Ideally, you will end up checking off a majority of your wish list. That's right: Make a list! It can't hurt to map out your most significant wants in a job. When you size up various offers against your list, you'll have a better idea of how a potential job may align. That said, you'll never get 100 percent of what you want, so be realistic.


Landing a job is a process. Ask questions, evaluate your wants and needs, and keep your head above water. Not every job is for you, but with patience and diligence, you'll find a match. Like my mamma always said, "There's a lid for every pot!"

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