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4 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Job

Finding the right job is never easy. And while it might be tempting to jump at any job offer, you want to make sure it’s the right fit. You don’t want to waste your time – time that could be better spent looking for the perfect employment.

What’s important to you in a job?

It’s important to take the time to think carefully about whether the job is really the right fit for you. So what’s important to you? Do your professional and financial goals align with the position? Whether you’re unemployed or looking to switch jobs, making a move without asking the right questions could be a big problem.

Although you probably asked some questions during the interview process, they were most likely about the actual position—duties, managers, staff and responsibilities. And those are definitely necessary! But it’s just as important to know the right questions to ask after you’ve been given an offer.

Here are four questions to ask before signing on the dotted line of your acceptance letter:

1. Can I review the benefits package?

Benefits include everything from retirement and health insurance to stock options and vacation time. Every company has a unique package, so it’s important to prioritize what matters most to you in terms of the benefits offered.

Not all benefits start on your first day. Consider when the benefits will kick in (especially health insurance coverage) when planning your transition. For example, if it’s a month before your health insurance policy starts, you may have to think about budgeting for COBRA coverage until it does.

2. Does the company have a 401(k) plan?

A 401(k) plan is simply one of the best financial investments you can make for your future. It allows you to put tax-deferred funds (money that is deducted from your paycheck before taxes) into a savings account and is only taxed when withdrawn for retirement.

Although it’s a popular retirement option, this may not be the plan your company offers. Understanding different plan options, and what kind of retirement you will be able to have as a result, is necessary for long-term planning.

You should also ask what percentage of your contribution, if any, is matched by the company. Asking this will also help you figure out how much you should be contributing from each paycheck.

3. Does the company have a tuition reimbursement program?

Tuition reimbursement benefits become especially important if you’re planning to continue your education. Keep in mind that the amount of reimbursement may be limited. There may also be eligibility requirements (i.e., you have to work there for a certain amount of time, pursue a degree within a program related to your field or maintain a certain GPA).

Knowing whether you’ll qualify for tuition reimbursement will allow you to plan financially for your future degree.

4. Am I eligible for bonuses? If so, is this offer base compensation only, or does it include bonuses?

Not all companies offer bonuses, and not all employees are bonus-eligible. Make sure you understand what your total compensation package entails. For example, if you receive a base offer, ask if you are eligible for bonuses and what is required to be considered. Are holiday bonuses given? Will you be eligible for one?

Sometimes, it’s about more than just the job – so make sure you’re asking all the right questions when you get the offer. For more career tips, visit accountingprincipals.com.

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Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.

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