10 Questions You Should Ask Your Employers Before Signing The Employment Contract

You may be ecstatic upon seeing your new job contract. At last, you are just one step away from that job you have been aiming for. But before you sign on that dotted line, there are some important things that you have to consider (and possibly ask about) for your own protection and peace of mind. The job contract is a legal document, and there may be several things that you cannot easily decipher yourself. Here are some questions that you should ask your soon-to-be employer prior to finalizing your job agreement.

1. What are the employer’s expectations?

Have your job description clearly spelled out. Make sure that you understand every detail of your work, its nature, workflow, and outputs. What is the main goal of the unit in which you will be assigned? What will be your role in achieving this goal? To whom will you directly report? Will you serve a whole team? If there are statements in your job description that are vague or arbitrary, it’s important to clarify them immediately.

2. Are the benefits guaranteed? Do they change? If so, under what circumstances or whose terms?

It may have already been mentioned in the contract but it pays to ask questions about benefits. Do they come and go? Is there a standard structure that the company uses for this? Are these criteria susceptible to changes in the performance of the company or the market or perhaps influences from top management? If the company provides bonuses, what is the standard procedure for this? Is it performance-based or a company-wide incentive system?

3. What does the company use to conduct performance assessments?

Are performance assessments standardized? Does the company encourage self-evaluation? Does your peer have a say in your performance assessment? Inquire about the company’s materials for appraisal. It is very important that you ask what will be the implications if you get a low score. How often are appraisals conducted and how does the company use the results?

4. How about allowances and reimbursements?

If your work requires you to travel or go on field work, make sure to inquire about allowances and disbursements. What are the company rules and procedures on these matters?

5. How does the company compensate for overtime work?

Ask if your position is allowed for overtime work. If so, ask about the structure of overtime pay. The norm is time-and-a-half for any hours worked over 40 hours. However, companies do have different overtime standards for different types of employees. For instance, Boeing offers its line workers time-and-a-half for overtime worked on the weekdays and double-time for overtime worked on the weekends. However, most of its engineers get less than time-and-a-half for any overtime worked.

6. Does the company prohibit you to do part-time work on the side?

Having more than one job is common these days. If you plan to get another job, you probably need to ask if the company allows it. If this matters a lot to you, you can even negotiate with them to allow you and have this clause included in the contract.

7. What are the grounds for termination?

You may be protected by a job contract but be careful about certain clauses that relate to termination. It is important that termination be done with a just cause and not some random or trivial reasons. Ask the employer to cite examples of termination cases the company has experienced in the past, if any, and if they are at liberty to.

8. Is there a non-compete clause?

Make sure to ask what the agreement says about working for a competitor after you have been separated from the company. If there is a non-compete clause, make sure that the employer expounds on this. Are the terms reasonably bounded in time and location? It may be very disagreeable if it restricts you to work for a certain competitor regardless of its location. Also, how about doing a business with people you used to work with when your contract was still in effect? Does the agreement say something about this?

9. Is the position a bargaining unit position?

Are employees of the company represented by the union? More specifically, is your position represented by the union? Unions are extremely important if you want stability in a job. Unions make it quite hard for an employee to get laid off or fired. This is especially true if you are represented by a strong union.

10. In case the company gets sold to another in the future, what happens to the job contract?

You have to ensure that even with a merger or any such kind of major change that will take place in the future, your job is secured and your contract will remain in force. If not, what measures will the company implement? Will you be compensated? If this is not clearly stated in the contract, dig deeper and ask the employer to clearly specify it in the document.

It is your job to ensure that you have read carefully and understood every detail of a job contract before you sign up. Mind about the language used by the employer. Does the contract have a clause that is unclear? Do you suspect that even with a contract, the job is an at-will one, which means that it could be terminated anytime? If you have difficulty or you need to scrutinize further your job contract before signing, it is recommended that you get a lawyer to review it for you and make sure that you understand the terms of the contract, your rights, and your legal obligations. Just remember that once you have signed the contract, you are legally obligated, could no longer negotiate, and can be sued once you fail to do your end.

In addition to the points discussed in this article, you may have other questions that you want to ask. It is important that you have listed them down so you don’t miss out anything. The company would certainly welcome all your queries and who knows, they can even give in to your demands. Just be careful and tactful all throughout your conversation. Ensure that in every aspect of inquiry, you are not just trying to protect yourself but you are keeping in mind the interest of your future employer.

Felix Tarcomnicu has been blogging about jobs and employers for the last 5 years. If you are looking to write a professional CV, you can check the resume templates he wrote for ResumeOK.com. You can also find similar article on his blog.

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Employers Before Signing The Employment Contract by

About ngcareers

Ngcareers is Nigeria's top jobs and careers community for working professionals and jobseekers to find interesting opportunities, discover and share insights based on their career interests. Click Here to Join. You can Connect with Ngcareers on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook or Linkedin

2 Comments

  1. Mahendra says:

    I have joined the company working for past 4 days. But I did not sign the bond and now I want to quit will there be any kind of problems under law

Leave a Comment