Are you gearing up for a new job search? If it’s been a little while, you’ll probably start off by dusting off the résumé and updating it with your most recent experience and skills, tayloring it to the new position you’d like to land. But now is also a very important opportunity to brush up on your interviewing skills – not just being prepared to answer possible questions, but also preparing the questions that you want to ask your potential new employer in an interview.
We hear from folks sometimes that they applied for, accepted, and traveled to a new job, only to arrive and find out that some detail of their employment arrangement wasn’t exactly as they expected. Nobody likes surprises in situations like this, so we always encourage job seekers to ask lots of questions during the application process (and bonus points for getting the specifics of your new job in writing in the form of an Employment Agreement!). Here are a few details that we think are especially important to iron out before you accept a job offer:
Scheduling – What will a normal week work look like: 5 x 8 hour days, 7 day work weeks, split shifts? Will you get 2 consecutive days off? Is overtime available? Is there any scheduling flexibility? If making as much money as possible is your preference, then a jam-packed workweek might be right up your alley. If you want time off to explore your new area, then weekly days off may be more of a priority. Ask questions about the the typical schedule during the interview. Make sure you know what you want, that your employer knows what’s important to you, and that you’ve communicated those preferences before you agree to a new opportunity.
Job Duties – Nothing can be more frustrating than an employer asking you to take on responsibilities or complete tasks that you were not prepared to perform. It happens. Sometimes employers need staff to wear a few different hats, especially in the frequently fast-paced world of seasonal hospitality and tourism. If it’s important to you that your job duties be clearly defined, request that a detailed job description be provided after the interview (or anytime prior to accepting a position) ,and retain a copy of it if you do accept a position so that you can reference it with your employer later if issues arise regarding your expected responsibilities.
Room and Board – If your prospective new employer will provide housing, this is a critical area to make sure all of your questions have been answered. How many roommates will you have (if any)? Will you have a private or shared bathroom? Are there cooking facilities, or will meals be provided? What is the cost? Housing and meals are two very important factors that determine your personal comfort, so make sure you have all of your interview questions prepared so the employer can provide the information you need to make an informed decision.
These are just a few areas where we think job seekers should have some questions prepared during the interview process. We hope that you will discover great opportunities and go on to have amazing experiences, and by getting on the same page with your new employer before you set out, you give yourself the best chance possible of having a great seasonal work experience. Ask away!