Are you overwhelmed and feeling remorseful after two weeks or one month into your new job abroad? Do you find yourself asking the question, “Why did I accept this job anyway?”
You can avoid such a situation altogether by asking questions that will give you a better assessment of whether the job is what you see yourself doing for the long haul. Accepting a job abroad will take you away from what you are used to and the comforts of your present home, so here are some questions you should ask before accepting the job.
1. Put it in writing – be sure that you have a written job offer that covers your job title, compensation, fringe benefits and any other key points you negotiated along with a written job description that outlines both your responsibilities and deliverables. This way you will not only have documentation regarding the commitments the company made when they hired you but also have a document that you can use when discussing your performance with your boss.
2. What does your immediate boss expect from you?
Asking relevant questions about your boss will give you a better picture of the person you will be working with and will be reporting to. Oftentimes, an overbearing superior can de-motivate and demoralize even the most proactive and hard-working employee. In the same way, an overly laid-back superior can have the same effect. Allow your interviewer to describe his/her work style and take note of the answers.
3. How long did the last few people in this position stay, and why did they move on? (For a role you are filling as a replacement.)
People are assets. You should be aware of the reasons why people remain in a company as well as why they leave. What you want to avoid is getting into a job and finding out later on that people leave within the first six months of joining for reasons that you can either manage or avoid in the first place.
4. What do you consider to be the toughest aspect of this role?
You have read the job description, are happy with the salary offered and you have come as far as appearing for a final interview. Before accepting the job offer, it is important for you to set and understand expectations of the job. If your prospective employer abroad knows the toughest parts of the job and considers you to be fit for the role, you should be aware of them too. You don’t want to end up surprised that the biggest challenge for the role is one that you cannot meet.
5. How do you measure the success of the person in this position in the first year?
Depending on whether the company is mature and has a standard performance appraisal in place, you should take note of the key areas you are accountable for before accepting any offer abroad and how your performance is getting measured in the future. Knowing and understanding this will get you more firmly grounded in accomplishing tasks based on clear and specific objectives.
6. What major changes do you anticipate in the next year or so?
Part of conducting due diligence is finding out the company’s history and how you see yourself contributing to its future. Most people enter new jobs abroad without a clue as to the major changes that are lined up—either they are not prepared for expansion or they did not anticipate the busy and aggressive schedules ahead. These new-hires get burned out even before the real action starts.
7. What does your training process look like for new hires?
Training and on-boarding processes vary per company and per position. For smaller start-up companies, the training period is usually on-the-job and forms part of your 90 or 180-day assessment period. For bigger corporations, there usually is a 90-day period in which you are assessed for job-fitness based on the actual pace and the demands of the role. It is important to know whether you are expecting any training program at all before it’s too late!
If you find yourself wondering why you are accepting the job, think again and make a list of why you want to take on the job in the first place. List the good things you wanted about the job and the company and what you think could be problems. The company you are considering joining is not perfect. Neither are you. But change always starts from within. Check your attitude. Be more mindful of your role and how you can help make the improvements you want to see both for yourself and for the company you will be working for.