You might be feeling happy because you’ve just been offered a new job, or it might be your first time in full time employment. If the position is in your chosen field and matches your target salary, should you just go ahead and accept? Maybe not. Try to read and understand what you are signing up for.
So here are the top things that you should look out for before signing that all important contract.
Job title and role responsibilities
This defines your exact role in the business and notes your responsibilities – what you are and are not expected to do. The wider and more vague the job description is, the more flexibility your boss will have to change the goalposts. Check the details, and remember – if you are applying for a managerial position, having a job title as ‘executive’ might not be what you want.
Place of work
If you agree to work in a large geographical area – multiple locations in the country and abroad – you will be in a very weak position if you decide you do not want to move in the future. If you agreed to work at home for a certain amount of time, your contract should reflect this. Also, if you decide to refuse to move locations that are in your contract, your redundancy payments could be compromised.
Benefits, bonuses and salary
Compare what was in your offer letter to your contract of employment – make sure they reflect each other. Check benefits like pension, health cover, car, share options, commission and bonuses.
Hours of work
Don’t agree to night shifts if you know they aren’t suitable for you. If you feel you might regret it later, it’s best not to agree to it. If you are asked to be flexible or asked to ‘work as many hours as the job entails’, you need to know if it is quantifiable and if it will fit in with your life.
This is basically a non-competitive clause where you cannot join a competing company within a certain period of time of leaving your job. If you think this could inhibit your career options, it might be worth negotiating this part of your contract.
Make sure that your notice period is between one to three months. This safeguards both you and your employer. If it’s unduly short or long, you might want to enquire why.