What to ask your employer before accepting a job
When looking for work, it can be tempting to accept a job offer straight away. However, try not to get ahead of yourself! You may want to clarify a few things with your employer before agreeing to take on a job.
To help you out, we’ve outlined some questions that we recommend you ask employers before accepting a new job. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you can avoid any nasty surprises when you eventually start your job – or even avoid a job completely if it turns out to not be as you expected.
What is the nature of the work?
Some job postings can be vague in describing the nature of the job. So it’s always worth double checking with your employer what exactly you’ll be expected to do, as well as who you will be working alongside.
For example, an employer may have failed to mention the fact that a job requires a construction labourer with experience in housing extensions. If this is something you haven’t done before, then you may not be the best person for the job. By asking this question before accepting the job, you avoid any hiccups further down the line and you can ensure that you are only taking on work that you have the necessary skills for.
You don’t want to turn up on your first day only to find out that you’re required to do something far beyond your capabilities. You might also be required to have specific qualifications such as a CSCS card
How long is a day?
All jobs on Grafter are listed with daily rates and a set number of days that the job will run for. However, the number of hours that is considered as a “day” varies between jobs. For some jobs, a day is as little as one hour’s work, but for others it can be as long as 10 hours+.
So make sure that you verify how many hours you’ll be expected to work per day - as this could change your view on how “good” the advertised daily wage is. For example, £90 a day for six hours work is obviously more appealing than £90 for ten hours work. There may also be cases where longer days are made up for with shorter days elsewhere.
How many other people are working on the job?
Find out how many fellow grafters will be working alongside you. The size of the workforce can make a huge difference to how a job is carried out and can impact the pressure a team may be put under to complete a job before the deadline. Depending on your skill level, you may wish to avoid taking on a large scale job if, for example, you find out that you’re only one of three workers who have been hired for the job.
What about the rates of pay?
The rate of pay is specified within the job details. If you feel this is not enough you can tell the employer and they might increase the rate available. It does risk that you will miss out on the job to another grafter but better to be happy about the job than not, particularly if it is long term.
Having to work overtime is common. Your employer may want to keep you on site for a few extra hours to ensure that a job is completed, especially if you are working to a strict schedule. While this may sound unappealing it could be a nice additional earner. It is a good idea to ask whether you‘ll be given any additional payment if required to work beyond your stated working hours.
What expenses (if any) are covered?
If not already advertised, it is worth asking whether your employer offers to cover any expenses – whether this be by paying for your travel or offering lunch on site. For some workers, paying for their own travel may not be an issue, but this is not the case for everyone.
Whilst you should only make yourself available for work within an area you are prepared to travel, this could pose a problem if you find yourself spending a large part of your daily rate on travelling to and from work each day.
What if you finish the job earlier than expected?
Sometimes, you may find that you are able to finish a job earlier than expected – whether this be a few hours early for a simple day job, or a week early for a task stretching over several months. Therefore, it is worth asking what course of action is usually taken in this situation. Are you paid for the full duration of the task as stated in the job listing, or are you paid solely for the amount of time you have worked?
Some employers may offer to pay for the full duration of the task, as this is a motivating factor for employees to complete a job in advance of a deadline. However, others may choose to simply pay you on the basis of how many days you’ve worked – regardless of the stated duration of the job. As always, it’s better to clear up details like this in advance, whether you take the job or not.
Is any specific equipment or clothing required?
If you turn up for a job on a building site without boots, hardhat or PPE you might not be allowed on site. This sort of issue can be easily avoided through some simple communication before the job starts. So make sure to ask whether you are required to have any specific equipment to complete the job at hand.
It is not just in construction jobs where having the right clothing is important. If you have a job at an event such as helping run a pop-up bar you might need to dress appropriately – for example, some bar jobs may require you to wear a plain black t shirt. Check with the employer as they might overlook telling you about this important element of the job.
Location, location, location
You have the postcode and the address, but it is still worth finding out if there is anything unusual about accessing your worksite. For example, it might only be accessible via a certain gate, or there might be security that you will need to check in with. While employers should really inform you with this information, unfortunately this is not always the case. As always, there is no harm in simply asking.
At Grafter, we maintain that employees have the right to ask any questions they want about a job to their employer. By using Grafter, you are notified directly of local work opportunities and can easily discuss the details of a job before accepting an offer. If you’re looking for your next job, join the Grafter network today.