Are you getting ready to accept your dream job? Maybe you’re in the interview stage or there’s an offer letter on the table. Either way, you should have a checklist before accepting a job offer.
What are the best questions to ask about a new job? It depends on what employee benefits and perks you’re looking for. It’s important to note that your compensation package is more than just your salary. And while your base salary may be non-negotiable, other benefits may be more flexible.
Many people struggle with how and when to ask about benefits during an interview. This article will explore some specific questions to ask an employer about the benefits available to you. After all, whether they’re related to your health, your family, or your future, your benefits can make a crucial difference in your life.
1. Is there an insurance waiting period?
Sometimes when you start a new job, there’s a waiting period before you’re eligible for certain benefits. Ask your potential employer if there’s a waiting period between your start date and when insurance kicks in. This way, you can make a backup plan for health coverage during the interim.
2. Is the health insurance plan an HMO or PPO?
There are two main types of health insurance plans: Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). It’s important to note which one the company’s health insurance falls under.
HMOs restrict patient care to healthcare providers within a medical network and require a referral for a specialist. They tend to have lower premiums and deductibles.
Meanwhile, PPOs give patients the freedom to choose any healthcare providers they’d like to see. With a PPO, patients don’t need a referral to see specialists. However, this freedom comes with higher premiums and deductibles — and potentially increased expenses if you see an out-of-network provider.
3. What are the yearly deductibles and premiums?
What will your employer pay and what will you pay when it comes to your insurance? If they offer different levels of coverage, learn how the deductibles and premiums vary. Ask whether the amount depends on if the care is for you or a dependent.
4. Will the insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
If you, your partner, or your dependents have a pre-existing condition, you’ll want to know if medical expenses are covered. Pre-existing conditions can affect the cost of prescription medication, treatments, and medical procedures.
5. Can my family get insurance coverage?
If you have a significant other or any dependents without coverage, you’ll want to ask if you can put them on your insurance policies. Independent insurance plans can be expensive, so a benefits package that accounts for your loved ones is often advantageous.
6. Do you offer vision and/or dental insurance plans?
Be sure to ask about dental and vision coverage. Do they offer vision or dental? What are the premiums? And will the policies cover your family?
7. Do you pay for disability or paid family leave?
Only some states require companies to pay for disability insurance or family leave. If your state doesn’t, ask your company if they provide any coverage. Disability insurance and family leave can make a crucial difference when life takes an unpredictable turn.
8. What is the life insurance policy?
Life insurance may be hard to talk about, but it’s important to have to protect your loved ones. While many companies offer life insurance policies, the total death benefit and other details vary. Ask what the maximum payouts are, how long the protection extends, and if they cover financial, legal, or emotional support for your family.
9. Do you offer other insurance types?
There are many different types of insurance. Ask the employer about any supplemental insurance policies they may offer. Do they offer legal insurance to give you access to a network of attorneys? Or pet insurance to care for the furry members of your family? What about hospital indemnity, cancer, or critical illness insurance?
10. What is included in your retirement program?
Ask what, if any, type of retirement program the company offers. They may have a 401K program or a pension plan. Either way, learn how it works, when you’re eligible for it, and how it can support your future.
11. Do you offer a 401K match?
Some companies match up to a certain percentage of employees’ contributions. If the company has a match program, it’s important to understand the stipulations and start investing, at least up to the matched percent. It’s basically free money for your future.
12. Do you offer any gym or fitness reimbursements?
Whether you’re a gym enthusiast or looking to start working out, ask the company if they provide a fitness stipend. Many companies want to encourage their employees to find physical activities that keep them energized and fulfilled.
13. Do you offer tuition reimbursement?
If you’re considering going back to school or have children nearing college age, this is an important question. Does the company provide any tuition reimbursement for you or your dependents? Some companies will support employees earning their Master’s Degree if they go part-time. Others will put money toward your children's education. Either way, ask about career development opportunities.
14. Do you offer employee stock options?
If the company is privately owned, it may offer stock options to employees. Ask whether they provide or sell stock to employees. If they give stock as part of your benefits, that’s great! But if they offer to sell you stock, be sure to look at the growth trends before purchasing any.
15. What are your sick time and PTO policies?
Many companies offer limited or no sick time. Others separate PTO and sick time. Ask how many days you get of each and how much notice you need to give to use either policy. If you don’t use them all, do they roll over into the next year?
16. How long do I have to consider the job offer?
You may be wondering how to ask for time to consider a job offer. After all, you’ll need to process all the information you’ve been given and consider the entire benefits package. Just be straightforward with the hiring manager. Tell them you’d like to take some time and ask them what’s realistic — when would they like to know your decision by?
A bonus question for yourself: What matters most to you?
While you may not ask a potential employer every question on this list, they’re all good things to keep in mind. Often, the questions to ask when offered a job can be answered by an offer letter or the package sent alongside it. However, you should decide what matters the most to you. Is disability or life insurance a non-negotiable? Do you need family insurance coverage?
Ask the right questions about the benefits you need, and get the answers in writing. Remember, benefits are an important part of your compensation package, and they can often be negotiated.