What Should You Clarify Before Accepting a Job Offer?

Asking the right questions before giving a yes

Catalin Pit
Oct 23 · 3 min read
Mac computer on a desk surrounded by houseplants
Mac computer on a desk surrounded by houseplants
Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash

There are some essential points you should clarify before accepting a job offer. It’s easy to miss them at the moment and take a job offer straight away.

As a result, in this article, I want to talk about some questions you should ask before accepting the offer. I suggest you make a small checklist because you might forget them in the interview.

Thus, the questions you could ask are as follows:

  1. Is the company claiming ownership if I release a side project?
  2. Does the company have a clear progression path?
  3. Does the company offer me a mentor?
  4. Is the company allowing me to contribute to open source projects?

Side Project Ownership

The first question you might want to ask is, “Is the company claiming ownership if I release free/paid side projects?” There are many examples where companies claimed ownership of the employee’s projects. That can happen even if you build the project in your free time and on your equipment.

Therefore, you don’t want to invest your resources and time only to have a company “take” your project away. Moreover, you can even have legal disputes, which is even worse.

As a result, before accepting a job offer, ensure that the company doesn’t claim ownership of your projects.

Clear Progression Path

Another important question is, “Do you have a clear progression path?” It’s essential to know if you can progress in the company and what support is available for you.

The years of experience you have don’t matter too much. The reason is that you can do a job for a long time without getting better at it. You have to try to improve actively.

As a result, your progress can stagnate. That means you do not improve as a developer and a person, and it’s going to be difficult for you to find another job. Believe me; you don’t want that to happen. Thus, ask the company how they support their employees to improve as developers and people.

Open Source Projects

If the opportunity to contribute to an open-source project arises, can you do it? This is another point you want to clarify with your prospective employers.

Contributing to open-source projects is an excellent way of getting out of a rut and improving your programming skills. As long as the projects don’t clash with the company, they should allow you to contribute to open-source projects. And of course, as long as you do them in your free time.

In conclusion, don’t forget to ask your prospective employer if they allow you to contribute to OSS.

Mentoring

Having a mentor is super beneficial for you, especially at the beginning of your career. Being able to go to someone when you’re struggling is very important. However, don’t confuse a mentor with a person that should spoon-feed you.

Mentors should be there to give you pointers and guide you. A mentor is not a person that solves your problems. However, if mentoring is available and done right, it’s beneficial for both people.

And so, make sure the company is offering you mentorship. Proper mentorship helps you develop faster.

Conclusion

The questions from the article are not exhaustive, and you can add more questions. In fact, I would like to hear and discover more questions. You can never be too careful with contracts.

Until then, don’t forget to ask about the:

  1. ownership of your side projects
  2. progression paths
  3. mentorship
  4. contributing to OSS

I hope the article helps you understand what should you clarify before accepting a job offer!

Advice for programmers.

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