10 Answers People Want Before Saying Yes to a Job

by Jennifer Miller on October 16, 2012

in Human Resources, Leadership, Workplace Issues

Image of leters Q&A in dialog bubblesThe last time you hired* an employee, did you realize you both signed a contract?

You say, wait, what? My company is an at will employer. We don’t do employment contracts.

That may be true, but there’s this thing called a “psychological contract”, which is a “set of beliefs about what each party is entitled to receive and obligated to give, in exchange for another party’s contributions” in a work setting (Morrison and Robinson, 1997). That “contract” is rarely discussed openly during the interview process. If you hire the candidate and either party believes their part of the bargain isn’t being honored, frustration shows up. And frustrated managers and/or employees leads to lowered productivity.

The Link Between Job Satisfaction and Productivity

During the job interview process, a lot of attention is placed on the “what’s” of the job being filled – what the employee will do on a day-to-day basis. Much of this information is contained in a job description, which is translated into interview questions designed to gauge a candidate’s “fit” to the job.

But that’s just the beginning to knowing whether you’re hiring someone who will be satisfied and therefore productive. In addition to expectations set forth in a job description, all prospective employees have additional expectations. Research shows there is a direct positive link between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and a company’s financial performance.

Satisfied employees = improved company performance.

Improved company performance = everybody wins.

10 Questions Employees Have About Working for You

In addition knowing the answer to “what will I be doing all day long?” prospective employees also want answers to questions they have about the perceived psychological contract that is being proposed. If you hire them, then they’ll be checking in every so often to see if what you said in the interview matches with their expectations.

1. Will I be able to express my values, identity and creativity though my work?

2. To what degree will my work be clearly defined?

3. Is diversity of thoughts, values and opinions respected?

4. Will my work environment recognize and reward me?

5. How autonomous will I get to be?

6. Will my physical and social environment be comfortable and welcoming?

7. Is this a collaborative work environment?

8. How stable is my work environment and the type of work I’ll be doing?

9. To what degree is work-life balance supported?

10. Are there opportunities for career growth?

Savvy Hiring Managers Answer the Unasked Questions Too

When you’re considering bringing another person onto your team, be sure that you anticipate the the job candidate’s unspoken questions. Doing so will give a more complete picture of what it’s like to work with you and for your company. It’ll also help you start shaping expectations, even before the candidate’s first day on the job and that will help both of you get off to a strong, positive start.



*This goes for hiring internal candidates as well.


Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Disclosure: some of the information above is drawn from the Work Expectations Profile™, an assessment I use in my consulting practice. The profile copyright is owned by Inscape Publishing, Inc. Want to learn more about how you can use this tool? Click to download a free sample of a Work Expectations Report.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

karin hurt October 16, 2012 at 9:21 am

A very good list. I will share this.

Jennifer Miller October 16, 2012 at 9:51 am


Glad you found this useful!

Linda October 16, 2012 at 10:06 am

Excellent information…articulates issues of concern / interest when pursuing career opportunities. Thanks!

Jennifer Miller October 16, 2012 at 10:22 am


You’re right. Even though this was written from the viewpoint of a hiring manager, this information can easily be tweaked to help a job seeker.

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