10 Things You Must Check Before You Sign a Job Contract

Job contractsBeing offered a new job is a strong indication of just how much your job searching, resume writing and interview rehearsing has paid off. But before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to make sure that the details are in order and that nothing negative will come back to affect your satisfaction in the role later on.

1. Role & Responsibilities

Although you may feel entirely familiar with the role on offer, you should make efforts to clarify all details relating to your new position.

This can include:

  • Your position title
  • Your main responsibilities and duties
  • Your additional responsibilities and expectations
  • Exactly who you are reporting to
  • The locations you will work at
  • Your salary and benefits

2. Salary Package

If you were on the ball early on, you should have negotiated a suitable salary for yourself that is on par with the expertise that you will be bringing to the organisation. If your negotiated salary is now higher than the original offer, ensure that this is updated and reflected in the contract. Other details such as base pay, superannuation, bonuses and method and frequency of pay should also be included.

3. Benefits

The same rule above applies to any new benefits that you have negotiated with the employer. If you have agreed on rewards such as additional bonuses, higher super, company vehicles, company equipment or flexible working terms, make sure these are included in the contract. If they are not existent now, the employer may be able to argue later on that these benefits were never offered in the first place.

4. Start Date

Your start date should also be listed in the contract. Make sure the start date gives you ample time to give notice and finish up in your current job. If you are not happy with the start date, negotiate further with the employer; they will most likely respect that you are trying to do the right thing by your current organisation and will be flexible in when you need to start.

5. Probation Periods

If you have been given a probation period, you need to not only review the time period (e.g. 3 months, 6 months), but also ensure that any of the details and terms of the probation are included.

6. Performance Reviews

Your contract should also outline how your performance will be measured in the role and how and when performance and/or salary reviews will take place. Performance reviews are often linked to your salary and bonuses, so make sure that the details of the review process are clear.

7. Notice Period

Your employer will also require you to give sufficient notice if you choose to resign from the company or if they decide to dismiss you. How much notice do you need to give if you resign? How much notice do they need to give if they terminate you? Check your notice period both in relation to your probation period and your permanent employment.

8. Non-Compete Clauses

Some employers will also include non-compete clauses in their contracts. This means that if you leave the company, you are prevented from working for a competitor (or in a competitive capacity) for a certain amount of time.

You should make sure that any non-compete terms are reasonable and that they won’t mean you’ll be out of work for a long time. If you are unsure about whether your non-compete clauses are acceptable, engage the help of a legal professional or at least an experienced career consultant.

9. Confusion

If there is any information contained in the contract that is confusing or unclear, you should seek clarification on these before you sign anything. You can either ask the employer to elaborate on the terms or you can obtain the help of a legal professional or a career consultant. Make sure that you understand exactly what you’re getting into before you sign the contract.

10. Think Ahead

It’s also a great idea before you sign a new contract to think carefully about what lies ahead for your job or career over the coming months and years. Is this really the right position for you? Does it effectively tie in with your career goals and desires?

Hopefully at this stage the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, but if you are unsure, it may be time to revisit your objectives and have a serious think. If you are keen to move ahead, consider how you will handle your job transition and what plans and measures should be in place as you settle into your new job.

Starting a new job? Resumes Australia provides executive coaching services that can help you successfully transition into a new role – or even find a new job. Visit our website to learn more about what we do.


kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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