Congratulations! It probably feels like such a relief and a long time coming. Receiving a job offer can feel like everything is ready to fall into place. But this isn’t the end of the process – you’re just getting started. Take time to consider this position and the company before committing to this employer. We know you’re eager to start building a successful career, that’s why we encourage you to slow down and take these next steps.
Step 1: Receiving the Phone Call
The company calls and CONGRATS, you have a job offer! What should you do?
While on the phone:
- Express your excitement and gratitude for the offer.
- Ask for a formal offer letter AND benefits package.
- Find out how much time you have to respond.
- Be candid about other offers and timelines – see if the company can accommodate.
Once you’re off the phone and you’ve finished your happy dance:
- Make sure the written offer matches what was verbally discussed.
- Evaluate the job offer.
- Ask questions! If you don’t understand something or are seeking clarity, talk to your company contact. This is your time to ask questions. It’s better to ask now then find out after you’re employed.
- Negotiate the offer if needed.
- Do your research to back this up! Use sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to see average pay for similar roles in a similar location.
- Consider your response if the company says no or comes back with a counteroffer. At what point are you going to walk away?
Step 2: Decide if You’re Going to Accept
Should you accept it? Consider the following when making your decision.
- Total compensation package
Don’t just look at the pay! Evaluate factors such as training and development, relocation assistance, and benefits like PTO, health insurance, and retirement contribution matching. These non-pay benefits can make-up over 1/3 of your total compensation.
- Job description & responsibilities
Look at the job description. What does the role entail? Are tasks routine, cyclical, or different every day? Could you picture yourself in the role?
- Company expectations
What does success look like in this position? How many hours are you expected to work each week? Will you be on-call even when not actively working?
- Company culture & values
What type of company is it, for example, is a start-up environment, nonprofit, or corporation? Do the company’s values match your own?
Is the role in-person, remote, or a hybrid? If in-person, is the commute reasonable? Are there restaurant options nearby? Are you expected to travel? If so, how much?
- Growth Opportunities
What does growth look like in this role? What will you be able to learn? Are there mentorship opportunities?
- Alignment with career goals
What transferable skills would you gain from the role? How do they apply to your longer-term goals?
Think about your experience in the hiring process. Did you like the people you met? This gives you a sense of how you would be treated as an employee.
- Job Security
How long do employees typically stay with the company? Do they have a high turnover rate? How were they impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Employee programs
Does the company offer Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help you build connections? What other employee groups or resources do they offer? How would you be connected with a mentor or other new hires?
When making this decision, keep these three things to keep in mind:
- Look at the whole picture. Salary is only a part of your happiness. If the salary is great but the hours, location, and culture don’t align with you, then it may not be the right fit.
- You need to make the right decision for YOU! Take advice from family and friends but remember this is your career and your life, so you need to make the choice for yourself.
- Trust your instincts. Are you excited about the role? Did you feel good about the hiring process? You know you best.
Step 3: Respond to the Company
Use these tips to accept or decline the job offer. You don’t want to burn bridges or “ghost” the employer if you’re declining. This is your chance to maintain a professional relationship, even if you’re delivering bad news.
How to Accept a Job Offer
- Accept the offer however required (call, electronic signature, email, etc.).
- Ask about next steps – are there any onboarding items or paperwork you need to complete? Remember, the formal recruiting process may be over, but you are still being evaluated by the company. You want to start your relationship with the company on the right foot. Respond to emails and action items timely!
- Withdraw your application from other companies. Don’t ghost those companies – politely let them know you’ve accepted another offer but appreciate their consideration. You never know when your paths might cross again!
- Share your news! Post on LinkedIn and tell your friends.
- Send thank-you notes. Were there specific people who supported your job search? Be sure to show your appreciation!
- Keep in touch with your future employer until your start date.
How to Decline a Job Offer
- The worst thing to do is nothing – don’t just let the offer deadline pass by without response!
- Choose the best method – rule of thumb is to mirror how the company extended the offer. For example, if they called you to extend the offer, call them to decline.
- Send a written decline of the offer thanking the employer and stating a good, brief reason why you are declining, even if you call them.
- Offer feedback if the company asks for it.
- Stay in touch with the company… you never know when you may be seeking a role with them again!
How to Rescind an Offer Acceptance
What if you accepted an offer then, due to some unforeseen circumstance, you must withdraw your acceptance?
First, try to avoid this as much as possible. At this point, the company has committed to you through hiring and onboarding costs, and you’ve committed to them. If it DOES happen:
- Call the company and express your gratitude to them for the offer, while sharing why you must rescind your acceptance (keep it high-level if it’s a very personal reason).
- Follow-up with a written email confirming your withdrawal from the role.
No matter the outcome (accepted or declined), you should be proud of yourself. You made a great impression during the interview process and have the experience to land the position. Remember this is YOUR career and you want to do everything you can to continue along a successful path. Once you’ve started your new job, keep evaluating options and communicating with your manager to find new opportunities for growth. You’ve got this!