How to Accept a Job Offer: Tips & Considerations
You did it. You made it through the hiring process and that employer finally made you an offer. Whew, the hard part is over, right? Not exactly. You still have to go through accepting a job offer.
There’s a little more involved in accepting a job offer than simply saying “yes.” Should you accept then and there? Or, does that seem too desperate? Should you negotiate? What if you need more time? Will asking the employer to give you a few days to think it over make you appear uninterested?
Here are some tips on how to accept a job offer.
Receiving a Job Offer
The most common way you’ll receive a formal job offer is via email. Some companies may call you first to verbally give you the good news and to let you know that an official offer will be sent to your email.
Whether you first talk on the phone, or receive the offer in your inbox, show your appreciation for the opportunity and then ask for a couple of days to evaluate the job offer. The employer will most likely expect you to take a day or two to think it over, and they may even ask to hear back from you by a deadline, such as the end of the week.
Evaluating Whether to Accept a Job Offer
Your job offer letter should cover certain terms of your employment, such as salary (including bonus or commission information), benefits eligibility, vacation days offered, starting date, work schedule, your manager’s name, your worker status (full-time, part-time, contract, etc.), and job title.
With all of this information at your disposal, it’s time to start reviewing to ensure the job offer meets all of your needs and expectations.
Salary and Benefits
Starting salary not only affects how much you take home today, but also how much you stand to make in the future since raises often represent a percentage increase. Know the “going rate” in your industry and region for your position. This information can be found on websites such as Glassdoor, PayScale, and Salary.com. If your offer seems lacking, consider negotiating.
Be equally thoughtful about benefits. Consider the maternity or paternity leave, and how that fits into your future plans. What about the retirement options and/or matches?
As noted by Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide: Success Secrets of a Career Coach:
“When you accept a job offer and have not thoroughly reviewed the benefits package, you may be surprised to discover that you pay a higher deductible, the medical plan does not cover your existing doctors, or your vacation time has been slashed. Any or all of these items will offset an increase in salary if you end up paying for medical expenses out of pocket or you lose company-paid time off.”
Before accepting any job, carefully review what was discussed during the interview phase. Was work-life balance or flexibility discussed? Perhaps these topics were touched on, but did you get detailed information about the eligibility for work flexibility?
If anything was verbally agreed upon during the interview, such as saying that you can work from home three days a week, ensure it is included in the written job offer. If nothing was agreed upon, now is the time to negotiate and ask. Here are some questions to think through and present to your potential employer:
- Does the company have a work flexibility policy? If so, what are the ground rules?
- How realistic is it to work flexibly given the expectations of the position?
- Do flexible work benefits apply to those with seniority only?
- How often are staff members in this department able to work remotely or flex their schedule?
- Is flex used only on a temporary basis to accommodate specific needs or can it be used at the employee’s discretion (with management approval)?
- Can we settle on a flexible work arrangement and terms before I begin?
Company Culture and Mission
It’s important to find out as much as you can about the organization’s stated vision for its employee culture, and how effectively it realizes that vision.
One key issue to investigate before accepting an offer is whether the company takes specific steps to foster camaraderie, such as through forums, off-sites, or game rooms where coworkers can connect, communicate, and support each other.
Ask others in your professional network who may be able to offer insight on the company’s culture, or research employee reviews of culture on sites like Salary.com and Glassdoor.com. Asking your interviewers or hiring team about their view of the best parts of the company’s culture is another way to get information that might help inform your decision.
While perhaps not the most exciting thing to think about, it’s worth considering what obstacles the company or organization faces in the current business climate. Is the solution sustainable or recession-proof? On the flip side, what opportunities lie ahead? Will it excite you two or three years from now? Objectively reflecting upon these types of questions could help you decide whether accepting a job offer is a smart long-term plan.
Countering a Job Offer
Maybe you’d like a slightly higher salary. Perhaps you’re looking for a few more vacation days. Or, maybe you want to get your proposed work-from-home days in writing.
Fortunately, most employers expect that candidates will negotiate at least something when presented with a job offer. They key is to ensure that your expectations are reasonable and then approach that exchange as you would any other conversation.
Express your gratitude for the job offer, reiterate your interest in the position, and then mention what you’d like to see changed within that offer:
Thanks again for this opportunity. I’m really excited about the prospect of working for Company XYZ, but I’m hoping we can discuss one aspect of this offer. I see that your policy would provide me with 10 vacation days. I’d really feel better being at 15 given my current situation. Is that something you’re open to negotiating?
Accepting a Job Offer
When you’re ready to formally accept the job offer, review any instructions provided. Most employers will instruct you on how to properly respond.
In some instances, you may need to respond to an email or call the hiring manager first. Or, you may need to sign a PDF or use an eSignature program such as DocuSign.
If you need to respond via email, carefully craft a professional response. Here’s a sample to get you started.
Sample Job Offer Acceptance Letter
Thank you so much for the offer of the marketing manager role at XYX Company! It is with great excitement that I formally accept the position.
As stated, my yearly salary will be $65,500 with four weeks of paid vacation and three days of remote working per week. I look forward to seeing the team on my start date of [insert date]. Please let me know what the next steps are and what further information you need from me.
Thank you again for this offer—I’m very excited to get started and begin working together!
After Accepting a Job Offer
Congratulations! Both parties are in agreement, and you’ve signed on the dotted line. Now’s the time to finalize a few things before starting your new role.
Start with giving your current employer adequate notice. Two weeks’ notice is most common but depending on your relationship with the company or your job level, providing more notice isn’t uncommon. Quitting your job will involve setting a meeting with your manager to let them know of your new role and when your final workday will be. After that initial meeting, you’ll want to draft an official resignation letter that you’ll email to your manager and HR department.
You’ll also want to talk to your new employer about anything you need to do before your first day. Things like filling out onboarding paperwork, going over training materials, and providing direct deposit information for payday may need to be completed prior to starting your new job.
Remember: just because you’ve been offered a job doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Your goal in a job search should not just be to receive a job offer, but to identify and select the best possible fit for your long-term career goals. Use the powerful time before you decide about a job offer to learn whatever you can about the company and position, so that you can make a wise choice.
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Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
This is a version of an article that was originally published on December 30, 2017.
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