Accepting Job Offers

You Have The Offer: What Next?

You sent in the resume, wrote a great cover letter, said all the right things at the interview, and got offered the job! What happens next? For most jobs, it is perfectly fine to ask for a short period of time (a few days, a weekend, 48 hours, or longer if needed) to consider before accepting the opportunity. You should use this time to seriously evaluate the offer and consider the job from a variety of angles.

Immediately After the Offer
  • You do not need to accept the offer on the spot. Though there may be pressure to do so, you don’t want to get wrapped up in the moment and sign up for something that is not right for you.
  • Talk to both those close to you and an objective individual about the opportunity.
Evaluating the Offer
Am I ready for this?

If you’re not at least 99% sure, you may want to more carefully consider the opportunity. Perhaps you have an interview in a few days and you want to see how that goes. Perhaps the job requires a relocation that you are uncertain about. Perhaps you prefer smaller organizations and the job is at a large corporation. Whatever the case, be sure to communicate in a highly professional manner with the organization about your timetable and needs during the decision making process. Do not burn bridges; instead, prove to the organization that you are as invested in making sure this is the right fit as they are. Especially in small industries, you may very well interview with these same people again – keep that in mind! 

Do I have any other jobs “in the works?”

If you have an active job search going, you may not be ready to end it. You may also be able to use the offer as leverage with places you have not yet heard from but sincerely desire to work with. Whatever your decision, it is important to actively communicate with all parties and not make any firm commitments until you have reached a decision that you are 100% confident with.

Can I negotiate?

If the offer is not quite what you imagined, there may be room to negotiate. Negotiation usually involves salary, but can also encompass benefits, responsibilities and/or position title. Should you choose to negotiate, it is important to research typical salaries in your field (can be done through asking others in the field, searching for other positions online that list salaries and/or viewing government data such as that generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Outlook Handbook). And, as with any negotiation, be realistic and carefully consider both what you require and what the organization can feasibly provide. If you would like help in negotiating salary techniques contact Career Services

Ask Questions About the Job

During the evaluation process, it can be helpful to “ask questions of the job” as you consider what your professional life will look like on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

The Work
  • What are my responsibilities?
  • Who would I work with?
  • Is this job a good match for my talents/skills/personality/educational preparation?
  • Who would supervise me? How would I respond to their supervision?
  • Who would I supervise? Would I be able to do this effectively?
  • Where could this job lead in the short term? The long term?
  • Would this job require me to relocate? Do I want to relocate?
  • What skills/abilities will this job help me gain or improve upon?
  • What will I be able to learn from this job?
The Organization
  • Is this the type of organization I want to work for?
  • Do I respect the goals of this organization?
  • Is this organization the right size for my personality?
  • Where does this organization stand relative to others in its field? What is its reputation?
  • Is there room for growth within this organization and do they hire from within?
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Is this salary comparable to others in my geographic region and field?
  • How are the benefits (health, dental, etc.) structured and when do they begin?
  • How much vacation, sick and personal time would I receive?
  • Are there retirement or profit-sharing plans?
  • When is salary reviewed? What are the possibility for salary increase over time?

Evaluating a job offer is an important step in ensuring that you begin employment on positive terms with both your employer and yourself. While it can be tempting to jump right in, companies will typically wait for a short period of time on the decision of their first-choice candidate (you!) before moving on to other candidates. Ask for at least a small window to evaluate this important decision. Work is, after all, something that will occupy at least 35 hours (if not much, much more) of your life each week. Going in, you want to make sure that you have carefully considered your commitment, are generally happy with the compensation and benefits and are able to work in that environment.

(Adapted from Barnard Career Development’s “Evaluating the Job Offer” )

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