What to Do Once You Receive a Job Offer

So you’ve spent hours perusing job listing sites, filled out countless online applications, researched your relevant salary and career options, received an initial interview, callback and maybe even additional follow up only to finally get the email, letter or call with the job offer of your dreams. Congratulations!  

While it’s certainly a reason to celebrate, receiving a job offer is also an opportunity to take a few steps to set yourself up for long term success in your new position.  Before you give a verbal acceptance, sign on the dotted line or otherwise commit yourself to a job offer, there’s a few things you should pause and consider.

Make Sure Its Official

We’ve all played that game of telephone when we were children.  What starts out as a simple request to “pass the ketchup” often ends up garbled into some ill-conceived instruction to “put the cat up on top of the fridge.”  While you potential new employer may have the best intentions in mind, details of your job offer can often be miscommunicated.  Before formally accepting, be sure to get a look at that offer letter which should include your job description, working hours, title, salary and other details relevant to your new position.

Take Your Time

Even in the best of scenarios, accepting a new job can be a daunting proposition.  From commute to salary to long-term career prospects, there will always be numerous factors that weigh in on your final decision to accept new employment.  If you’ve been interviewing for multiple positions, you also may need to consider your current offer against others you’ve received, or give other companies time to get back to you with their prospective employment.  Be wary of any company that isn’t willing to give you several days to think it over and be sure to follow up promptly with your reply to avoid leaving anyone on the hook longer than necessary.

Get the Low Down Before You Accept

While the interview process is great for giving you basic information on your company and position, there is only so much information that can be conveyed throughout the abbreviated process.  Questions on specifics are bound to linger and you should feel free to ask those prior to accepting a job offer.  Items such as seating arrangements, reimbursements for commuting expenses and overtime policies will all have an impact on your daily work-life.  Be sure to thoroughly understand these types of important details before accepting the new gig.

Be a Job/Company Know it All

In addition to asking your employer vital questions, the period after you’ve received an offer is the perfect opportunity to do additional research on your new company and position.  Items such as company culture and reputation will be important in both helping you decide to accept your offer and in making your transition to the new job as seamless as possible.  You should also use the transition period to brush up on any necessary skills or certifications that may be useful in making a great impression in your new role right out of the gate.

Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate

While your excitement over the prospects of starting a new job may make you in a hurry to accept that offer as-is, be aware that there may be some wiggle room in the salary or other details.  Often times companies have a preferred range for new positions and will make an initial offer somewhere in the middle of those numbers.  If you were looking for a little bigger salary bump there may be room to ask for a slightly higher initial payment or guaranteed salary raises after a set period of time.

When deciding whether to negotiate you should keep in mind your new employer’s entire benefits package.  Items such as retirement, health care premiums and paid vacation all add value.  While this individual policies are often decided at a company-wise level, you may be able to use them to make a case for a larger salary or bonus structure.

The bottom line when it comes to job offers is to remember starting a new position is a big life decision that deserves an deliberate and considered response.  Take the time to flush out the details and consider all the facts now and help set the foundation for long term career success in your new position for years down the road.

Updated from the original on July 31, 2017