After a few false starts, you landed an interview and – gasp – they’re actually offering you the job!
Congratulations! So what now? Surely accepting a job offer is just a case of saying ‘yes please!’ isn’t it?
Well, not quite. There’s a touch more to it than that – certain etiquettes to follow and details to check before you sign on the dotted line.
1 – Receiving the offer
Don’t rush. The offer will usually be made over the phone, but don’t feel like you must accept then and there.
Thank them, and ask them to confirm in writing. At this point, you can also ask how much time you have to consider the offer.
In an ideal world you will have already thoroughly researched the company prior to your interview – you’ll know all about their ethos, their staff turnover, their benefits.
But we’re in the real world here and the truth is, you’ve probably filled in multiple applications and attended more than one interview in different sectors.
You might need to refresh your memory and seriously consider if this really is the best fit for you.
You shouldn’t be shy about asking questions. Any reasonable employer will be completely understanding that you need a moment to consider exactly what is being offered.
2 – Negotiation
Accepting a job offer is much more than a case of saying yes or no. Look at it as a whole package – not just the salary.
For example, it makes no sense to accept a job that is a nightmare commute away just because it pays slightly more than a job round the corner.
You’ll end up spending any difference in salary on travel.
And think about how much you value your time. Can you really envisage a three hour round trip every day? Some people are fine with that – for others it’s a deal-breaker.
Once you have considered everything on the table, you’ll need to take a deep breath and brace yourself for negotiations. But this isn’t as terrifying a prospect as you might think.
Unless they have made it clear upfront that the package is non-negotiable, employers expect people to haggle a bit. In all likelihood, there will be some degree of wiggle room.
Make sure you have done your research on comparable positions within the industry.
If you can’t negotiate on salary, there might be other benefits that might compensate, such as private healthcare, generous annual leave entitlement, subsidised travel, flexible working, gym membership, or free food.
Make it easy for them to get the sign off on the salary you are asking for. Make it clear why you feel your skills and experience are worthy of the level of pay you are requesting.
3 – Accepting the offer
Once you have decided that you do want the job and the compensation package is agreeable to you, then you need to go about officially accepting the offer.
This will usually be by email and you will want to use this opportunity to confirm the details of the offer, especially if you have been through negotiations.
Of course, you might also find that you need to decline the job offer. Even if you are desperate for a job, it might be that you just can’t make it work and have to decline. In this case, having a backup is crucial. If you’re looking for an exciting entry-level job in tech, check out our jobs board!
Remember to be polite and honest about why you don’t want the job. And by the way, a salary and benefits package that falls short of what you could accept is a perfectly legitimate reason.
Be careful not to burn bridges, though. Even if you are quite certain that you would never apply to this particular company again, people do move jobs and you never know when you might cross paths. You don’t want them to remember you for the wrong reasons.
If you decide to take the job, don’t forget to give your current employer written notice.
You should include the details of your position, how much notice you are giving, and when your last day will be. You can find all of the information in your contract.
Make sure you are professional and polite. Even if you secretly detest them, thank them for the opportunity and wish them well. See above about not burning bridges. You just never know.
And now you’re ready. Good luck!