Make Me an Offer: Job Offers, How to Accept and Reject

At long last! You’ve received the coveted job offer. All your long hours of filling out applications and rewording resumes has paid off. You heartily accept, start the next week only to realize… “wait… you’re paying me how much? That not what I was expecting…”

While it can be easy to grandly shout “Yes! A thousand times… yes!” once you finally get a job offer, it might be wise to take a moment to review your options and make sure it’s the right fit.

Ask for a Written Job Offer

This is a big one and a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. I was eager to get away from a job I was working and so quickly accepted a job offer that seemed like a good deal. It turns out that good deal as spoken over the phone was different than the real deal when I realized my paycheck wasn’t quite adding up the way I thought it should. In fact, I had turned down a different opportunity for that job, and so to say I felt a bit disappointed is an understatement.

Asking for a “formal” or written job offer can help you avoid that situation, and help you get an idea of the exact position they are offering you. You don’t want to jump into a job only to find out that they start all new employees with the graveyard shift. Also, a written offer can help you clarify statements like “you have the potential to make $XX,XXX per year!”, and help you know exactly what you’re paid and how you’re paid.

Ask About Timelines

Don’t be afraid to ask the employer how much time you have to think this offer over. This, though it can feel scary, can do a couple of things for you:

1) It literally gives you more time to think about it, even if it’s just a day. This way you get past the excitement of the job offer and can make a clear-headed decision.

2) This could also give you some negotiation room, particularly if you have other opportunities in the works. Say something like “Do you have an idea of when you need an answer? I have some other opportunities available to me at this time and I’d like to take this evening to review your job offer”. You instantly just became both more valuable and thoughtful in the eyes of this employer.

Be Reasonable and Respectful

If you’re truly looking for any job, as in, you desperately need work and don’t care if it’s minimum wage or “as seen on Dirty Jobs w/ Mike Rowe”, don’t expect a fancy job offer or a big negotiation conversation. The local fast food joint likely doesn’t care if you have “other opportunities” and just needs to know if you’re going to show up or not.

On the other hand, be sure to be respectful to an employer who makes a job offer and you’re deciding not to go with them. Be sure to call them back and respectfully decline (by the way, this could be another negotiating opportunity). While it might not seem like a big deal to just blow them off, you’d be surprised how word can spread between employers/recruiters. Not only that, but it’s nice to keep yourself in the good graces of an employer who was willing to hire you. You never know, in a few months or years, you may need to reach out to them for a job, and it's better to be remembered as the person who gracefully declined than the person who left a voicemail shouting "DEUCES".

If you need help accepting job offers, or perhaps need guidance on how to get job offers, click here to schedule a 1 on 1 career guidance session with me so that you can stop job searching and start working.