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Do You Need to Accept a Job Offer Right Away?

Job Offer
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They made you a job offer! Awesome! But do you have to accept immediately? And what happens if you don’t?

You’ve been lucky enough to be extended a job offer. Maybe you’re still deciding on if the position is right, or maybe you’re waiting to hear back from another opportunity you might prefer. Should you accept the offer anyway and see what happens?

These are conundrums that some might feel are “lucky” to have to deal with, but they’re real.

First: Do a Little Celebrating

You got an offer! They like you! They really like you! Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for a minute. You’re awesome! You’ve likely gone through so many hurdles and tests to reach this point, and you’ve come out on top. That’s definitely something to be proud of.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Next: Give Yourself Time to Think, Politely

You’re on the phone or exchanging emails with the HR manager who’s giving you the offer. You need to get some details from them, including the yearly or hourly rate they’re offering, the benefits (if any), and any details like when they’d need you to start, any certifications or tests you’d need to complete before you start, any equipment you’d need to arrange, etc. Once you have all the details, ask when they’d need you to give them your answer.

Let them know you’ll need a little time to consider the offer. This buys you some time to step back and digest, maybe crunch the numbers a bit to see if it’s a good deal or not. Two or three days are likely all you can reasonably request, so you’ll need to act fast, and with respect to all parties involved.

“Stay true to your deadline, or risk the offer being withdrawn,” Taylor a workplace expert, HR professional and consultant on achieving career success, notes.

If you’re offered a job, above all, don’t go silent while you mull whether or not you want it. A non-response on your part might send a message that you’re flat out not interested!

If you're offered a job, above all, don't go silent while you mull whether or not you want it. A non-response on your part might send a message that you're flat out not interested!Click To Tweet

“The worst thing you can possibly do is not reply while you mull things over,” writes Betsy Mikel at Inc. Magazine. “You don’t want to come off as unenthusiastic or lackadaisical about the position. Another no-no? Telling them you’re lukewarm on the job, offer or company. That could make the offer suddenly disappear.”

Then: Crunch the Numbers

If you don’t already know what you should be paid for your role and experience level, it’s easy to do some fast research using our PayScale Salary Survey. You can research exactly what someone in your city, with your years of experience is usually paid for a certain type of work, even if it’s a promotion from where you currently sit.

If the money is a huge bump up, assess why they’re offering so much money. Is it because you’re getting paid what you deserve and you’ve been underpaid up till now? Or is the job something that is so hazardous and likely to burn you out that the company has to up the rate to just entice someone…anyone…to come work for them? What are you willing to risk for the paycheck?

Finally: Give Your Answer…By The Deadline

After you’ve done your homework, and you’re satisfied with your decision, respond professionally to either accept or decline the offer.

If you decline, don’t burn bridges by ghosting or coming off as flip with any decision you make. This is conceivably the first (or last) time they’re going to deal with you as an employee, so make it an adult interaction. Burning bridges is never a good idea.

If it’s a go, be clear in your response that you accept their offer of $X salary as laid out in their offer, and your start date will be on Y date. Have it in writing and save these interactions so that in case anything gets muddled; HR directors can leave jobs, too! This way, you’ll have a clear chain to show what and when you’re due. Have contact information for your future boss, first day details, where you should go, and any prep work that’s needed so you show up with all your paperwork ready to go.

Congratulations! You either got yourself a new job, or made a decision to hold out for something better!


What’s your best job offer story? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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