So. You’ve gone through all the steps in applying for a job, probably multiple times, for multiple different jobs. (So. Many. Interviews.) And now, you’re sitting across from that terrifying hiring manager, or you just checked your email, and you find out you’ve been offered the position. You got the job offer. That hiring manager could now be your co-worker. What now?
Take a Moment
I know it can be exciting to jump to accepting the offer the second you hear about it, but the most important thing to do after receiving a job offer is take a moment to calm down and evaluate the position you’re in. They’ve likely shown you a contract, set a base salary, maybe explained any benefits you have, and discussed your hours—that’s a lot to take in and decide about all at once.
Any good hiring manager will understand if you ask to take a day to look over the offer. Really, they want you to be fully informed when you take the job, because that means you’ll be able to do your job better. So, thank them for the job offer, and tell them (politely) that you’d like the night to consider it and that you’ll get back to them tomorrow.
Read your Contract
Now that you’ve calmed down, you can really go through that contract with a fine-toothed comb. Read the entirety of the offer, read it again. Make sure you understand everything that they’ve laid out. Look at Glassdoor and make sure they’ve offered you an appropriate base salary (even if they do, you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate for something higher, but more on that later). Make a list of anything you’d be interested in changing or don’t understand.
Consider the other jobs you’ve applied to—is there one you’re still hoping to hear back from? This can be a really hard position to be in if so, but it comes down to the level of need you’re under. If you’re really torn, you can certainly ask the offer-giver for some extra time to consider your options, but I wouldn’t go longer than a week without coming to a decision.
Negotiating and Accepting an Offer
If you’ve read through your contract and found things you’d like to change, the best thing is to set up another meeting with the hiring manager and bring these requests to them in person. Do your research ahead of time (we recommend Glassdoor or Payscale). Is their offered salary lower than industry standards, are you overqualified, do you have another offer that’s higher? Highlight reasons you’re a better pick than other candidates, including ideas you already have to make the company better through your position. Come with a number in mind. If after all this, they say the pay isn’t flexible. Decide if it’s worth it for you, if it is, ask the hiring manager if you can set up a three or six month performance review to revisit the salary topic.
Quick reminder, for your consideration: According to Career Builder, 73% of employers expect candidates to negotiate during the hiring process, 55% of workers don’t ask, 48%of men said they would attempt salary negotiations with an employer versus 42% of women (though that’s higher than I’ve heard in the past). And, according to a study by Jobvite 84% of those who negotiated ended up receiving higher salaries.
Go through any other points you have negotiations on or questions about, but these will likely be less stressful to deal with than negotiating salary. Do them first if you think you need the warm up, do them second if you need a definite good note to end on.
Once you’re done with those, or if you don’t have any other questions, you can tell your now-employer that you’d like to accept their offer. This often means signing some contracts, signing a W2, and setting up your company email or payment method. All exciting things!
Rejecting the Offer
If you’ve decided, after careful consideration, that you’re not interested in taking the position all you have to do is respectfully turn it down. Since we know how important connections and networking are, we’re not going to ghost the company—you never know where that hiring manager might show up again, or who they’re talking to. Just write a clear, concise email explaining that you appreciate the offer, but that you’ve chosen to go a different way. You don’t have to (nor should you) explain all the reasons you’re not taking the position, just that you won’t be.
Most Important Part of a Job Offer
Though every hiring process will be slightly different, the most important thing to remember as you go through it is to remain calm and respectful. Even if the hiring manager is an ass, even if you find out 10 minutes into the interview that you hate the company, even if they give you an offer way below what you know you deserve. Take time to evaluate the situation and come back with a collected response.