Accept or Decline Your Offer

Day 29 of 30 Days to Your Dream Job

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After writing your resume, holding informational interviews, applying for jobs, writing cover letters, and preparing for interviews, you received a job offer. Congratulations!

Unfortunately, your job search is not over quite yet. Today, we will review the steps you should take when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, and how to tell the employer.

Take Some Time to Think It Over

There is no need to make a decision right away. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for some time to consider the job offer and weigh the pros and cons. Below are a number of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to take a job:

  • Can you see yourself happily working at this organization? Think carefully about the company culture. Is this an office environment in which you want to work? If you need flexibility with your hours, does this company offer that? Along with flexibility, think carefully about travel time. If this job requires a lot of travel or a long commute, make sure you are willing to put in that travel time.
  • How do you feel about your employer’s management style? If you noticed any red flags about your employer during your interview, be cautious about accepting the job offer. Think carefully about the type of people you like to work for, and whether you can see yourself happily working for this person long term.
  • Is there an opportunity for advancement? If you have long-term career goals, see if these can be fulfilled at this company. Get a sense of how many people are promoted from within. Check to see if the company has a history of retaining its employees long term. If employees are constantly leaving or being fired, and you are looking for a long-term position, you might not want to take the job.
  • Will you be happy with the compensation package? Make sure you are getting paid what you’re worth, and that you can pay your bills and other expenses on that salary. Look at the rest of the compensation package, including health benefits, life insurance, vacation, sick time, and various perks. If you are not happy with the package, see if the employer is willing to negotiate.
  • Is there a better offer? You might also find yourself considering multiple job offers. Look through this list of questions and think about the pros and cons of each job to help make your decision.

If any of these questions remain unanswered, now is the time to ask the employer. If you have questions about the company culture, ask if you can visit the office again, or speak with one of their employees to get a feel for what a typical workday is like.

Accepting a Job

If you decide to accept a job offer, you want to respond right away. An initial phone call, followed by a written acceptance letter, is the most professional method of accepting a position.

Be clear on all the details about the job before accepting the job. If you negotiate any changes to the offer, make sure both you and the employer agree to those changes before accepting the job.

Once you accept the job, tell anyone else whom you met at the office during your interview.

How to Decline a Job Offer

If you ultimately decide that the job is not a good fit, or you got a better offer (or the offer was simply not good enough), you will have to officially decline the offer. Let the employer know right away. Calling on the phone (and then following up with a letter) is best, but you can also send a letter declining a job offer.

When declining an offer, the main goal is to maintain a positive relationship with the organization. You never know when you might work with that company again. Reiterate your appreciation for the time the employer took to interview you.

When explaining why you will not accept the offer, be honest but brief. If you dislike the boss or the office environment, simply say, “I do not believe I am a good fit for the position.” If you accept another job, simply say, “I accepted another offer that fits my professional and personal goals best.”

If you tried to negotiate but did not receive what you wanted, you can be honest as well. Simply say, “Due to the fact that the offer is non-negotiable, I will have to decline.” Avoid negativity, and do not go into detail.

Conclude your letter by thanking the employer, and wish the company continued success.

Once you decline the offer, email anyone else with whom you connected at the organization to let them know. Thank them for their assistance as well.