After weeks or months searching for a new role, it can bring untold feelings of elation when you finally get that call or email saying those magic words; “we’d like to offer you the job.” But, don’t let excitement get the best of you just yet; you’ve still got to plan your response and your next moves, carefully.
Ask almost anyone working in the recruitment or hiring sectors of their industry and they’ll say that saying ‘yes’ to a job offer immediately is never advantageous to you. Even if the employer is offering you everything you want, asking for time to consider the offer will almost always be expected.
How to Handle a Job Offer
Nowadays, there are two ways that you can expect to be made a job offer; over the phone or in writing via email or letter. Rare occasions may see you being offered a role in person, but these unorthodox job offers can roughly be handled in the same manner as one would approach a job offer over the phone.
Many Hiring Managers will opt to make a job offer over the phone as it will test the water on how you handle the acceptance, as well as whether any key points or questions need to be made. Those who are confident can begin any negotiations right there and then, but the wisest choice would be to ask for one last face-to-face meeting to make any negotiations. This will give you enough time to ‘make your case’, gathering arguments justifying your demands as well as what these demands are.
Initial job offers made in writing, i.e. via email or in a letter, are slightly less common than over the phone. Offers in writing allow a unique opportunity to take your time with any acceptance. Phone calls won’t grant you the luxury of hiding your reaction or taking your time with a response, yet offers in writing can. They also allow you to begin negotiating immediately on a stronger foot, especially if the offer is detailed in writing.
Whichever way you are offered a job, it is always best practice naturally thanking the Hiring Manager for the fantastic news. You should also ask them to send any offers to you in writing.
How to Make the Most of a Job Offer
Regardless of how you’re approached with a job offer, you can’t ask for all the time in the world to make your decision. Only ask for a few days to consider how you want to handle the offer. The general consensus is that you should take 24 to 48 hours before responding with your counter-offer or your acceptance. Although, you should aim to initially reply as soon as you can (if the offer is made in writing, of course).
The most important first step to your negotiations would be to thank the Hiring Manager for the offer. Politely requesting some time to consider the offer and graciously thanking them for the good news will begin your negotiations on the right foot.
Negotiating any deal requires a certain level of tact, and at no other time is this more appropriate than when negotiating your job acceptance. Salary, benefits, and any other perks (such as flexible working or travel allowance) are on the table if you’re negotiating, so you need to approach a job offer with caution. Simply asking for what you want isn’t the best foot to put forward first, you need to ask with the right wording.
Instead of asking so directly, such as “I will accept this job offer if you guarantee my salary of £X”, try to make the discussion more open. This will help the progress of your negotiations with your enthusiasm for the role being highlighted, as well as showcasing to your prospective employer why you deserve what you’re asking for. An example of this kind of discussion would include things like emphasising how excited you are to work with, contribute to and learn from the existing team you will potentially be joining. All whilst stating that the things you’re asking for, such as a higher salary and benefits, is required to achieve positive results for all parties involved.
What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer
Once you’ve gotten the offer you want on paper (remember, you will always need any offer agreement in writing), including your salary, any bonuses, benefits and even the start date- it’s time to formally accept the job offer. However, there are some last things to consider before getting in touch with the Hiring Manager.
Some of these factors should have been covered during the interview process, such as your current notice period for your current role. This, of course, ensures that you can begin your new role in ample time. Even giving yourself some breathing room between jobs might be on the cards, so ensure that you can keep the lights on during this time. After all, notice periods can fluctuate wildly from role to role, with some needing a mere fortnight, and others needing three whole months before they can embark on new opportunities.
Now that you’re at the final stages of considering accepting a job offer, it’s time to ask both the Hiring Manager and yourself any lingering questions you have about the role or team. For example, meeting the team or manager you’ll be working with before accepting an offer may save you from entering a working environment that will eventually become challenging or uncomfortable.
However you decide to handle a job offer, it’s vital to remember what your career goals are, short and long term before you sign anything. Make sure that, when the dust settles, the job offer presented to you doesn’t just make your potential employer happy, but makes you happy too.