It’s come to the end of the application process and you’re thinking of accepting a job offer! But maybe you’re still waiting to hear back on the outcomes of several interviews, or you’re not 100% sure on the position. Luckily there’s no need to feel pressured into making any snap decisions. Read on for our 8-step guide to accepting a job offer.
1. Check your time frame
Most job offers have an expiration date, which is usually one or two weeks from the time you receive the written contract of engagement. Even if you’re not sure about accepting a job offer, you should respond to the hiring manager or your relevant point of contact as soon as you can. Thank them for the offer, let them know that you would like more time to study the contract and ask about the deadline so you’ll know exactly when you need to make your decision by.
2. Waiting on a better offer?
It can be frustrating if you’re waiting on another company to get back to you. You can let them know that you’ve received an offer of employment to give them a nudge, but often the hiring process can’t be sped up. It’s a very risky move to turn down an existing offer for a hypothetical future offer, so tread carefully – see this article in The Muse for more tips.
3. Read the contract carefully
Ask for your written contract or letter of engagement to be sent to you as soon as possible so that you can study the terms of employment, the job description and obligations, length of the contract and any other conditions of employment carefully. Familiarise yourself with the salary, starting date, work location (including any location-based rotation programs) and office hours. Check out the company policies on holiday leave, sick leave and employee health benefit programs, which could include health insurance schemes, mental health support programs and gym memberships.
4. Ask yourself if the job is right for you
Ask yourself if the job is the right one for you: is it aligned well with your skills and career aspirations? Have your impressions of the company environment and corporate culture been positive? Are there opportunities for advancement? Job security factors are also relevant – check the length of the contract and the conditions in which the contract can be terminated or rescinded. Learn more about whether a job is right for you here.
5. Compare and contrast
If you’re lucky enough to have received two or more job offers, you could draw up a comparison list based on the job description, remuneration, benefits and any other relevant factors to help you decide between them. Feel free to contact the hiring manager/s with any additional questions you have before accepting a job offer.
6. Salary negotiations
What about if you like the sound of the job, but aren’t so happy with the salary or other employment conditions? Depending on your level of experience, you could negotiate your salary with your prospective employer. You should provide them with a salary range based on data for your profession and level of experience. If the salary is open to negotiations, this might result in a meeting with the hiring manager, human resources and other company managers.
7. Location and benefits
Alternatively, if the location of the job is an issue, you could ask if working remotely (from home or from another office) is an option, or at least ask for relocation assistance to help with the transition. If you have received another job offer which is richer in compensation or other benefits, you can share that with the hiring manager as a starting point for negotiations. Be honest and tell them exactly what you’re looking for – in a friendly way, of course!
8. Final decisions
Contact the hiring manager when you’ve made a decision, whether you’re accepting or declining, so you can get the paperwork completed ASAP. If you’re rejecting the offer, take the time to formally decline gracefully so you don’t burn any bridges – you never know when your paths might cross again in the future.
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.