You have reached the point in your job search process when you have received an offer, possibly even several. Remember, the job search is not yet over. You still have to accept an offer, and let other employers know you are no longer a candidate. Below are some things you should consider when accepting or declining an employment offer.

Accepting a Job Offer

Congratulations! Now that you have secured an offer, take some time to consider the following factors when evaluating job offers:

The Organization

  • Type and size of business
  • Financial condition, stability, and future
  • Location(s)
  • Philosophy, value system, and mission
  • Company or organization reputation

Your Job

  • Typical daily routine
  • Typical work hours; anticipated overtime
  • Room for advancement and professional development opportunities
  • Supervisor, co-workers, and colleagues
  • Required and desired skills
  • Size of department
  • Travel

Benefits

  • Salary, signing bonus, or other perks
  • Relocation budget
  • Vacation time (i.e., paid time off)
  • Savings plan (e.g., 401K or 403B)
  • Health benefits (e.g., medical, dental, and vision)
  • Tuition reimbursement (for self and family)
  • Pension or retirement plan
  • Vesting time (i.e., when a company’s contributions fully belong to you)
  • Commuting expenses
  • Pre-tax options (e.g., commuting, childcare, etc.)

Once you’ve accepted an offer

Even if you have accepted an offer verbally, you should follow up your acceptance in writing as a chance to:

  • Confirm the agreed upon salary, and date you will report to work

  • Outline the terms of your employment

  • Ask any questions you may have

Close the letter with an expression of your appreciation at joining the organization.

Remember, accepting an offer (either verbally or in writing) is a binding commitment. Once you have made an acceptance, notify all other organizations/companies that have made offers, and inform them of your decision.

Declining a Job Offer

If you are not interested in moving forward with an offer from a company, there are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Be positive when declining an offer. You may have to work with the organization professionally, or may want to contact them again about employment in the future

  • Always express your appreciation for any offers extended and for the interest and confidence the employer has shown in you
  • If appropriate, tell the employer where you will be going to work or where you have enrolled if you are continuing your education
  • You do not need to share why you have accepted another position or what the salary offered

Reneging: What is it?

There is a difference between declining an offer received and retracting a previous offer acceptance (or reneging); you may decline an offer of employment you have not yet accepted.

Retracting your previous acceptance is considered very unprofessional, so don’t do this. Be sure to exhibit professional behavior throughout the negotiation and acceptance process. You want to show your most ethical and professional behavior to your future co-workers.

Giving Notice

If you are currently employed, you need to give notice to your current employer when you accept a new offer. Two weeks is standard. Some companies may not want you to stay that long once you have given notice. Other companies may allow or prefer a longer transition of three or four weeks. It is in your best interest to follow your employer’s standards, allowing you to leave on a positive note. Spend your remaining time wrapping up projects, transitioning your work, and generally making your exit as smooth as possible.

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