After a tiring job hunt, you got a job offer! Pat yourself on the back and prepare to respond.
Whether you plan to accept, reject, negotiate, or request more time, it’s important to maintain the same level of professionalism in your response as you did in the interview process.
Let’s walk through how to tackle each scenario.
When you want to accept the offer
When the position and company are a perfect fit and your current job is driving you crazy, it can be hard to resist sending back an ecstatic Yes! as soon as you receive an offer.
But, there are many details to consider before accepting. Take a minute to look over the proposed salary, title, benefits, and other terms, such as stock options and travel. If everything checks out and satisfies your needs, then you can begin crafting your acceptance letter. (But we highly recommend negotiating your offer.)
Make the acceptance obvious (i.e. use the words, I am please to accept your offer…)
Repeat the position title and relevant terms
Give your expected start date
Express your thanks
Clarify anything that needs to be clarified
Inquire about additional paperwork or information to provide
I would like to thank you for offering me the software engineering position at the Guild Company. I am excited to officially accept the offer and begin working with the team.
As discussed, my annual salary will start at $50,000 including three weeks of paid vacation and a full benefit package available at 90 days of employment.
Please let me know if there is anything I can provide prior to my start date on February 3, 2019.
When you need to ask for more time
It’s acceptable, and even fairly common, to ask for time to mull over your job offer. You may want time to craft your counter offer, have other offers on the table or family considerations, or just need to take a step back to gain clarity.
Still, send your initial response within 24 hours and give a date you will deliver your final answer.
Thank you so much for offering me Cooper & Co.’s financial analyst role. I am honored to be considered for the opportunity and feel I would be valuable to the company.
I am carefully considering the position’s details and would like a couple of days to make a decision. I can provide a final answer by Thursday morning.
When you want to negotiate your offer
In your response, voice your concerns and request a time for a phone call or meeting with the hiring manager. Be prepared for the conversation with your specific counter offer, but remember to ask questions rather than make demands.
Dear Dr. Weissman,
Thank you so much for offering me the position of research analyst with Mountain College. I am so excited about the possibility of working with your team.
I noticed the signing bonus is lower than what we previously discussed Are you available for a phone call tomorrow to discuss?
When you want to decline the offer
If you received a better offer or simply decided this isn’t the job for you, you can decline the offer completely. Keep your letter short but polite.
Wait, do I have to tell them why?
You are not obligated to explain at all if you don’t want to, but it is respectful to give a brief reason. (Especially if you think they might offer a more lucrative counter offer.)
It’s acceptable to tell them you took a different position or that it isn’t the right fit. It’s not the time to tell them how much you decided you would hate the hiring manager.
I would like to start by saying thank you for the offer and the time you took to speak with me during my interviews. I know this job search was quite an undertaking for your team.
Unfortunately, I must decline the sales director position at this time. I have accepted an offer that is a better fit for me at this time.
I wish you and your team all the best and I hope we can remain in professional contact in the future.
Read more: The Dos and Don'ts of Exit Interviews