Job Offer Guide
From Offer to Acceptance and Everything in Between
After doing a lot of research and preparing for your interviews, it has all paid off and you have an offer in front of you. Congrats! Now is the time to finish the process and inform them on your decision. But how exactly do you go about doing that? Do not fear, this guide will give you steps to make the process much easier.
Step 1: Read the Job Offer
Carefully read all of the materials sent, which can include the email, the formal offer (usually an attachment), any other attachments, and all relevant links.
Look for the following information:
- Salary (or hourly wage)
- Start date (and end date if an internship)
- Benefits (usually N/A on an internship offer)
- Expenses covered
- Housing (provided or not provided)
- Contact info
- Date to accept offer by
Benefits can include a range of things, such as health insurance, retirement benefits, sick leave, vacation days, education reimbursement, and daycare.
Note: Some employers will make a job offer over the phone before sending an email. In this case, your best option is to gain all the information about the offer, thank them for the offer and let them know that you will get back to them with a decision.
Step 2: General Response
Once you read over all of the information, send a thank-you email to your contact to show your appreciation for the offer. If there are any unclear points or missing information, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification in your emailed response. Make sure to let them know that you will respond to their offer by the date they requested, or ask for an extension if you are in a situation where you need more time.
Dear Ms. Smith,
I am excited about this offer to work for your company, and I appreciate the effort you and your team have put into the interview process.
I received an offer from another company yesterday, and would like to ask for an extension so I can consider both offers in detail. Could I let you know my decision next Monday, instead of this Friday?
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
Step 3: Evaluate the Offer
Consider these points below as you analyze the job offer.
- Does the internship align with your career aspirations?
- Do you feel like you fit into the company culture?
- Can you see yourself working with this company after the internship?
- Does the location make sense? Are you willing to commute?
- What kind of training/education will you receive?
- Does the salary/wage cover your monthly expenses? (Note: salary/wage is usually non-negotiable for internships)
- Do you feel like you fit into the company culture?
- Does the working environment and physical space meet your needs? Is there enough interaction with colleagues and supervisors?
- Are there ample opportunities for professional development?
- Does the company offer opportunities for promotions? Are there yearly performance reviews?
- Is continued education assistance offered by the company?
- Do you feel that the salary is satisfactory given your qualifications and the industry standard? Does this salary afford the quality of life you want?
- Does this company offer job security?
- Is the location and commute manageable?
- Is the amount of travel consistent with your desired lifestyle?
- Does the start date allow you time to transition between jobs? Do you want to take a vacation before you start?
- Does the company value and present diversity?
- Will you enjoy this job?
Step 4: Negotiate the Offer
In order to negotiate well, you must know the value and experience you bring, research industry salary trends, utilize multiple online resources, and understand how to have the conversation with the employer.You can negotiate over the phone or via email, and each have their place. Employers actually expect their offer to be negotiated, so it is important to be prepared for this process. Carefully read the tips below to best prepare yourself for the negotiation process.
Research the Salary Range
To find a salary range for your position, research salaries for professionals with a similar:
- Position Title
- Level of Experience
- Level of Education
- Location (State, City)
- Company Size
Analyze your estimated paycheck to determine your salary after payroll deductions (i.e. take-home pay). You need to compare cost of living for your current location and where you will live for the position. Not every city is comparable. Making $50,000 in La Mirada looks a lot different than in New York City. If you have not already, this would be a good time to create a personal budget. This will help you understand how much you spend each month on different expenses and where you can make adjustments. For a step-by-step guide on budgeting, refer to this guide by thebalance.com.
If your company offers a benefits package not typically offered by other companies consider factoring in the monetary value of those benefits as well. Benefits can account for 30-40% of your base salary.
Salary Research Tools
Here are some resources that can help you establish an appropriate salary range
- NACE Salary Survey: Quarterly surveys of entry-level salary. The NACE Salary Calculator can help you create a salary range based on occupation, education, and location.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: The BLS produces salary data on a state, regional, and national level.
- LinkedIn.com/salary: See a breakdown of salaries based on job title and location.
- Salary.com: Compare salaries and compensation data.
- Glassdoor.com: Research reported salaries within companies and industries.
- O*NET: Research current industry salaries and how they may change in the future.
Salary negotiation deserves plenty of preparation. Negotiating is about making requests and having an open dialogue, finding an agreement that feels fair to both you and the company.
It is recommended to conduct any negotiating primarily over the phone instead of email. Email requests can often sound like demands, with no room for conversation, no matter how politely you try to word it. To initiate a negotiation conversation, you can email the recruiter or hiring manager to express your interest in the position and desire to speak on the phone about some questions you have.
Begin by expressing to the employer the areas of the offer that you wish to negotiate and explain why you are asking for an increase in salary. This would be the time to leverage any competing offers you have received.
If the company cannot offer a higher salary, try negotiating additional vacation days, a signing bonus, or any needed moving expenses as an alternative. Remember to use your research and predetermined salary range you found in order to help strengthen your efforts.
Below is a great example from The Muse on how to practically navigate this conversation with an employer.
You: “Thanks for making the time to speak with me today. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to join X company and have enjoyed getting to know everyone so far. I would like to discuss a few details of this offer with you; is now a good time to do that?”
Hiring Manager: “Yes, what would you like to discuss?”
You: “I’d like to discuss the salary included in the offer. In researching this type of role, in the San Francisco area, and for someone with my experience and education level, I was anticipating an offer closer to $130k. What kind of flexibility is there in getting closer to that number?”
Hiring Manager: “I understand your concerns here. Unfortunately, all of our graduating hires start at the same range so it will not be possible to increase that amount.”
(Note: it is not uncommon for an employer to say they cannot increase the starting salary, but don’t let this scare you. Be prepared with additional items to negotiate besides salary)
You: “OK, thanks for sharing, I can understand that limitation. Let me share with you that my concern here is my ability to cover my cost of moving to the west coast, while paying back substantial student debt. Could we discuss opportunities for relocation or tuition reimbursement?”
Hiring Manager: “I do believe we have programs available for both of those, but I’ll have to discuss with my HR team and get back with you on that. What else would you like to discuss?”
At this point, if there’s anything else you want to address, you can do so. Or, you can thank the hiring manager and end the call with the understanding that they’ll get back to you when they have an answer to your requests. Keep in mind that as you’re conducting a negotiation you should leverage what you learn to make trade-offs.
Remember These Tips:
- Be respectful and kind when negotiating with an employer. They did offer you a position after all, and it is possible to have your offer rescinded if you do not negotiate appropriately.
- Be confident in your abilities and know that it is typically expected for a candidate to negotiate an offer.
- Be prepared to respond. The results of salary negotiations can vary from getting everything you asked for to none. After the company has responded to your requests, it is expected that you would either accept or decline the offer quickly.
Step 5: Accept or Decline the Offer
Now that you have thoroughly reviewed the offer and considered all the different factors, it’s time to accept or decline the offer.
Accepting the Offer
For either accepting or declining the offer, be sure to do so both verbally and in writing. Should you accept the offer, thank the employer once again and make sure to confirm:
- Start date
- Other pertinent information
After accepting the offer, immediately contact all other employers you have interviewed with, have scheduled an interview with or have received offers from, informing them that you have accepted another position.
EXAMPLE ACCEPT LETTER
Dear Ms. Smith:
I am excited to accept your offer of Position Title at Company in the Department at a starting salary of $XX,000 per year.
Thank you for your assistance in clarifying the company’s employee benefits package and relocation policy.
I am looking forward to starting my employment on start date and am eager to contribute to the Department Team and Company.
Declining the Offer
- Thank your employer again for the offer, expressing appreciation for the time and effort they invested in the recruitment process.
- In a professional manner, explicitly state you are declining the offer.
- Again, declining an offer should be done through both phone and email.
EXAMPLE DECLINE LETTER
Dear Mr. Jones:
Thank you for your offer for the position of Position Title at Company.
While I believe firmly that Company provides an exciting and challenging opportunities, I have had another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my current career goals and interests. After much consideration, I have decided that I must decline your offer.
Thank you for all the courtesy and hospitality extended to me by your office. I appreciate your interest in me, and I enjoyed learning more about your organization.
Fraudulent Job Offers
Caution — watch out for fraudulent job offers! Here are potential warning signs that the company is a scam:
- You must give your credit card or bank account numbers, or copies of personal documents - but you get nothing in writing.
- You must send payment by wire service or courier.
- You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account - often for depositing checks or transferring money.
- You receive an unexpectedly large check.
- Multiple spelling and grammar errors
- Look at the real URL, (put your pointer over the link and see where it's REALLY going), not the displayed URL. Is it going to a logical website?
- Search for the company on Google. Do the websites, email addresses and phone numbers match with those you find listed?
- If a job posting includes such statements on Handshake, do not respond and notify firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.