EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD AND SHOULDN’T DO BEFORE RESPONDING TO A JOB OFFER
Congrats! After phone screens, onsite interviews and reference checks, you’ve finally received an offer for your dream job. Now what?
First things first: stop, take a deep breath and get ready to make an informed decision that’s best for you and your future. Along with the job offer comes a ton of information, not just about your salary, but about stock options, health care benefits and so much more. So, before you answer the offer with a resounding ‘Yes!” you need to first sift through all of the offer information, and remember—there’s a lot more to consider than just the money.
So, how do you respond to a job offer? How do you decide if it’s right? Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to help you think-through your offer and navigate negotiations before accepting a job offer.
What to do before responding to a job offer:
Get the Details
Oftentimes, people are so excited by the prospect of a new job that they forget about the other important aspects outside of base salary. Yes, you absolutely need to know what the salary is, but there’s a lot more to the job than what you get paid. How often do you get paid? How much, if any, of your health insurance is covered by your future employer? What health plan do you have? Is there a 401K and does the employer contribute? What’s the vacation or sick time policy? Do you have any lingering questions to ask before accepting, perhaps about the job expectations or your future manager? Now is the time to get this information so you know exactly what you’re walking into.
There is a lot of information about a company and a job that should play into your decision or, at the very least, that you should be aware of before you get in the seat on your first day. Even if you can’t get all of this information over the phone, it’s crucial to get it in some form before you accept the offer. Which leads me to my next point…
Get it in Writing
There is nothing wrong with accepting a job over the phone (I did it myself when I came to OpenView). That being said, nothing is done until you see your offer and details in writing. You need to see your written offer (which includes compensation) in addition to the information listed above. Remember: accepting a job offer is all about making the right decision for your future. Sifting through the details in writing allows you to really think about everything you are and aren’t getting with the new position.
Give Yourself Some Time
It’s likely that the company is going to give you some sort of deadline to make a decision. This could be anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Once you receive your offer, convey your appreciation and excitement, and then take the time to think about it. Look everything over, talk to people you trust, do whatever you need to do to make sure you feel comfortable giving a “yes” or “no” when that deadline is up. Also, remember that you don’t have to wait until the deadline is up to give your prospective employer an answer. If you know your decision, don’t wait until the last minute — reach out and schedule time over the phone (yes, over the phone) to convey your decision.
What you shouldn’t do when considering a job offer:
It’s fine to take time and think things over and as I said, it’s important to take that time to figure out what you really want. That being said, be respectful and don’t go dark! The company has extended a job to you and is looking forward to having you on their team. How you handle the offer is the first impression the hiring manager and company will have of you before you get in the door. Make sure you’re communicative during the process, even if you are taking time to make a decision.
It’s important to negotiate the big things—the things that matter. Don’t nit-pick every single detail of the job offer. Figure out what actually matters to you. Prioritize what you need from a company and what is something you could really do without. Is salary the most important? Is vacation time a deal breaker? There are a lot of perks and benefits at every company so it’s crucial to know what matters to you most and what you need to go back to the negotiating table to further discuss.
In the end, taking or passing on a job offer is a very personal decision. Different things matter to different people. And those things are endless—salary, benefits, perks, career progression and so much more can all influence your decision. But, what it all really comes down to is finding the best possible fit for you. Be smart. Consider all of your options before responding to a job offer. At the end of the day, you’ll know what works for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STARTUP INSTITUTE & CHRISTINE ZIMMERMAN
Christine Zimmerman spreads the Startup Institute magic as Content Marketing Manager. She is an avid dancer and lover of all cheese.