During every step of the hiring process, candidates must be deliberate with their actions. While younger professionals might think that this game is over the second they receive that offer phone call or email, experienced ones know that there are right and wrong ways to accept a job offer.
Ladders spoke with Matthew Warzel, President of MJW Careers, to answer all your questions about how to accept a job offer, including an example of an acceptance email and questions you should ask before sending it.
How to accept a job offer
Warzel recommends never accepting a job offer right away for a few reasons. When your potential employer comes to you with the offer (first of all, congratulations!) ask them if you can have a few days to think it over.
If the company does not send over a formal offer letter, which smaller startups may not, you should definitely ask for something in writing that outlines what the company is offering you should you decide to take this role. If the hiring manager gives you a call to relay the offer, ask them to send over an email with some of the points they mentioned, including salary, benefits, perks, and job description.
“Be nice and polite and pleasant about it,” Warzel said. “You want to see something so that you can get a gauge and be able to look at it that evening. It holds them accountable.”
How to negotiate a job offer
Before you can accept a job, it’s important to make sure that you would receive the proper compensation for the role. Warzel reminds candidates that the rest of their livelihood could be based on that single rate that you accept from the company.
“If you’re with the company for 10 years, and you came in at a lower rate than you should’ve, you’re stuck now trying to catch up,” Warzel said. “Every single promotion, every sort of succession ladder that you might be on, every rung you’re going to get a little bit less than you probably would’ve made.”
When it comes to negotiating, Warzel recommends that job seekers have their number in mind even before they begin the interview process. While job seekers may think they won’t have to discuss salary until the final interview round stage, Warzel warns that sometimes it is the first thing a recruiter will ask to gauge whether or not their client will be interested in speaking with you.
“If the negotiation comes up right away, just be prepared knowing that you as a job seeker should have a number in mind,” Warzel said. “It could come up in an elevator at a networking event and you can’t control that, so understand your worth.”
Candidates should know their ideal number, but they should also keep in mind the number that is the lowest amount they are willing to accept the job for. When speaking with a recruiter, candidates should not say their bare-bones minimum number, but start with that ideal number that they are looking to earn. According to Warzel, recruiters will run with the lowest number they hear from you, so keep that in mind when providing your salary range expectations.
How to accept a job offer by email
The acceptance email does not have to be a long and drawn-out explanation of how excited you are to accept this job. Quite the opposite, Warzel recommends keeping the communication to a few polite sentences. Be short and precise, these people are hiring you to fill a need that they’ve had open and that they’ve had some pains keeping it open and so you are the one solving their pains and letting them move on,” Warzel said. “A lot of times hiring managers are already spinning their wheels trying to get people in the door because they’re working on their 9 projects and this is their 10th project.”
Hiring is a necessary evil for these professionals, so don’t make them drag the process out with a page-long email, just a quick and concise note will do.
Additionally, even if you hit it off with the hiring manager, keep this email professional.
“Always maintain your professionalism even if it’s a relative in the room,” Warzel said. “Be professional, keep it short and concise and to the point, and be pragmatic and logical.”
Even though the job is yours, you should continue to be professional, detail-oriented and mind your grammar, and mind the way you use exclamation points and all of that because you don’t know how people perceive things on email or text.
Accepting a job offer email example
Dear [hiring manager’s name],
Thank you for your time and the offer. I am happy to accept the role of [your new role] under the conditions that we discussed. Thank you for being flexible with timing and willing to discuss the details with me. I am very excited about the next steps and joining the team at [company name].
Thank you very much for your time and the opportunity.
How long do you have to accept a job offer?
Remember that, if possible, you should not accept a job offer right away. If an employer asks you to do so, Warzel recommends asking for a few days to think it over.
A normal request is three days, according to Warzel, but anything within a few business days is reasonable.
“If you get an offer on a Thursday, tell them you’d like to take the weekend. On a Monday? Tell them by Friday. On a Wednesday? That can be tricky, play it out and see if you can get away with until after the weekend,” Warzel said.
The amount of time you can receive to consider the offer depends on a few factors. Has the company expressed that they need this role filled immediately? Would taking this job mean that you are moving across the country? Are you the all-star candidate that the company has been searching for? The amount of time you receive to consider the offer will most likely depend on these different factors.
Here are questions to ask before accepting a job offer
- What are my hours?
- Will I ever be expected to work on a weekend or holiday?
- What are the vacation and paid time off policies?
- What is the parental leave policy?
- Can I see a full list of benefits?
- Are there any perks?
- Does the company offer a retirement program?
- When would my medical coverage kick in?
- Are there any professional opportunities offered?