Why you should always get a job offer in writing

Today I want to share why you should always get a job offer in writing.

Most of the time, when a new job offer that comes in, it tends to come in over the phone. Companies want to make that call and say, “Congratulations! We’d love to offer you the job!”

In some ways, they’re hoping you just say, “Yes!”

Whether it’s malicious or not, they’re hoping you’ll just skip over the negotiation process altogether.

Don’t miss the chance to negotiate

In our Negotiation Live Workshop, we talk about how to prevent that from happening and how to take the lead on turning a verbal job offer into a negotiation conversation.

Today I want to share why you should pause, express your gratitude, and ask for the offer in writing.

There are a few key reasons why this is so important:

1. It’s not a real offer until it’s written down

You don’t have a solid job offer in hand, until it comes in via writing.

Otherwise, it can easily become a s/he-said, s/he said situation and devolve into a game of telephone.

If there’s no paper trail to back it up, you have no evidence that the job offer was ever made.

Get it in writing so everyone knows what’s being talking about. Get it all spelled out clearly in black and white, so there’s less of a chance for miscommunication.

2. Make sure you’re crystal clear on what’s being asked & offered

Another reason to get the offer in writing? It’s to make sure you’re all on the same page and what they’re offering you is clear.

Let’s say during the job offer you talked about different salary ranges and you said, “I’m be looking for 65k to 75k.” Then they made you an offer over the phone and you agreed to taking the job, without quite knowing the salary they’re planning to move forward with.

You don’t even know what you just agreed to!

When it comes to salary and benefits you’re going to want the specifics when weighing a job offer.

What is it that they’re offering you? And what exactly are they asking of you? Is it a full-time, contractor, or part-time employee position? What benefits can you expect? And what will be expected of you?

Maybe they offered you 75k on the phone, but the HR person who wrote up the offer made it 65k because that’s what had been discussed previously. You’re going to want to catch any internal miscommunication happening on their end before signing on in agreement to anything.

3. It’s a lot harder for the job offer to be rescinded

This is arguably the most important reason that you’ll want to get an offer in writing. Once the offer is written, it’s a lot harder for it to be taken back.

Once there’s been a paper trail, if they rescind it, the company risks opening themselves up to liability.

If anything that has to do with your race, class, creed, gender, sex, or parental status comes up between the initial offer and the offer being rescinded, you may have a case for discrimination.

For example, let’s say you interview for a consulting position that requires you to take on a really important project right away and travel quite a lot. Perhaps you’ve also recently learned that you’re pregnant – a fact that you just chose to keep to yourself throughout the interview process (as is your right), and you decide to bring it up after an offer has been made.

So they offer you this job and then you ask about your employer’s parental leave policy during your negotiation conversation and ask for paid parental leave, which you’ll be looking to take in about 6 months.

If the employer says, “You know what, we’re going to go in a different direction,” and rescinds the offer, they’ve truly opened themselves up to being sued for discrimination as it relates to their hiring practices and gender.

This is just the kind of situation that most companies want to avoid. Have all your bases covered by asking for the offer in writing.

Want to learn more about mastering negotiation?

If you want more specific language on how to navigate the whole negotiation process, we just published a step-by-step report, The Definitive Guide to Negotiating as A Woman, which you can access 100% for FREE!

Whether you’re seeking a promotion or preparing to negotiate a new job offer, you’ll definitely want to download this guide now.

This article first appeared on Bossed Up.