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The Etiquette for Considering a Job Offer

by Mason Tilford-Mabry

After one – or more – interviews, you have received a job offer. Congratulations are in order – maybe. While it may be tempting to immediately accept the position, taking some time to fully understand the job offer may prove invaluable. The additional time and effort spent reviewing the offer and whether it is a good fit for you can help ensure that your new employer is a match for your career goals.

Take Time

When a job recruiter calls you to offer you a job, take a few days to review it, advises Liz Ryan in a Bloomberg Businessweek article. A former executive, Ryan writes that three days is a reasonable amount of time to consider the job offer and compensation package before making a decision to accept. Being pressured into taking less time to consider the offer could result in future dissatisfaction with the new job.

Consider and Negotiate

After you receive your offer, take some time to consider the proposed position and salary. Consider whether the job’s salary will cover your expenses and align with your career expectations. Determining whether the position matches your career interests can help ensure a good match between you and the company. You still have the ability negotiate before accepting the position and signing the offer letter –address any concerns and make sure the letter addresses your needs before you accept the new position.

Weigh the Options

You may not want to accept an offer immediately if you are being considered for a job at another firm. Reach out to the other company’s recruiter and see when they expect to finalize hiring for the other position -- without sharing the details of your job offer. If the other position is better, weigh your options and decline the job offer.

Saying No

After considering the job offer, you might decide not to accept it. As any recruiter knows, this is a normal part of the hiring process. Be honest and up-front with the recruiter and let her know you are no longer interested in the job. This approach will leave the door open to future job opportunities with the company -- avoiding the recruiter or not returning phone calls will close it.

Meeting Your Needs

After some thought, you may feel the job is a perfect fit and accept the offer. If you still have some concerns, discuss them with your prospective employer before accepting the job. After accepting the offer, you may not be able to negotiate for better salary, hours or working conditions.

About the Author

Mason Tilford-Mabry has extensive experience writing human resources and training materials, both as a corporate manager and as a small business owner. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in English: technical communication from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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