How you respond to an employer’s job offer can set the tone for the rest of your professional relationship. Even if you accept, if you don’t convey enthusiasm the employer might think you’re not that committed to the job. Regardless of your decision, emphasize how much you appreciate the offer.
Acknowledge the Difficulty of the Decision
Demonstrate to employers that you understand the complexity involved in deciding who’s the best candidate for the job. This also shows that you grasp and appreciate the fact that you made it to the finish line. When replying to the employer’s offer, say something along the lines of “With so many qualified applicants to choose from, I know this was a difficult decision for you. I appreciate the time you spent considering me and I’m happy that you think I’m the right person for the job.”
Give Your Decision
You can express gratitude even if you need more time to consider your decision. Stress that you’re excited about the possibility of working at the company, but add that you want to take your time to ensure you make the right choice. Ask when the employer needs to hear back from you, and follow up when you say you will. If you already know whether you plan to accept the offer, get right to the point. If you must decline, briefly state your reasons but keep the conversation positive. Mention how much you valued the opportunity to interview at the organization.
Focus on the Future
Show the employer you’re eager to jump right in and use your talents for the company’s benefit. Ask if there’s anything you should know or bring for your first day, and inquire about the schedule. At some companies you might not work but spend the day touring the facility, meeting the rest of the staff and learning about the corporate culture. Also, ask the employer what tasks you're expected to accomplish first and about his vision for the position. The more you ask about your role at the company, the clearer it is that you’re excited about the opportunity and looking forward to joining the team.
Send a Thank-You Letter
Even if you give the employer your decision in person or over the phone, send a thank-you letter as well. Either email or snail mail will suffice. It’s more important that the note reach the employer promptly, ideally within two business days. In your letter, thank the employer for the offer and reiterate how much you enjoyed meeting with him and learning more about the company and the position. If multiple people met with you and participated in the hiring decision, send a note to each. For example, perhaps you first interviewed with a hiring manager and later interviewed with your prospective direct supervisor.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images