How To Deal With Job Offers

You spend months scouring the internet, filling in never-ending application forms and elbowing your way through the crowds at Graduate job fairs - then the unthinkable happens. You’ve only gone and done it.

The news may come in the form of a voice on the end of a phone, mysteriously appear on your door stop, or lurk in your inbox - you have received your very own graduate job offer. First things first- CONGRATULATIONS!  Your hard work has paid off!...but what happens now? How should you respond? Should you accept straight away? How should you deal with multiple job offers?

What to expect

Job offers come in all guises but it's most likely you’ll receive an offer initially by phone. If so, ALWAYS ask for the job offer to be sent to you either electronically or in letter form. Only once it’s in writing is it official. Keep your letter/email safe - it forms one half of your employment contract.

If you are offered the job there and then at the interview, don’t feel the need to accept straight away. This may feel a little nonchalant and downright counter-intuitive after spending the past hour telling your interviewer that you would literally bite your own arm off to secure the position! In fact it’s much more common to ask for some time to think about the offer than it is to accept straight away - and no interviewer will be put off by this. Again ALWAYS ask for the job offer to be sent to you either electronically or in letter form.

Your official job offer letter/email should include the following:

 - the job title
 - salary and benefits
 - the notice period (what you have to give them, and what they have to give to you)
 - hours of work
 - holiday and sick pay entitlements
 - the start date

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure all these things are present and correct!

Decisions, decisions! 

Although it’s tempting to grab any job offer that comes along with two hands - pause for a minute. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider before saying yes. Accepting a job is a HUGE commitment. Make sure you have a think about the following aspects of your job:

-       The atmosphere - did you like where you'll be working? Did it feel like somewhere you can see yourself wanting to be, day in- day out?

-       The people - do they seem friendly? If you’re relocating this may be particularly important, you’re likely to want to socialise with your colleagues

-       The hours - will you be expected to work late? Or at weekends?

-      The commute - it’s your dream job but it’s an hour and a half commute away - will you want to do this everyday?

-       The opportunities - does it seem like there is space to progress in the company? What sort of role could you move onto from your initial position?

-       The salary - will you be able to support yourself on the wage being offered? If you are relocating check out the cost of living, ask friends/family who have lived in the city before. In some industries, e.g. recruitment, bonuses may make up a large amount of your overall wage, but ere on the side of caution. Ask yourself if you don’t receive these bonuses would you be able to survive on the basic wage?

If the majority of the factors above aren’t ideal, serious and very loud alarm bells should be ringing! A couple of them being less than perfect isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Bear in mind that few people find their dream job initially and that every job can open unexpected doors.

Keep your word

Reneging on a job offer is the one big no-no when it comes to dealing with job offers
. Once you have accepted a job offer you can’t change your mind. Your acceptance is a contract between you and the employer as outlined in the guidelines for “Best Practice in Graduate recruitment”.

Beyond the rules and regulations it’s simply unprofessional and bad etiquette to go back on your word. You’ll be wasting the employer’s time and money, they will potentially have to re-interview for the position or start the application process from scratch.

What about your other eggs?!

The chances are you won’t have put all your eggs in one basket; which means you may have other job applications in the pipe line when your initial job of. What happens to these?

It’s all about weighing up your options. Take a realistic look at your other applications. How confident are you that your other applications will be as successful as this one? Do you feel that other offers would be significantly better than the one you have already?

Don’t ignore your job offer and assume an employer will be happy to hold it for you until your other applications have come through. Not only does this create a bad impression but some employers may take your silence for a refusal. As soon as possible send a letter or an email to politely request for more time to consider the job offer. However, don’t expect employers to wait for long periods of time, some of the larger graduate employers may be working to strict deadlines.

Juggling job offers

Although it may seem like a very unlikely situation to find yourself in in this ‘current economic climate’ (sorry for the cliché) it is still a possibility that you will receive more than one job offer. Yes, it does seem like the dream situation to be in but it can be a bit of a terror to navigate.

Again it’s all about keeping in contact with both employers. Feel free to ask for more time to consider each offer (using the polite letter/email technique outlined above!) Have another look at the considerations in the ‘Decisions, decisions!’ section above and compare and contrast the jobs- which comes off better?

N.B. Bear in mind this problem probably won’t gain you a huge amount of sympathy from your friends.

How to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’   

Whether you are planning to accept, or decline a job offer you must always write an acknowledgement, as a matter of courtesy. This usually takes the format of a letter, but if you received your offer via email, feel free to use email yourself.

If you accept, your reply constitutes the other half of your contract of employment so keep a copy and store it safely with your offer!

If you do reject a job offer, do it promptly, graciously and concisely. Thank the employer for making the offer and give a reason for why you are turning it down. Be honest, but polite - there is every chance that you may want to work for that employer in the future!

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