Evaluating Job Offers: Before You Accept or Decline

Have you recently received a job offer? If so, congratulations! When you receive a job offer it can be very exciting but don’t immediately jump to accept the position. You will want to take some time to determine if this is the appropriate offer for you and you will also want to get the job offer in writing as it will contain critical information about the position title, salary, and more.

Say you are interested in accepting the offer but not quite ready to commit. Thank the employer for their offer and be enthusiastic. Let them know you would like some time to think it over. The employer may give you a deadline to accept or decline the offer or you may be given flexibility in determining your own deadline. If this is the case, 4 weeks is likely more than enough time. While you are in decision mode think through questions that you need answered. This could include your starting date, location, relocation assistance, salary and benefits. If you have other pending opportunities, let them know you received an offer and find out if you are still a viable candidate.

If after your evaluation you decide that you want to move forward, call the individual who offered you the position and accept the position. Keep in mind, if you are trying to negotiate salary, start date or other arrangements you will want to negotiate those items first and then accept (pending the outcome of the negotiations).

Perhaps after evaluating the offer on the table you decide this is not the offer for you and you want to entertain another opportunity or keep searching. That is okay! Be gracious in your response to the offer. You can inform the employer over the phone or via email of your decision. Keep your message short and direct but also be sure to thank them for the opportunity. You never know when you may want to work for that company in the future.

As a reminder, don’t renege! It is not okay to accept a job with the intention of turning it down once a better opportunity comes along. This reflects poorly on you but also on your fellow UW classmates and department. It is highly inconsiderate and unprofessional. After you have given your decision careful consideration and accepted an offer, stop looking. Inform other employers who have extended offers that you have accepted another position.

By Holly Longman
Holly Longman Career Coach, Career Center @ Engineering Holly Longman