Best Practices for Responding to a Job Offer

best practices for responding to a job offer

After several interviews, getting a job offer is typically a welcomed occasion while job seeking. Depending on how much you want the job, you might have difficulty expressing your excitement and tempting to accept the job right on the spot. It’s an understandable response, but it will benefit you more to maintain composure and respond in a way that shows your gratitude without giving away your negotiation power. 

Job offers can come in various forms, including over the phone, via email, or in a video call, and each situation calls for its response strategy. It can be tough to simply thank you for the offer and ask for time to review everything before accepting it. But in doing so, you’re allowing yourself the opportunity to come down from the excitement so that you can look over everything with a clear mind. Even if, on the surface, the first offer seems to check all of your boxes, it’s still best to step back and give yourself time to comb through all of the details. 

So, how do you do this without giving the impression that you’re not interested or grateful for the offer? How do you respond to a job offer on the spot without risking the opportunity? Here are some tips and best practices to help you out. 

When to Expect a Job Offer

The hiring process varies by position as some experiences consist of a call with a recruiter and a single interview with a hiring manager. In contrast, others take weeks and include multiple rounds of interviews and possibly even tests along the way. Regardless of how it’s set up, you should already understand what to expect from the start. For the most part, job offers come at the end of an interview process. However, a recruiter should give you an overview of the process and the timeline to manage your expectations. 

📖Read more: Learn how to ask the right questions during your interview to leave a lasting impression and set you apart from fellow candidates.

Typically, you can expect to receive a job offer within a week or so after your final interview (this can happen anywhere from a day to 10 days later). In these cases, the offer will often come from the recruiter, or sometimes the hiring manager directly, and will usually be over the phone or in a video call as a verbal offer first. Companies opt to send offers over email now and then, but this is less common.

Best Practices for Responding to Job Offers

While they are far less common, email job offers are the easiest to review and respond because you can squeal, do a happy dance, or whatever it is you do to express excitement privately behind your screen. It offers you the opportunity to gain your composure before crafting a carefully-worded response. Still, there are some best practices you should follow when you do respond to an email offer:

  • Reply as soon as you have the opportunity to sit down and craft a professional response; resist the urge to respond right away with celebration emojis 
  • Express your gratitude for the offer and your continued interest in the opportunity, but don’t accept the position right away
  • Ask for a day to review everything and get back to them with questions and or your formal response
  • Send your post-review response within 24 hours of receiving the initial offer 

When the offer comes in over the phone or on a video call, it might be a little tough to contain your excitement, but that’s okay because you don’t have to eliminate it. Showing some enthusiasm tells the recruiter or hiring manager that you’re still interested in the opportunity and that you’re grateful for the offer, so as long as you keep it professional, a little excitement can be a good thing. Other things you’ll want to keep in mind as you respond to a verbal offer:

  • Say “thank you” for the offer 
  • Make sure to listen carefully to what they have to say. They may give you some instructions to follow or essential details about the offer 
  • Ask them to email you a copy of the offer so that you can review everything and send any questions you may have
  • Confirm that you received the information once it’s emailed to you and let them know that you’ll get back to them as soon as you’ve had a chance to look everything over (no longer than 24 hours)

In some cases, you get a job offer that you’re no longer interested in for one reason or another. It is okay. But it’s essential to let the recruiter or hiring manager know. Whether this is done via email or in person, best practices include:

  • Show gratitude for the opportunity and thank them for taking the time to meet with you throughout the interview process
  • Politely decline, and give some kind of explanation (you don’t have to go into too much detail, it can be as simple as saying, “unfortunately, this just isn’t a good fit for me right now”)
  • Offer to stay in touch should anything change for either of you in the future
  • Say thank you again before signing off

No matter the type of job offer and whether or not you want to accept it, the two most important things are to show gratitude for the opportunity and to stay professional. 

Templates & Examples

Responding to an offer by email:

Hello [Name],

Thank you so much for the good news about [the job]. It sounds like a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to reviewing the offer in detail. If possible, before formally responding, I’d like to take the evening to look over everything, and I’ll let you know if I have any questions by no later than tomorrow morning.

Thank you again for the opportunity, and I’ll speak to you soon.

[Your Name] 

Responding to a job offer over the phone or a video call:

Recruiter (R): I’m calling because we’d like to formally offer you the position [etc. etc.]

You (Y): This is excellent news. Thank you so much for letting me know. Can you tell explain more details about the offer?

R: [Gives details]

Y: Okay, great, thank you. It sounds in line with what we have discussed throughout the interviews. But I’d like to take some time to look into everything further. Can you email me a copy of the offer with all of these details so that I can review them more closely?

R: Sure, I’ll send everything over after the call.

Y: Thanks. I’ll let you know once I receive it and if I have any questions.

R: Sounds good. I’ll talk to you soon.

Declining a job offer (by phone or email):

Thank you so much for this opportunity and for taking the time to discuss everything with me throughout the interview process. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be a good fit for me at this time, but, again, I appreciate the offer. 

In this situation, you may get some pushback, and they may even ask if there’s anything they can do to change your mind. How you move forward will depend on you and the job, but regardless of your ultimate decision, be sure to remain professional throughout the conversation so that you don’t burn any bridges. 

Now What?

Now that you have an initial offer that you plan to move forward with, it’s time to start negotiating. Remember, you always have a little bargaining power, so don’t be afraid to push for more, whether it’s a higher salary, a flexible schedule, or better benefits. Still, even though there’s still more work ahead, don’t forget to congratulate yourself and celebrate the fact that you were offered a job. It’s a significant accomplishment, and you deserve it! 

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