All right! After rounds of applications, interviewing, and your very best professional behavior, you have a job offer. The company liked it, and now they want to put a ring on it. How you react to this offer can really set the tone for your tenure as the newest employee of a corporation.
1 . Say thank you.
Even though you’ve already sent a thank-you note to everyone whose inbox you touched through this hiring process (you have sent those notes, right?), you still need to thank whoever is extending you the offer. It could be your new manager or it could be a Human Resources hiring specialist you’ll never see again, except at company-wide pizza parties. Regardless, extend a hearty “thanks,” and be sure to tell them how excited you are about discussing the offer further.
2 . If it’s not in writing, get a paper trail.
Some companies like the personal touch of calling candidates to extend an offer. This is usually followed by a confirmation email or letter, but it’s on you to make sure that step is forthcoming. It can be as easy as saying, “Great, thanks so much! Will you be sending me the details and next steps in an email?” That way, you have all the necessary details after you start to come down from the I got the job euphoria.
3 . Make sure you understand the timeline.
It’s okay to ask how long you have to give a final answer. You don’t win anything for responding in record time, and employers expect that there will be some negotiation happening. If the answer is that you need to answer immediately, that’s not a great sign—a day or two is a very reasonable request for making such a big decision.
4 . Get ready to negotiate.
Once you have the details about salary, benefits, and job description, decide whether they work for you. You may or may not be successful depending on what you’re asking and what the company can give, but having realistic asks ready to go will help keep things moving.
5 . Once you’re ready to say yes, make sure all details are clear.
Reiterate (in writing if possible—remember the paper trail) the details of the offer, including salary, start date, and any points that you negotiated. From a legal standpoint, it makes everything clear, but that doesn’t mean you should see this as an adversarial thing where you’re likely to see your new employer in court someday. Really, it’s just as much for your own benefit, to make sure you have everything straight in your own head. That way, there are no nasty surprises on day one.
6 . After you say yes, start asking transition questions.
Is there an orientation for new employees? Do you need to fill any paperwork out before you start? Can you get your million dollar signing bonus in gold coins? (That one’s assuming the negotiation went really well.) It shows that you’re already a fully engaged employee, and it will keep you excited for your new start as you prepare to say goodbye to your current job.
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