How to Respond to a Job Offer

Congratulations! You’ve interviewed for a position with a great company and they've extended a job offer. How should you respond to the company's offer? Hold off on an immediate response.

A few small things may curb your unbridled enthusiasm:

  • Your salary’s so low you have to rent your toothbrush.

  • Your hours are so late that even the cable channels are running test patterns when you get home.

  • Your health benefits leave much to be desired.

Otherwise, the job is great.

Don’t say yes right away

When you hear those sweet words, “We’re offering you the job,” anticipate your reaction. Why should you be enthusiastic when you’re not certain you want the job? Because it’s more fun to turn down than to be turned down. You need a little time to get over the excitement of being chosen and calmly consider whether accepting the offer is in your best interest.

The employer probably expects you to take a day or two to decide. After all, you’re making a choice that impacts many facets of your existence. An immediate response could be seen as impulsiveness or failure to take the job seriously.

Even when the job’s the only game in town and everyone wants it, your interests are best served by reflecting a bit before giving your answer. This is especially true when relocation is involved. Ask for overnight, a few days, or, at most, a week to think over a job offer.

Before saying yes, you may still be able to extract one last benefit that didn’t come with the original offer. Or the additional facts provided by the interview may have opened your eyes to aspects of the job you hadn’t considered — pro or con.

Stick to your career script?

Not so long ago, a key consideration in choosing a job was the opportunity to stay in your career field to follow your personal goals. Zigzagging from career field to career field rather than changing jobs within the same career field wasn’t a smart strategy. The situation has changed. Turning down a job today because it doesn’t “fit into your long-term career goals” is still a desirable policy but not always a practical choice.

Analyzing who you are and what you want to do will always be relevant. Staying within the boundaries of the work you love and are prepared to do is always more satisfying — and always better for your career.

Economic realities may sometimes mean that to earn a living, you have to do what you can do rather than what you love to do. Should you find yourself in this situation, try to identify new skills and knowledge you will gain that enhance your original career direction if you return to it.

What’s most important to you is that any job you take must allow you to develop and tweak portable skills that you can use in your next job.

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