What to do When You Get an Offer Checklist

multiple job offers

The Ultimate “what to do when you get an offer” Checklist

What to do when you get an offer checklist can be overwhelming. This is a key moment for you, so be thorough. Very few feelings compare to opening your e-mail and finding that much coveted job offer sitting in your inbox or seeing that voicemail notification you’ve been waiting for.  It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to go through the application and interview process and it’s such a relief to know your hard work has paid off. Although you’ve earned yourself a happy dance, don’t start drafting your resignation letter just yet.  Before you make a final decision to accept a job offer, there are a few details you need to review.

  1. Review the Written Offer

First and foremost, this means making sure the offer is in writing. When it comes to your career, you never want to rely on your memory or a stranger’s integrity… Get it in writing! Once you have the written offer, you want to read it with an fine tooth comb.  This means, all the terms should be listed.  If you were offered thirty paid days off annually, make sure the offer itemizes, how many are sick, personal, vacation, etc.  If you were offered a 401k match, the written offer should show what their maximum contribution is.  If you were offered free garage parking and dry cleaning, ask that it’s included in the offer along with any paid continuing education or tuition reimbursement options.  Of course your annual salary and the terms in which bonuses are awarded should also be itemized.  Finally, make sure you benefit package is attached, along with employer contributions.  This will prevent unexpected problems down the line.  Say you were told the company pays eighty percent of employee health insurance, but then after you accept the job, you come to find they only pay ten percent of your dependent’s costs. If there’s travel involved, does it say who covers the associated travel costs? Although this may seem basic, you even want to be sure your official job title is included in the offer. Those little details we forget to ask in the excitement or nervousness of the interview can translate to big money down the line.

  1. Ask Follow Up Questions

After having read step one, you likely have additional questions as far as the offer goes, so now is a great time to ask those follow up questions. As long as you are asking these questions in a respectful manner, the hiring manager should be very accommodating.  A good hiring manager will even appreciate the questions and have equal interest in ensuring this is a good match for all parities involved.  The last thing they want to do is let their second best candidate go, only to have you back out at the last minute.  This is also where you want to make sure you fully understand the scope of work you will be doing and the expectations for  your position.   If you have not received a detailed job description, now’s the time to ask for one.


  1. Compare the Total Compensation Packages

Whether you have multiple job offers or are just comparing a job offer to your present job, it’s important to understand your total compensation, rather than just salary.  Make sure you take into account anything that will affect your overall budget, even if it’s not directly correlated with your salary.  Some of these things may include onsite fitness center, company vehicles, child care facility, 401k or retirement plan contributions, free meals, and even child care or fuel savings due to a flexible or work from home options. Keep in mind, only include items that will actually affect your budget.  For instance, if you have no children and don’t plan on having children anytime soon, don’t include childcare serves onto your compensation comparison chart.  Another example would be to exclude an onsite fitness center in your comparison if you have no intention of cancelling your current gym membership. Recruiters do a great job of really selling all the perks of a job, as it’s a low cost way to build value, but at the end of the say, you still have to make sure the offer you accept is one that will work for your budget.

  1. Ask for Time to Consider

So many people are hesitant to ask for time to consider for fear of missing the opportunity, but rushed decisions seldom have positive outcomes.  In most cases, the employer will have no issue with you taking a day or so review the offer.  When asking for time to consider, be sure to ask for only a couple days at most.  You want to be mindful, that they need to fill the position ASAP and although they understand it’s reasonable to want to look over the offer before accepting, they can’t give you too much time before losing their other candidates.  Another tip for asking a hiring manager for time to consider is to do so with a positive demeanor.  You never want to say something like, “let me look it over and see if it’s a good offer.” Instead, assure the manager how happy you are to receive the offer and are indeed, very interested in the position.  Try a response like this:

Hi John, it’s great to hear from you.  I am thrilled to hear I’ve been selected and from everything we’ve discussed about this position, it seems like a great fit.  If you wouldn’t mind sending me over the written offer, I can have a look at it tonight and send you any questions I may have tomorrow so we can finalize the details.”

This does a couple things.  First, if puts the manager at ease that so long as all the previous terms have been included in the paperwork, they have found their candidate.  It also gives them a quick turnaround time for a final decision.  Everything about this wording works to show your interest and intent on negotiating a mutually beneficial outcome.

  1. Negotiate

Negotiating salary or benefits may not always be appropriate, but often is.  A first offer usually has a little wiggle room, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.  Before you do so, make sure you research what similar professionals make and take note of the salary range noted on the job post.  If they are already offering you what their max listed amount is, you don’t want to counter with ten thousand dollars over that cap.  Another tip is to always note what you listed as your desired compensation on the application.  If you listed $55,000 and they offer you $60,000, it’s not such a great idea to counter with $65,000.  There are a few exceptions to this, but if you chose to make a counter like this, know it’s risky and you better have a really good reason for doing it. One such reason may be initially thinking the position was part time, when in fact it was a full time position. Another would be a job that doesn’t offer benefits and you expected that benefits would be included. Anytime you negotiate salary, always be respectful and reasonable.

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