How to Respond to a Job Offer: A Step-by-Step Process

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Receiving a job offer after a long interview and application process is an exciting accomplishment. And once you receive a job offer, you’ll want to ensure that you respond to it with professionalism and care.

The way that you initially respond to a job offer can dictate how much time that you have to provide a formal acceptance or decline of the offer, the way that you approach negotiations, and your initial relationship with the company, so it’s important to get right.

To help you in that process, this article provides a recommended step by step process for responding to a job offer to help ensure that you’re maintaining a positive relationship with your potential new employer.

How to Respond to a Job Offer

1. Thank The Company For the Offer

The first thing that you want to do when receiving any job offer is to thank the company for the opportunity. They invested a lot of time during the interview process, and are putting trust in you by making you an offer, so be sure to thank them for the opportunity that they’re affording you.

Generally you want to thank them the same day that you received the offer. You can combine your thank you response with any clarifying questions as a part of step #2 below, or just let them know that you’re going to review the offer and get back to them with questions in a separate correspondence.

2. Ask Clarifying Questions

Your next step is going to be to ask any clarifying questions about the offer that you may need answered. If there are things that you need to understand to make an informed decision about the offer, make sure you do that shortly after receiving the initial offer.

Common questions are around areas like:

  • Benefits package
  • Working hours expectation
  • Remote vs. in-office flexibility

3. Negotiate

Once you have clarified all of the details that you need to about the specifics of the offer, then you can start to negotiate details like salary, benefits, bonus, etc. that may be important to you.

The details on how to negotiate a job offer are beyond the scope of this article, but Indeed has a good resource with tips on how to negotiate your salary. Also, bear in mind that while the Indeed article that I referenced is focused on negotiating salary, but you can negotiate a variety of different factors about your job offer, such as bonuses, working hours, etc., so don’t feel like you need to limit it just to salary.

4. Request the Offer in Writing

Now that you’ve clarified all of the details of the offer, and negotiated it to be as favorable as it can be, you’ll want to request the details in a formal written offer. Having the offer in writing helps to show that you’re aligned on all of the details about what is being offered, and provides validation that everything is officially approved on the offering company’s side.

It’s important to have the offer in writing before you inform your current manager that you’re leaving your current position.

5. Offer a Response Timeline If They Haven’t Given One

Notice that at no point in this process have we established a timeline yet for a formal response yet. We’ve simply thanked them for the offer, clarified the details, and then attempted to negotiate to get the best possible deal for ourselves. That whole process can take anywhere from a couple of days to over a week.

Now that you have all of the specifics in line, you can work to establish a response timeline (and start date) if none has been set to this point yet. Generally, I would say that you want to respond to the company no more than one week after the initial offer. And be prepared that they may want to respond sooner than that, so you may only have a couple of days.

This particular step is one that I don’t see recommended enough. By letting the company set the timeline for a response, many people leave themselves with an insufficient amount of time to a) evaluate the offer and b) give their current employer the opportunity to counter. In general, I think it’s best to work to proactively dictate the timeline on your end.

6. Inform Them of Your Decision

Once you have all of the details of the job offer in hand, you’ll need to decide whether or not to move forward with the offer. Included below are templates to help you respond to a job offer.

Sample Email When Declining an Offer

It is common and perfectly acceptable to decide that a job offer isn’t for you. When declining the job offer, you’ll want to make sure you do so gracefully and professionally.

We wrote a full article on how to decline a job offer without burning a bridge, in which there is a sample email response that you can leverage.

Sample Email When Accepting An Offer

If you’ve decided that you do want to accept a job offer, then congratulations to you! Here is a sample email template that you can use to formally accept a job offer:

Dear {Hiring Manager},

 

Thank you again for the offer of {position name} at {company name}! I am thrilled to accept the position and look forward to joining the team.

 

I have attached my signed offer letter to this email.

 

I look forward to joining the team on {agreed upon start date}. If there are any final steps that I need to take before that date, please let me know.

 

Warm regards,

 

{First Name}

Conclusion

Receiving a job offer is an exciting accomplishment. And responding to the offer offer professionally can help set you up for success at your new company. So follow the steps above, position yourself well for success, and good luck in your potential new role!

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and a marketer and business professional with over 10 years of experience. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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