You’ve crafted a great resume. You’ve scoured the Internet for the latest job opportunities. You’ve interviewed well, and now an employer has made you a job offer.
Congratulations! This is the position so many job seekers want to be in.
The thing is, not all job offers are the same. Some employers will put you on the spot, expecting you to either accept or reject the offer right away. Some employers won’t put forward the offer you were hoping for. And, occasionally, you may get two offers at around the same time.
Navigating these situations can be tricky and you need to consider several things when deciding on how to handle a job offer.
Steps to take
First, make sure you express your gratitude for the offer and excitement about the possibility of working for the employer. Giving the employer a less-than-enthusiastic reaction to a job offer will make them pause and wonder if the offer was given to the right person.
Be sure that you receive a written copy of the offer. This will allow you to review it for any missing details or glaring red flags. Also, if you do decide to take it the offer, a written copy will allow you to hold your new employer accountable should it not hold up its end of the agreement.
Agree with the employer on a deadline for the offer. The employer should agree to allow you at least 24 hours to make a decision. During your decision-making period, make sure you ask any questions you have about the offer.
It’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate the terms on an offer. Your demands should be based on industry standards and your own unique value proposition. Avoid being overly greedy and don’t push for things that are not negotiable.
Handling a low-ball offer
If you are interviewing at an industry leader, or the job market in your field is highly-competitive, you may be given a job offer with a much lower salary than you expected. Companies make low-ball offers because they can, so don’t expect them to fold if you demand a much higher salary.
If an offer isn’t what you hoped for, thank the hiring manager for the offer and ask for time to consider it. Then, think about your career situation, and what accepting a low-ball offer might have on it. Are you currently stuck in a situation you need to get out of? Will taking a low-ball offer mean a hit to your personal brand? Are there other opportunities out there?
The answers to these questions should let you know what to do about a low-ball offer.
Coping with competing offers
On the flip side, you may find yourself so in demand that you receive two offers within days of each other. If this happens to you, explain to the second company making the offer that you already have one on the table and try to be as forthcoming as possible. After weighing the two offers, let the employer you are turning down know as soon as possible to avoid burning any bridges.