Accepting a Job Offer

- points to note when considering accepting a job offer.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into applying for a job from analysing what you want, through writing a CV, applying for jobs and then going for the interview. With success at the interview, you will get an offer of a job. However there are a number of points to note before accepting a job offer.

However once you have received the letter, it is necessary to consider carefully about accepting the job offer. It is necessary to consider the advantages and disadvantages of accepting the job offer very carefully. Hasty decisions could result in problems later. Therefore it is necessary to give the job offer some careful thought before making a decision.

It is a difficult decision to decide whether to accept a job offer and therefore it must be considered very carefully. Fortunately, most companies give you time to make a decision, so there is usually not an immediate hurry, although it is not possible to take too long.

What the job offer should contain

The job offer should be written, especially if you are taking up a professional position within a fairly large organisation. It is important that the job offer is written as it will define the job that is being offered and the terms. A verbal offer is open to misinterpretation, change and misunderstanding. Ideally the job offer should contain the following as a basic minimum:

  • Job title - possibly with a small explanation of responsibilities
  • Names of the people or position into which you will be reporting
  • Starting date.
  • Department or division in which you will be working.
  • Any other details, especially detailing the amount of travel required, etc.
  • Starting salary - ideally with details of when it will be first reviewed
  • Other benefits including pension, company car, share schemes, etc
  • Any special details regarding relocation, etc

If the written offer differs from what you had expected and what was discussed at the time of the interview, t hen notify the person who sent the letter and discuss the reasons with them so that the offer can be updated. If the update does not occur in the way you expected, or does not occur then it could mean that the promises made at the time of the interview will not occur. This mast be considered when making a decision about accepting the job offer.


Questions to ask yourself before accepting a job offer

There are a number of steps that can be taken and questions that can be asked before accepting a job offer. Even though the job may have seemed good before the interview, the view of the company seen at the interview, combined with the terms and conditions set out in the job offer, can mean that it is necessary to take a good hard look at the job offer and see whether it actually fulfils what you actually want from the job, and whether it also fits into your career plan.

A number of questions have been set out below that will help you when deciding whether to accept your job offer. They will pose some of the questions you need to ask, although for any one instance it is necessary to take a broad look at all the questions you need to ask. Those given below can be a starter.

  • Is the job what you really want and does it interest you?   Sometimes a job may offer many benefits and could be a significant step up, but if it is not what you really want and does not interest you then it will be very hard to make a success of it. You really need to be motivated by the job if it is going to be a real success.
  • Does the job meet your career plan requirements?   It is also necessary to check that the job fits in with your overall career plan. If not does it offer an advantage around which your career plan can be modified.
  • Does the job match your skills?   It is essential to consider whether the job matches your skills before accepting a job offer. It should be possible to assess the job more closely during the interview. Check whether you feel you can do it. While you will need to extend your skills, if the job skills required do not match what you feel you can offer, then you will find the job very stressful.
  • Do the benefits meet your expectations?   Aspects of the job such as salary, pension, company car, etc are a very important part of the job offer. They need to be considered in terms of what they offer now and what they are likely to be in a few years time. When moving from one job to another there should usually be a good increase in benefits. Don't just consider the basic salary, but also look carefully at the other benefits including pension, share options, healthcare, company car or any other benefits that may be offered. It is also necessary to find out when your salary will be reviewed.
  • Will the hours required fit in with your lifestyle?   It is wise to assess what will be required of you. In some companies, long hours may be required and this may not fit with your lifestyle and work/life balance.
  • Why did the last person leave?   This is a very valid question to ask yourself, or better still, find out at the interview. If the previous incumbent was promoted, then fine, but if there were problems this needs to be considered very carefully.
  • Will you fit in to the company?   It is important to consider whether you will be able to fit into the company. Do you think your face will fit in the company. Does the ethos of the company fit in with your own view of life? Often like minded people will be able to work together better, and this is not only likely to make it easier to work there, but it will also make any development within the company more likely.
  • Is the size of the company about right?   There is a significant difference in the way that large and small companies operate. Large companies tend to be slower and require greater levels of bureaucracy, whereas smaller ones are generally more dynamic and require fewer formalities. However there are advantages to a larger company. There is the possibility of moving to different types of job within the same company, the possibility of moving higher, and it may be possible to change companies within the same group without forfeiting benefits that may build up over time such as holidays, pension, etc.
  • What is the overall state of the company?   It is well worth looking at the overall stability of the company. If the company is not dong as well as might be expected, then redundancies may occur and often they operate on a last in first out basis which would not be good if you have only just joined. Coupled to this the redundancy payments may be small or non-existent depending upon the company itself and the legislation in the country in which you are working. Try to read up about the company and check its financial health.
  • Will I need to relocate and is this acceptable?   It should be obvious from the job description and the job interview whether re-location is required. Also any relocation should be included in the job offer along with the terms. Assess whether relocation is required, and whether this meets you lifestyle requirements. Also if relocation is required, are the terms adequate. Any terms should be outlined in the letter, and they should be considered before accepting the job offer.

Contacting the new employer

Having considered the job offer carefully, it will be necessary to contact the prospective new employer for one of a number of reasons.

It may be necessary to decline the job offer if it does not meet the requirements after careful consideration.

It may be necessary to ask further questions before declining or accepting the job offer. It may be necessary to clarify terms in the job offer, or it may be necessary to negotiate the terms if they are not acceptable. Negotiations should be carried out firmly but politely.

It may be to accept the job offer if it meets the requirements and provides the right job with the right benefits.

In most cases it will be necessary to write a letter to confirm the acceptance or rejection of the job offer. The letter would normally be written reasonably formally, thanking the company for the offer, their time, etc. Even when declining a job offer, it is necessary to be polite - you never know if another job with them may occur that you may want to consider, so there is no advantage in being anything but polite.

Summary

Before accepting a job offer, it is necessary to take a good look at the job itself, the offer and all elements of the job. Talk it over with trusted friends, and do not rush the decision too much, while not taking excessive time over the decision. It is necessary to make a rational decision about accepting the job offer. This is not always easy as the only way to see if the job will really work is to try it out. However you will need to make the best decision you can and if it is right, then you can feel relaxed about accepting the job offer.

By Ian Poole

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