6 Things You Should Always Do Before Accepting a Job

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 28, 2024 at 2:16PM UTC

Getting a job offer is exciting — sometimes even life-changing. It’s tempting to say “yes!” immediately and go out to celebrate. But before you do, take a breath — and make sure you take these six steps.

The moment you get the offer

1. Secure an official offer in writing, and clarify any uncertain terms.

It’s important to make sure you have all the details of the offer in writing before you accept. While you probably won’t have the contract until you do accept the offer, you should still be able to get the key terms of the contract laid out.

Items to have in writing include:

  • Rate of pay
  • Additional benefits
  • Job title
  • Other terms that are critical to your decision

Having this in writing will help you determine whether this is the right fit and know what to ask for if you plan to negotiate.

2. Ask for time to evaluate the offer.

You should never have to give your answer immediately. Ask for time to mull it over. Some employers may be in a bit of a time crunch and want you to start sooner rather than later (or offer the position to someone else with ample time should you say no), so be polite, and do respect that they will want to know as soon as possible. Depending on the job, though, you should be able to have some time to consider it.

While you consider the offer

3. Make a pro/con list.

This is particularly important if you’re considering multiple job offers or if you’re relatively happy in your current role and not in any way desperate to leave. Make a pro/con list of what you would gain from joining the company and what you would lose. This will be a vital tool for helping you assess whether the role is worth it and will help you move forward — or if it’s the opposite.

Consider every aspect of the position, including, for example, salary, title, benefits, your prospective manager, the team and more. Factor in other considerations, too, such as other potential offers.

4. Negotiate.

Some positions may not have much wiggle room, especially in the case of entry-level jobs, but it’s always in your best interest to at least try to negotiate. Remember that even if they won’t budge on salary, they may be able to make it up to you in other respects, such as benefits. If, say, your current employer offers a higher number of days off, perhaps you could use that as a bargaining chip with your prospective employer.

When you accept the offer

5. Ensure all the agreed-upon terms are up to date and in writing.

This is the time to make sure that all the terms you’ve negotiated and agreed to you are “set in stone,” so to speak. It’s important to create this paper trail in case anything is confused down the line, including after you’ve started the job. 

Remember that a verbal agreement is not sufficient. You should have everything, down to the details, in writing. If you can’t secure that, consider it a red flag.

6. Thank the hiring manager — and celebrate!

Thank the hiring manager (verbally and/or in writing, depending on how you’ve been communicating). You might send a quick note to the others you’ll be working with if you’ve had the opportunity to meet them. Then, go celebrate! You’ve more than earned it.

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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