Accepting a job offer is exciting, but comes with its own set of worries. Do you say yes over the phone? Do you send an email? Should you draft an official letter? Below, we explain exactly what to do when you're ready to take on your new role.
If you're responding via email, you'll need to include the following information:
And that's pretty much it. If you want to add anything else, that's up to you, but as long as you include those three essential elements, you're set.
To start, read through the offer letter carefully, and, if it's an executive-level position, you may want to enlist a lawyer to help you look it over. Common documents you'll be asked to sign include non-disclosure agreements and invention/intellectual property agreements. Some companies will include policies and health benefit information with their offer letters as well.
Before signing, contact the HR rep or the manager who sent you the documents to ask for clarification or to get answers to any questions or concerns you may have. It's much easier to change contracts at this stage. Once you sign, it's assumed you agree with the information. While you may be tempted to speed through this step so that you can get started at your new job, this is your chance to get to know the fine print. For example, you may find the company doesn't allow employees to freelance in the same industry, which means you have to give up the side gig you've had for the past few years. Or, you may find an error with the stock options you're supposed to receive with the job offer. Do yourself a favor and dig into the fine print so you can start your new job on the right foot.
In many cases, the hiring manager or the supervisor of the position you interviewed for will call and extend you the job offer via phone. This is a tricky time, since you may blurt out "Yes!" before taking a chance to negotiate or clear up details around benefits, such as whether the company offers full dental and vision.
What you can say: "Thank you for the fantastic offer. Let me take a few days to give it some thought. I will get back to you by [date/time]. In the meantime, if I have any questions, should I email you or would you prefer a phone call?"
Some managers will extend an offer and include a deadline for when they'd like back to hear from you. Between the deadline and the offer is your time to ask questions or start negotiations around salary, paid time off and benefits.
However, if you're ready to say yes when the phone rings, follow the same guidance given above about what to include in your acceptance. Try something like this:
What you can say: "Thank you for the offer. I accept! To confirm, the position title is [x], the salary is [x] and the start date will be [x]."
If you don't have a start date agreed upon, make sure you pick one that is doable with your current job, if you're employed. You can negotiate this with your new company as well; they'll likely want you to start as soon as possible, but if that's not something you can or want to do, it's totally within the realm of acceptable job candidate behavior to ask for more time than they offer.
And if the job offer arrives in your inbox, read on for what to say.
Here are two different sample emails for you to try on for size.
I'm thrilled to accept [Company Name]'s offer for the position of [Role] at [Salary]. My first day of work will be [Date].
I'm very excited to join the team and meet the rest of the [Company Name] crew.
I'm writing to accept [Company Name]'s offer for the position of [Role] at [Salary]. My first day of work will be [Date].
I'm excited about the opportunity to join this [compliment or fact like "award-winning," or "high-performing"] team.
For the most part, if you've accepted a job offer, you're past the established point of negotiating. While you can still try, if you've already said yes to the position and salary, it's poor form to try to renegotiate the terms. If you try to use leverage, such as having a job offer from another company, you'll still look unprofessional because you're putting the company in a bad position since you already agreed to the terms.
See the section above about what to say on the phone and check out the email templates.
If you're the hiring manager, send a "happy to hear!" with first-day instructions, such as details about where to show up and when, and onboarding documents.
If you're the soon-to-be intern, respond that you accept the internship and say something like "looking forward to joining the team this summer!"