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The Offer's In: Now What?
By Brooke Heath
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The interview went well—very well, in fact—and you're anxiously waiting for the big moment when you receive the offer. What now?

Ask the Right Questions

If you are still waiting for the offer, be prepared to ask these questions if you don't already know the answers:

  • What would my title and responsibilities be?
  • What would the starting date be?
  • What would the base salary be? (This is a loaded question that will be addressed later in the article.)
  • Would my travel expenses be paid for (if there is travel involved)?
  • Are there bonus/commission options available with this position?
  • Are there benefits (health, dental, retirement, etc.) available?
  • What is the policy for vacation/sick/holiday time?
  • Are there relocation packages available (if relocation is necessary)?
  • Is there anything else I should know about the position?
Once You Receive the Offer

Once you have received the official offer and have asked the necessary questions, it's up to you. You have the option to accept the offer right on the spot, decline the offer, or ask for some time to consider it.

Even if the offer isn't exactly what you were hoping to hear (i.e., the pay and/or benefits aren't what you expected), don't be too quick to decline. Some points are negotiable.

Accepting the Offer

Even though you may be feeling a variety of emotions after receiving the offer, it's important to compose yourself and express appreciation. You may also want to consider asking the employer to give you the offer in writing. The written offer should include the starting date, salary, etc. Also, at this point, you should reject all other job offers and/or job interviews. (Read on for information about rejecting offers.) It is considered unethical to go back on an offer you have already accepted.

Rejecting the Offer

Even if you are rejecting the offer, it's crucial that you maintain professionalism and be tactful. Don't risk burning bridges! You never know when you may come across the company again. Express your appreciation for the offer. Say something positive about the company, and then explain politely that you will be declining the offer.

Asking for Time

The best thing to do, regardless of the offer, is to ask for some time to think about it. You want to do this tactfully. Tell the employer that you appreciate the offer and are excited about the opportunity but would like some time to think about it. (Most employers, if they are professional, will grant you this time.) Give them a date (only a day or two away) when you will get back to them, and then, regardless of what you decide, make sure to get back to them.

Knowing what questions to ask before you have a job offer extended to you and allowing yourself time to carefully weigh your options and contemplate your decision will help you make the best choice for you and your career.

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