Accepting and declining your offer(s)
It might seem like a no-brainer, but even at this final stage in your career quest there are important things to consider. You have four options: accept, reject, negotiate or juggle.
Accepting job offers
The moment you get offered the job it can feel as though a massive weight has been lifted. Before you can start planning what you’ll wear on your first day, you have to go through the process of accepting the offer.
Offers are normally made by telephone or email.
If you’re contacted by phone, you should respond to the offer verbally and then confirm your decision in writing (email is fine).
You should also ask the company to write to you with a formal job offer containing all the relevant details about the job title and department, as well as the salary and benefits. This is especially important if you already have a job – you need some security prior to handing in your notice.
What’s more, make sure you know about any conditions upon which the job has been offered, such as referees, degree classification (if you haven’t graduated yet) and security checks. Most importantly, make sure that you know the start date!
Declining job offers
If you have any hesitations about the job offer you’ve received, you aren’t obliged to accept it, and you can decline.
There are many reasons why you might want to turn down an offer. You might not be interested in the role, the location might be inconvenient, or the pay might not meet your needs. Ultimately the decision is up to you – if the job isn’t right, then you don’t have to do it.
Given the current climate however, it is important to think long and hard before taking such drastic action. If this is your only offer, it might be sensible to just roll up your sleeves and get on with it, until something more suitable comes along.
If you do choose to decline, do so in writing. Briefly outline the reasons why you’ve made this decision (you don’t have to go into specifics), and thank the employer for their consideration.
Negotiating the offer
Negotiating can be the middle ground between accepting and declining. You may be able to tweak the terms of the offer to better seek your job-seeking needs.
The conditions that people most commonly try to negotiate upon are salary, how often their salary will be reviewed, job benefits, bonus payments and/or holiday entitlements.
You are perfectly within your rights to negotiate, but do so with caution. As a graduate, you need to think about what you’re actually able to offer an employer. You may not have the skills and/or experience to justify asking for a higher wage, but you should also not be taken advantage of.
Take a look at similar positions within this sector for the purposes of comparison, and if there is any clear discrepancy between these jobs and the one you’ve been offered, you may have some grounds for negotiation. Ultimately, the worst thing your employer can say is no. You can always prove your worth and then negotiate for a higher salary after the first six months.
What if you’ve been offered a job from one company, but are waiting to hear back from another job, one you think you’d enjoy more?
Because many graduates tend to send out job applications en masse, this can be a common problem.
The first step you should take is to contact the initial company and thank them for their offer. Tell them that you require some time to think it over before you commit, and agree upon a date.
Next step, contact the second company to enquire about their decision. If all the timings work out, then you’re in a strong position. If however your time runs out with the first company, it’s down to you to make the crucial decision.
You’re taking a gamble whatever you do, but just remember that once you decline an offer, there’s no going back. It’s better to accept a job to get on to the career and turn it down at a later date, than to end up with nothing at all.