June 1, 2022
Navigating a Job Offer: The Art of Saying “Yes” or “No”
You nailed the interviews and finally received a job offer. However, unless the position is your dream job in your favorite location with an unmatchable salary, you likely have some options to weigh before accepting or rejecting it.
The hard work of job searching doesn’t end the moment an offer is made. You might love the location but not the benefits. The position that could be a good stepping-stone in your career might also set your personal finance goals back by a few years. There are always factors to consider that could determine whether you accept, reject, or negotiate a job offer. Just as importantly, you also need to consider how you’ll frame your decision to the employer if you end up determining the position just isn’t the right fit.
To start, a job offer should be viewed as nothing more than an initial proposal made by a firm indicating that there’s an interest in creating an employer-employee relationship. Even though rapport may have been established during the interview process, keep in mind that your dream is not the company’s priority. Even if the position is your dream job, take time to consider your worth and expectations. How often have people said “yes” right away to something they were sure they wanted, only to realize later that they’d been too hasty?
Keep in mind that the moment you accept, the employer will act upon your acceptance. They’ll stop their search and inform other candidates that the position has been filled. They may also sink investments into your employment; things such as onboarding and training materials, tech platform IDs, and remote work devices. Accepting a job offer and then changing your mind is a costly mistake. It will make you look indecisive and give you a poor reputation not only with that employer but with other connections of the company.
Maybe you got an odd feeling in the interview. Perhaps the description wasn’t accurate in its depiction of the role and its duties. The position could be good, but the salary might not meet your needs. No matter your reason, it’s fine to turn down an offer that isn’t right. You should never accept a job just for the employer’s sake even if they truly seem to appreciate you and your skills. If the position is of no interest to you, it’s best not to waste the employer’s time—or your own—stringing them along with negotiating. Simply thank the employer for their time and move on.
Oftentimes, however, it’s worth taking the time to consider your options. Maybe the position is a good fit, but the offer isn’t ideal. Never assume that you’ve received the firm’s best offer. Again, it’s best to take a moment to consider your wiggle room—but not too long, or you could be costing the employer another good potential hire.
If you want to accept the job but have concerns about some of the offerings, always give yourself the chance to negotiate. The hiring market is in the employee’s favor right now, which means there are perks you can ask for depending on your lifestyle—and your chances of getting them are pretty good.
Reasonable negotiations around a job offer, regardless of the outcome, is a smart choice nine cases out of 10. Negotiations can be focused on salary, bonuses, moving costs, additional equity, insurance, paid time off, parental benefits, remote work options, or anything else that might impact the job. Most employers understand the business world and the job market. They won’t be insulted by a realistic and honest approach to negotiating an offer.
Perhaps the trickiest part of the negotiating process is the “please stay” or “rebound” offer from a current employer. It has become acceptable for employees to approach their current employer prior to accepting another offer. This could land you with a better salary package or an expanded role. A new job offer may be just be the leverage you need to get the raise you feel you deserve. This tactic has the potential to backfire, however. By actively seeking a rebound offer, the employer will know you’re dissatisfied and shopping for another job. Some employers interpret this strategy in a negative light and decide to get a head start on filling the employee’s job behind their back. On more than one occasion, we’ve seen an employee receive a nice counteroffer and then be terminated several months later.
Some people make the mistake of accepting a job offer before they approach their current employer to renegotiate. If you have even a slight interest in staying in your current position, it’s worth your time to seek a rebound offer before accepting a new one. Your current employer might be happy to match the counteroffer if it means keeping a seasoned employee.
Job Searching Guidance From the Professionals
The ins and outs of job offer etiquette can be confusing and overwhelming for both employees and employers. Don’t forget that in today’s hiring market, the urgency to hire or be hired can lead people to make hasty decisions. Always take the time to measure your needs, set your expectations, and be realistic with prospective employers about what it will take for you to say “yes.”
Much like an agent negotiating a sports contract, a professional recruiter can be a great value to both the employer and the employee. We help job seekers negotiate for their needs on a daily basis while also providing an objective lens through which to view each side’s demands. Learn more about how we can help you negotiate the perfect job offer or the ideal employee.