How to accept, negotiate or decline a job offer

Searching for a job can be very frustrating, especially if you have been searching for a long period of time. Therefore, it is normal for you to jump at an opportunity and accept any job that has been offered to you. However, before accepting a job offer you should take your time to evaluate what you have been offered to ensure that the position is right for you.

You may decide that you want to negotiate the offer given to you, accept it or simply decline it, but either way you should learn how to handle these situations professionally.

Negotiating a job offer

If you are interested in a position that you have received but you feel that the offer could be stronger, then you should consider negotiating the offer. There are several steps you can take to effectively negotiate a job offer with a potential employer. First you should research salaries for the job you have been offered to get an idea of what you are worth. Having a combination of salary and benefits that works for you is an important consideration when accepting any employment.

From your research, you should create a counter offer letter or email to send to the employer to start the negotiation. A counter offer should be in the format of a business letter with the relevant contact information on. Your counter offer letter doesn’t need to be long, but should include the following:

  • Introduction: State why you have an interest in the company and a few reasons why you would be the ideal employee.
  • Main body: Make sure you start a new paragraph for every reason you want to include in your counter offer. In each paragraph you should include what you have been offered and what counter offering you are giving with an explanation as to why you believe your counter offer is appropriate.
  • Conclusion: The final paragraph should be a summary of why you think you are suitable for the role and you would like the employer to consider your counter offer. You may also like to include a sentence which invites the employer to discuss your counter offer with you, or simply tell the employer to contact you.

Accepting a job offer

If you’ve been looking for employment for a long time, then receiving a job and accepting it can be extremely satisfying, so congratulations! If you accept the job offer over the phone or in person, it is still polite to send an email to your future employer with a job offer acceptance letter.

Sending an acceptance letter provides you with a chance to confirm what you have been offered by your future employer. You should keep your job acceptance letter brief but ensure you include all the important information. On the letter, you should include the following:

  • Gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity.
  • Writing to confirm the acceptance of the job offer.
  • Confirm details of the package you have been given i.e salary, benefits, job title.
  • If you already have a job state when your employment will be finished and confirm when your new start date will be.

Declining a job offer

Although receiving a job offer is exciting, especially if you’ve been desperately looking for employment, sometimes it’s not always best to accept it. There will be many times in life where it makes sense to turn down a job offer. If the job isn’t providing you with the package that you want, then of course that is a good enough reason to turn the job offer down. Equally, if you think you would have an intimidating relationship with your future boss, or if the company seems a bit financially unstable, these could also reasons for you to turn a job offer down.

Additionally, you may want to turn down a job offer whilst you are still in the interviewing stages. If an interview process has more than one stage, you may want to withdraw before receiving a job offer. You may want to withdraw for reasons such as not thinking the job is right for you, if you receive/accept another job offer, or if you do not feel that the company environment is suitable for you.

When declining a job offer, it is polite to send a letter which will help you to maintain a positive relationship with the employer which you may benefit from if you apply for different role at the same company in the future. To write your letter, you should ensure it is a business format and includes the following:

  • An explanation of appreciation for the offer
  • Explanation as to why you have declined the offer