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Accept job offer

You’ve received the offer… now what?
Congratulations, you have successfully completed the interview process and have received an offer! There are several things to consider before you formally accept the offer.

Post-Job Offer Process

The way in which you are notified of an offer will differ from company to company. You may receive a verbal offer either in-person or over the phone, a written offer via email or a combination of both. Ultimately, you should receive written confirmation to ensure your offer is valid. Regardless of the method of notification, you should always thank the person who is contacting you for the opportunity.

Do:

  1. Ask for time to think over the offer or set up another meeting to discuss any questions and concerns you may have. You can use this period of time to meet with more people in the firm and address additional questions you have to make a sound decision.
  2. Make an appointment with a career counselor to review your formal, written offer. A career counselor can help you interpret offers and provide guidance in your next step.

DO Not:

  1. Give an immediate answer unless you are absolutely certain that this is the perfect fit. It is important to understand that a verbal acceptance of a job offer is a commitment, just like a signed acceptance. It is your word of honor.
  2. Accept the offer with the intention of testing out the position, thinking that if you do not like the position you can quit. This is not an internship; the employer has extended an offer to you with the understanding you are being intentional and are committed.
  3. Make any assumptions about your offer–if you have questions or are uncertain about terms of employment, ASK for clarification. Do not wait until after you have accepted an offer to address lingering concerns.
  4. Discuss your job offer decisions publicly on social media outlets. You never know how your friends and work contacts are connected. More importantly, you do not want to make a poor final impression upon the employer or offend others in your social media networks. Instead, seek out professional advice from individuals in private.
Be aware of when final deadlines for acceptances are. Deadlines will vary by firm and, in many cases, deadlines for the same position can differ based on the university you attend, location of the offer and need. If you feel you need additional time to make a decision, ask the firm’s campus recruiter for an extension.

Note: you may not be granted an extension and companies are not obligated to give you one.

What is the Michael G. Foster School of Business’ policy on job offer deadlines?
Foster follows the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) guidelines on job offers, which states: it is imperative that candidates have a substantial response time to make an informed decision once an offer has been extended. The NACE guidelines for job offers recommend that students be given a minimum of two weeks to decide whether to accept a job offer. Considerations can be found at the NACE website here.

There are several aspects of a position you should consider to determine if the position and company are a good fit. Throughout this process it is important to think about yourself. Do not base your decision on someone else’s desires; consider your own wants and needs first. Ultimately, you will be the one to invest your time and effort in the job.

Line of Work

  1. Does the job appeal to you?It is important to identify what you like and do not like about the position to assess how satisfied you will be in your new role. Some guiding questions to keep in mind are:
    • Will the job challenge you or will it bore you?
    • Does the job you have been offered sound interesting to you?
    • Is this the offer you wanted? Why or why not?
  2. Are you comfortable with the company structure?Each company has their own way of developing their employees. Familiarize yourself with the firm’s process of promotion, reporting structure, mentorship programs and other programs in place.
    • Can you see yourself growing and developing in this position?
    • Are you comfortable with the level of autonomy you have?
    • Who will be your supervisor?
    • What type of evaluation and review process takes place to evaluate performance?
  3. Are you clear about what is expected of you?Each position is unique in its travel commitments, weekly contributions and goals. Be sure you know what the position entails and are ready for the opportunity ahead.

Company Fit
This section is intended to help you assess how you fit within the company.

  • People: Pay attention to the people you met in the firm and how you felt about them. You will spend the majority of your time working with these people and it is important you can picture yourself working alongside them.
  • Values and Culture: Evaluate the company’s values and overall culture. To get a sense of a company’s values and culture, look to their mission statement, involvement in the community, physical environment of the company and what the employees love about the company.
  • Growth Opportunities: Identify your long-term goals. How do the firm’s offerings align with your long-term goals? For example, if you want to do international business, does the firm have programs that enable you to work abroad? If you want to attend graduate school, does the firm help cover costs/accommodate education? Are there coaching programs in place to guide you throughout your career? Etc.

Location
Are you happy with the location of your offer? Is the opportunity located in a geographic location that appeals to you? Factors to think about include:

  • Proximity to family and friends: Is it important that you are near family and friends? Are you comfortable with expanding your network in a new city?
  • Recreational opportunities: What activities are available when you are not at work?
  • Transportation: Do you need a car to get around? Does the location have reliable public transportation (subway/train, bus, etc.)?
  • Cost of Living: Some areas are more expensive than others. How does the rate of pay and your expected budget compare with the cost of living?
This section is meant to provide an overview of what benefits are and why they are important. Benefits packages will vary from company to company so it is important you understand the differences.
What are benefits?
Employee benefits are the extra perks a person receives from their employer in addition to basic pay. There are certain benefits employers are required to give employees, such as social security, family and medical leave, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. Most employers have their own combination of employee benefits that will include all of the legally required employee benefits, as well as some optional ones they will add to the package.
Why are they important?
Benefits packages are important to you because they contribute to your overall financial, physical and mental well-being. Employment benefits can comprise a significant amount of your total compensation package so it is important to know exactly what benefits you will be provided with, and to get enough benefit information to ensure the coverage is what you need.
Types of Benefits

  • Healthcare can be a combination of medical, dental and eye care. How much will you need to pay for health insurance coverage? How much is individual vs. family coverage? Is there a premium that is deducted from your paycheck? How much is the deductible?
  • Life insurance provides your dependents with ongoing income to replace yours until your dependents can live comfortably without it. Life insurance can also provide a timely emergency fund for medical, legal and funeral costs should family savings not be adequate to cover them.
  • Retirement includes pension plans, 401Ks or a mixture of both. These plans are often developed by the employer and are a promise to you that the employer will contribute a specified monthly amount of your salary to a retirement fund. How much does the company contribute? What are your stock options?
  • Professional development encompasses perks related to pursuing further education and/or certifications. Does the employer offer tuition reimbursements for further education? Does the employer offer additional bonuses for obtaining certifications (such as the CPA, CFA, CISSA, etc.)? Does the employer pay for prep courses/materials?
  • Rewards programs: some employers offer additional perks for a variety of areas, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, discounts on company goods, etc.
  • Time off includes sick leave, vacation, sabbatical options and company holidays. How many paid holidays do you receive? How many vacation days? What is the policy on sick leave? When are you eligible for a sabbatical? When do benefits for vacation days/sick leave begin to accrue?

When comparing multiple offers, you should take into account all factors outlined in “A 360 View” and “Understanding benefits.” Take time to prioritize what is important to you and really assess what you want to do. It may help to make a list of 10-15 factors you value the most. Rate each factor on how important it is to you on a scale of 1-5, then rate how each position ranks in every category. Be as comprehensive and honest with yourself as possible. The last step is to multiply the importance factor by the rating to get a weighted average.

In addition to ranking what is important to you, listen to your gut. Are you excited? Nauseated? Indifferent?

If you are having a hard time deciding, remember our career counselors are here to help!

Employers use a variety of benchmarking tools when determining salary for new hires, including:

  • Industry market: average pay at other companies in the industry.
  • Your internships, skills and experiences: average pay for professionals with your level of experience and education (GPA, campus involvement, etc.).
  • Geographic area: average pay for professionals in your field within a geographical region.

If you choose to engage in salary negotiation, consider the following:

  • Articulate and quantify the value you bring to the organization.
  • Do your homework! Research comparable entry-level salaries for the industry and geographic location.
  • Negotiation may include other factors, such as: performance pay, paid time off, relocation expenses, health and retirement benefits, and flexible work schedules.
  • Communicate from a place of gratitude and possibility. Be tactful and seek advice from Foster career coaches in developing your approach.

Resources to evaluate offer:

You’ve thought critically about which position is for you and have come to a decision! You are now ready to accept the offer.

  1. Call the employer to accept the offer and communicate your enthusiasm.
  2. Follow-up with a confirmation email. Make sure to include the position, start date, rate of pay and any recently negotiated items in your confirmation letters. Maintain a copy for future reference.
  3. Thank all those who helped you throughout this process, including your references, interviewers and any individuals who gave you advice. Think of it as a way to maintain your relationship with them.
  4. Inform other companies that extended you an offer that you have accepted an offer with a different organization, thus allowing that firm to move on with other candidates. See “Declining an offer” for additional information.

After accepting an offer, it is critical you follow these next steps. Failure to comply with the procedures below can result in severe consequences from the Michael G. Foster School of Business (such as being banned from Handshake), and cause damage to your personal brand.

Stop Job Hunting

Once you have signed the offer, you have made a commitment to the company and should end your job search. Not only does it reflect poorly on you, but it also reflects poorly on the Michael G. Foster School of Business and can cause the company to be hesitant in continuing recruitment efforts here at Foster. In addition, recruiters can move to other companies and there is a good chance you will meet the same recruiter in the future. This approach will ensure you maintain a clean professional reputation in your industry.

Caution: Reneging on an offer
If you are thinking about reneging on an offer you have accepted, please see a career counselor immediately.

Be professional and gracious when declining other offers. Think of declining an offer as a further extension of the interview process, and thus an additional opportunity to make an impression. You should first inform the employer via phone that you will not be accepting the offer. Begin by thanking the employer for the opportunity and end with an open-ended possibility that your career paths may cross in the future—again, you are keeping the door open. Simply state you have decided to accept another opportunity that is a better fit with your career plans at this time. Do not feel obligated to provide details. You will want to make sure you follow up with an email, thanking them for the time they spent with you during the interview process. Lastly, be sure to respond in a timely manner to give the company the opportunity to find another candidate.

If you need additional assistance, please consult a career counselor.

Career Services would love to hear where you will begin your professional journey.

If you are interested in helping current Foster students with an informational interview, so they can hear about your experiences, please email bzcareer@uw.edu with your company name, title and email address.
*Please note this information will not be posted on our website.

You should also join Foster GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) to stay involved with the Foster School post-graduation.

Celebrate & Share!

  1. Celebrate your entry into the working world and the Foster GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) community!
  2. Share
    1. …your success with us! Complete the Foster Futures Platform Place of Employment survey. Completing this survey benefits future generations of Foster students with career research data and trends.
    2. …your advice and experiences with current Foster students via informational interviews. Email bzcareer@uw.edu with your company name, title, and email address. *Please note this information will not be posted on our website.
    3. …your time and leadership with current Foster students via our alumni mentoring program. Email mheming@uw.edu with your company name, title, and email address.

Information on this page came from the following sources:
Claremont McKenna College – Career Services Center Guide
From College to Career – Seniors: How to successfully manage job offers
New York University – Important considerations before accepting a job or internship
Penn State Career Services – Evaluate job offers
wiseGEEK – What are required employee benefits?