Receiving a Job Offer
Your hard work has paid off and you've been offered a job, find out how to handle your job offer.
Although any job can provide valuable experience, it's worth considering whether the role you've been offered is right for you. You might want to consider:
- how the role might fit in with your longer term career plans
- opportunities for progression
- whether the salary and conditions are suitable
- the opportunities for training
Receiving a job offer
Receiving the offer
If you're offered a job verbally, it's vital that you obtain a written offer before starting work.
A written offer should contain:
- the date of offer
- your new job title
- your start date
- your starting salary
- hours of work and holiday entitlement
- period of notice required to end the contract
- details of any probationary period
Sometimes a company will state that your salary is negotiable and ask you to open negotiations.
Make a realistic opening request, this can either be a specific sum or a range in which you expect your salary to fall. Research the starting salaries for similar posts by looking at job adverts or asking contacts who work in similar areas.
For more information on researching and negotiating salaries, see the Guardian's advice on proposing a starting salary.
To help you get started, visit:
- Prospects - lists typical starting salaries and conditions for a wide range of job profiles
- LinkedIn: Salary - see breakdown of salaries by job title and location. You're asked to share your salary to view insights (this is kept private): this can be from part-time jobs or internships.
- Glassdoor: Salaries - search salaries and compare pay. As with LinkedIn, you share your salary anonymously for access to salary details.
Accepting an Offer
If you are confident that the role on offer is right for you, then don't delay in accepting.
It is common to initially accept an offer verbally (over the telephone, for example) and then follow it up in writing. Be aware that accepting an offer over the phone is a legally binding verbal contract.
You should receive a contract of employment prior to starting work or on your first day in your new role. A good contract will clearly lay out your employment rights and responsibilities and duties. Both you and your employer should sign it. Always keep a copy for your records.
Further information about handling job offers and employment contracts can be found at the following links:
Unsure About the Job
If you have applied for other jobs you think you want more than the one you have been offered, ask the employer for more time to consider your options.
To do this you should contact the organisation offering the job straight away, thanking them for their offer and asking for extra time. Up to two weeks is an acceptable amount of time to request to consider an offer, according to the Institute of Student Employers.
It may not be possible for an employer to give you more time. If this is the case you need to make a decision based on the information you have, which may mean accepting a job that is not your first choice. However, you should never accept an offer if you don't intend to start work with the company.
Declining an offer
If you decide to decline an offer you should do so as quickly as possible and thank the employer for the opportunity. Always try to maintain a good relationship with the employers involved as you never know when you might encounter them in the future.
If you have any concerns about handling a job offer, come and talk to a careers adviser.
You can also search for your local Citizens Advice Bureau to access free legal advice on contracts and employment law.