A job offer might feel like the finish line after a long race, but in reality, you still have one last sprint to the end. Before you accept a job offer, you need to make certain that you feel comfortable with the job, your future team and the details of the offer.

The offer stage of the hiring process can feel like a delicate dance. You want to gather as many details about the position as possible, but you want to reassure the recruiter that you are excited about the job. You want to express your gratitude for the offer, but you also want to gauge which parts of the offer are open to negotiation.

Below we break down what to expect in the final stages of the hiring process and what to do to ensure the role is a good fit before you say “yes.”

How to Accept a Job Offer

  1. Express gratitude and excitement with the job offer.
  2. Ask the recruiter when they would like an answer.
  3. Develop follow-up questions and research salary data.
  4. Send the recruiter an email with a counter offer and any other questions.
  5. Conduct follow-up conversations to negotiate your salary and answer your questions.
  6. Write a job offer acceptance letter.

 

Before Accepting a Job Offer

When a recruiter or hiring manager is ready to make a job offer, they will typically email the candidate to arrange a brief phone or video call to discuss next steps. The email probably won’t state outright that an offer will be made, but it will likely include language that hints that good news is on the way.

On this call, they will make a verbal offer that lays out the base salary, any potential bonuses or equity and other benefits. Recruiters and hiring managers prefer to make these offers on a call so they can get a sense for the candidate’s excitement about the opportunity.

“I very much like to hear how they respond to the offer,” Alexandra Parker, senior manager of human resources at Public.com, told Built In. “I also feel like that gives them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have.”

 

Express Gratitude — But Don’t Immediately Say ‘Yes’

Candidates should not feel pressured to accept the job offer during that first call. Parker suggests taking a day or two to develop questions and gather comparable salary data for a potential salary negotiation. 

“I think a lot of times you get excited, you’re in the moment and you feel like you need to answer,” Parker said. “Be polite, show gratitude and show excitement, but don’t feel like you need to give a yes or a no in that moment.”

Bonnie Dilber, recruiting manager at Zapier, agrees. She suggests candidates take some time to think of additional questions and gather salary data for similar roles in that industry.

“You never want to accept an offer on the spot,” Dilber said. “I would recommend that people always step back, look at the offer, think through the details and do some research to make sure they feel good about what the offer looks like.”

 

Ask When They Would Like an Answer

Make sure to ask the recruiter when they would like an answer from you. Typically, they hope to hear an answer within two days, Parker said, but if it’s a Thursday or a Friday, you will probably get the weekend to think it over. If you are in the final interview stages with another company, the recruiter from the company that extended an offer might be willing to give you more time to make a decision.

After the call, the recruiter will often follow up with an email to recap the terms of the offer in writing. The formal written offer will come later in the process, after you have agreed to the terms of the offer. Recruiters typically don’t like to send formal offers unless it is a done deal. That’s because the offer requires approval from multiple executives in the company. 

 

Develop Questions and Research Salary Data

Let’s say the recruiter called you on a Friday, and you told them you would like the weekend to think about it. Over the weekend, you should reflect on the offer, as well as your feelings about the position, the team and the company.

As you consider the offer, a new question may pop up that you didn’t think to ask in the earlier stages of the interview process. That is a normal part of making a big decision, and recruiters understand that there may be a few lingering questions to address.

“During that period of time, if you’re thinking things over and a question comes up that you didn’t have a chance to get answered during the interview process, this is the perfect time to bring it up,” Tammy Dain, founder and CEO of recruiting firm Rabble, told Built In.

Maybe you got the sense during the interview process that you will be working closely with someone you haven’t met yet. The recruiter would probably be happy to arrange a meeting with that person to help you get to know your future coworkers.

“You want to be able to have a really good understanding of what your team looks like and the people you’re going to be working with on a daily basis,” Parker said. “This also gives you an opportunity to ask that person about their experiences outside of an interview environment.”

If you decide to negotiate your salary, you should know the value of your skillset in the marketplace. You can research the salaries for comparable roles and industries on one of the many salary tools online. By grounding your counter offer in comparable salary data, you can make your email sound less like an ask and more like a business justification.

Related Reading18 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Job

 

Send Your Questions in an Email

Once you have developed your follow-up questions, you should share them with the recruiter via email. This is also a good time to begin negotiating your salary (we’ll cover that in more detail later).

Dilber said she likes to receive counter offers or additional questions via email because it allows the recruiter to be more efficient in communicating the candidate’s requests to the appropriate parties. Typically, the recruiter will not have information about team-level questions, and they usually do not have the authority to negotiate significant salary increases.

“When you send an email, that allows the recruiter to have time to go and do the research, have the conversations they need to have to figure out what’s possible, and then they can come back to you,” Dilber said.

A recruiter will typically decide whether a candidate’s question is best answered with a phone call or email. If you have questions about a company’s remote work policy or its stock options, for example, a recruiter could probably field those questions over email. If you realized that you never got a good sense of your future manager’s management style, however, the recruiter might set up a 15-minute call so the manager can speak to that issue. 

Erica Law, founder of fractional recruiting firm Springhouse Talent, suggests scheduling a phone call with the recruiter if you think your salary negotiation will be more involved.

 

Negotiate Your Salary

When planning your salary negotiation strategy, you should focus on the strength of your qualifications and the value you can bring to the company. Companies generally try not to pay two employees different amounts for the same role, but Dilber said they can make exceptions based on a candidate’s qualifications.

“Generally, the area that a company has wiggle room is going to be more based on qualifications,” Dilber said. “They can pay two people differently in the same role if one person has much stronger qualifications.”

You could also look at the total compensation package and consider where the offer falls short. If the offer doesn’t include a 401K match, you could ask for more money to make up for that, Law said. Software engineers and other in-demand candidates often ask for a signing bonus, she said, but that isn’t the norm for all roles.

During the negotiation process, you should prioritize the benefits that align with their personal priorities. Would you be willing to take slightly less money for more PTO or the ability to work remotely? If you think this company is destined for success, you might focus your negotiations on getting a larger equity stake in the company.

“I personally love when people negotiate their equity,” Parker said. “It shows that they believe in the future of the company.”

Parker said it is important to be polite and respectful when negotiating your salary. Candidates can sometimes be a bit aggressive, she said, which may cause the company to reconsider whether the candidate is a good culture fit.

“You need to come ready to compromise,” Parker added. “You’re not going to get everything you want.”

Related ReadingHow to Counter Offer in a Salary Negotiation


Accepting the Job Offer

Once you feel satisfied with the terms of the offer, you can email the recruiter or HR manager you have been communicating with and let them know that you would like to accept the position.

When it comes time to write that email, don’t stress too much. Most recruiters and hiring managers aren’t looking for a formal acceptance letter, but it is important to send a clearly worded email that gets your message across.

In your email, you should thank the recruiter or HR manager for answering your questions about the role. If you negotiated the terms of the offer, it may be helpful to reiterate the terms of the offer for clarification. Lastly, you should express your eagerness to start the job. You want the tone of this email to be positive, upbeat and energetic. This is an important relationship, and it’s important to start it off on the right foot.

At that point, the recruiter or HR manager will typically email you the offer letter so you can add your electronic signature. Once you sign the offer, the company will then be in touch with details about the onboarding process and any steps you will need to take before your first day.

Related ReadingIs the Offer Acceptance Letter Obsolete?

 

Job Offer Acceptance Letter Examples

Offer Acceptance Letter for Candidates Who Negotiated Their Offer

Dear [Name of Recruiter or Hiring Manager],

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to join [Company Name] as a [Job Title]. I accept your offer, and I am looking forward to getting started on [Start Date]. 

Thank you for all of the work you put into developing an offer that all parties could agree on. As we discussed, my salary will be [Dollar Amount], and I will receive [Negotiated Benefits].

I am excited by everything I have learned about [Company Name] throughout the interview process, and I am looking forward to joining the team! Please let me know if there is any more information you need from me before my start date.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

 

Offer Acceptance Letter for Candidates Who Didn’t Negotiate Their Offer

Dear [Name of Recruiter or Hiring Manager],

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to join [Company Name] as a [Job Title]. I accept your offer, and I am looking forward to getting started on [Start Date]. 

I am excited by everything I have learned about [Company Name] throughout the interview process, and I am looking forward to joining the team and getting started! 

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

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