When you receive a job offer, you should know about the steps to take before you accept it. The job offer process has a few stages, and knowing how to handle each one ensures you accept a job with the right terms. Your acceptance should contain a few elements to demonstrate your professionalism and enthusiasm for your upcoming role.
In this article, we explore the stages of a job offer, how to accept it and showcase examples to help you look professional.
Stages of a job offer
To accept a job offer, you should first know what the different stages are. Knowing what to anticipate when receiving a job offer will help prepare for negotiations while maintaining a professional demeanour. It will also help you understand at what point you can begin negotiations for compensation. The different stages of a job offer are:
- Verbal offer
- Written offer
- Negotiate the offer
- Accept the offer
After a successful interview, the hiring manager will likely call you with a verbal offer before sending the formal contract. Either the hiring manager or an HR representative will contact you with the offer, depending on who you have been communicating with.
Though some hiring managers offer a job at the end of the interview, you'll likely receive a call in the days following your interview. When you receive a verbal offer, feel free to ask any immediate questions you might have. This could be a good time to ask about the salary and start date. Prepare your questions in advance to ensure you get answers quickly, which can help you with negotiations.
Feel free to show your enthusiasm during the conversation. Hiring managers want to know not just that you are accepting the job, but that you are excited about it as well. This helps you make a positive impression before you even start a job.
You don't need to accept a verbal offer right away. Thank the hiring manager or HR representative for the offer, then ask when you can expect a written contract or offer. If you're interviewing for other jobs, you can let them know, which may help your negotiations in the future. Most hiring managers will give you at least one day and up to a week to think about all aspects of the offer, especially if you need to consider other job offers.
After the hiring manager gives you a verbal offer, they will send over a more formalized written offer, usually by email. A written job offer should include the following information:
- Job title
- Start date
- Benefits package
Take your time reviewing the information to make sure that everything you discussed or anticipated based on the interview process is correct.
A written job offer is typically only one or two pages and will include a place for you to sign. Do not sign and send your acceptance back until you properly review everything included and agree to the terms. If you currently have a job, make sure the start date gives you enough time to offer at least two weeks' notice with your current employer, which is a professional courteously.
Negotiate the offer
If you were expecting a higher salary, additional benefits or a different start date, call or email the hiring manager or HR representative. Employers typically expect you to negotiate some aspects of your contract, and this is a common part of the hiring process.
When negotiating any aspect of your offer, it's important to perform some research. Check the average salaries for the job title in your area, and consider what you're currently making. If you believe your experience or skills warrant a higher salary, you can explain this during your negotiation.
One negotiation tactic is to ask for a slightly higher salary than you want, then explain why you believe you deserve that salary, such as your education or experience levels. The hiring manager may accept it, which benefits you, or they could offer you a rate in your desired range. If the employer can't negotiate your salary, see if they can offer other benefits, like more vacation time or other aspects that are important to you.
In some cases, the employer may not be able to negotiate due to budget constraints or other factors. In this case, you have the option to accept the offer as is or decline it. It can be helpful to see what your career path could be like at the company. If you have plenty of room for professional growth, you might want to accept the offer.
Accept the offer
When you're ready, sign the offer and send it back to the hiring manager. If you negotiated any aspects of the contract, make sure you get a new offer letter that reflects the changes. Typically, you'll get the letter as an email attachment, which you can sign electronically, or you can print out the attachment, physically sign it, scan it and send it back. Keep a signed copy for your files.
How to accept a job offer through email
It is important to write a clear, concise and professional job offer acceptance email to set a positive tone for your work with the company. You can write an acceptance email using these steps:
- Create a clear subject line. Your acceptance email should include a concise subject line that indicates why you are writing. A simple subject line could be “Accepting [Company Name's] Offer—[Your Name].” This quick line informs the recipient of what your message is about and that you are the sender.
- Address the letter to the appropriate party. In almost all cases, you should draft the letter to the person who sent you the offer letter. If you received your acceptance letter via email, you can simply respond to the email with your acceptance.
- Thank the addressee for the offer. An acceptance letter is an opportunity to thank the employer for not only interviewing with you but also for giving you the chance to work with the company. Consider the acceptance letter as another way to express your gratitude and enthusiasm for your upcoming employment.
- Agree to the list and terms of employment. An acceptance email should be brief and to the point, but it can be helpful to list the terms of employment that you and your employer have agreed to in your message. You can state that you accept the compensation items, such as salary, benefits and paid time off, as well as the start date.
- Sign the email. Complete your acceptance email with a short signature. Thank the employer again for the opportunity and sign your name at the end.
Acceptance email template
While an email is often a more conversational method of communication, you should still clearly and professionally structure your email. You can use this template as a guideline when drafting your acceptance email:
Subject line: [Your Name] – Offer Acceptance
Dear [Hiring Manager or Supervisor's Name],
I am pleased to formally accept the offered position as [position] with [company]. Thank you for the opportunity.
As the offer letter displays and as we previously discussed on the phone, I accept the starting salary of [offered salary] with the availability of benefits after [number of months].
I look forward to starting on [start date]. If you require any additional information from me before then, please let me know. You can reach me by phone at [your phone number] or by email at [your email address].
Looking forward to meeting the team and getting started in the new role.
Acceptance email example
There are many acceptable ways to format your acceptance email as long as it includes the necessary information. Here is a sample of an acceptance email with the above template:
Subject line: Rebecca Cruthers - Offer Acceptance
Good morning Sarah,
I am pleased to accept the offered position as the Senior Manager of Janitorial Services with Luton Gatwick LLC. Thank you for the opportunity.
As the offer letter displays and as we previously discussed on the phone, I accept the starting salary of $45,000 with the availability of benefits after three months.
I look forward to starting on March 14th. If you require any additional information from me before then, please let me know. You can reach me by phone at 647-584-8383 or by email at email@example.com.
Looking forward to meeting the team and getting started in the new role.