Responding to a Job Offer

 

The time between a job interview and a job offer can leave you quite anxious. When you receive the phone call or letter informing you of a job offer, you can lay the foundation for a successful career when you learn to properly acknowledge a job offer. You need to acknowledge a written job offer, even if you are not ready to act upon it by accepting or declining it. 

  • Send an acknowledgment of each job offer in the same manner that was used to offer you the position. If you received a job offer via phone, please follow up with a written letter or email.
  • Thank the employer for their job offer.
  • Keep an eye on the deadline for accepting or declining job offers. Place these deadlines on your calendar for easy retrieval and reminders.
  • State that you understand the terms of the offer, or if you don’t, ask for clarification as this will aid in either your acceptance or declining a job offer
  • Employers who hire talented students know that potential employees will receive multiple job offers. 
  • You may need to make a decision before you know whether or not you will receive another offer. (Please see multiple offers and requesting an extension below).
  • Consult with your Career Services Coordinator or College Career Services Coordinator if you need assistance handling offers or making a decision.

Accepting a Job Offer

Accepting a job offer is an exciting part of the job search process and is usually straight forward but now is not the time to make a mistake. Don't accept a job offer, even verbally, until you are certain you are committed. Typically the employer will tell you how they'd like to receive your signed offer from you i.e. by fax, my courier, in the mail, etc. Get confirmation from the hiring manger if you are unsure. You will want to confirm you new position with a brief, formal letter of acceptance. This letter should reflect appreciation for the company's decision and your enthusiasm for the new position. This type of attention to detail can be a reflection of your professional attitude and the ability to follow up.

Please note: Accepting a job offer ethically obligates you to cease job search efforts and notify other employers with whom you are in discussion about employment that you are no longer a candidate. Cancel any upcoming interviews by courteously explaining that you have accepted another job offer. Please make every effort to do this in person over the phone rather than in a voice mail or email.

Declining a Job Offer

Should you decide to turn down a job offer, you must inform the employer with a formal letter. Even if you have previously spoken with the employer about your decision to decline, it is professional etiquette to confirm this decision in writing. Always be positive, don't burn your bridges behind you. The Agriculture Industry is a very tight-knit group and they talk with each other regularly. Remember you may want to work for this employer in the future. Maintain professional, courteous relations. Your letter should include:

  • Reason for your decision (optional).
  • Thank those involved in the hiring process.
  • Thank them for their consideration of your qualifications.
  • Close with a positive note.

Multiple Job Offers

This is not uncommon for talented students and when the market is strong. While this may seem like an ideal situation for any student to be in, if you don't balance it properly, you can damage your reputation and your career. But before you get caught up in the frenzy, think first about your long-term career goals and how you want to position yourself with your prospective new employers.  If you properly manage the process, you can leave the door open to revisit the company in a few years. You have interviewed with companies A, B and C and you have received an offer or two, now what?

  • Never accept an offer and then back out later. This is called reneging, and it's considered highly inappropriate and is very disturbing to employers (and they do talk to each other). You will also endanger Purdue Agriculture's relationship with the company.
  • Be honest – Let prospective employers know up front that you are interviewing with several companies.
  • Communication is crucial – If you're progressing toward an offer at Company B, let Companies A and C know. You can diplomatically learn more about your status with A & C, let them know your interest in them, and they may be able to move things along more quickly on their end if they have sufficient notice.
  • If you received more than one offer, talking about salary can be more difficult. It is not a good idea to pit one or more companies against the other. However, with some finesse, professionalism and choosing you words carefully, you can ask if there is any wiggle room regarding the salary offer, given your other salary offers. You may be able to negotiate a compromise.
  • Despite planning or extensions, you may have to give Company B an answer before you receive an offer from Company A or C. Many students have a tendency to jump at the first offer. Other students hold for a better offer. Neither is a sound strategy when making decision about a new job. In these situations, you need to listen to your heart. It usually knows what is best for you. Your head will almost always choose the highest dollar offer. Your heart will almost always choose the best employer. Trust your instincts and base your decision on the information available.
  • See out the advice of your Career Coordinator or faculty advisor for guidance.

Requesting an Extension

Responding to a job offer is a very important decision and may require adequate time to make an informed decision. Most employers will allow you a reasonable and fair amount of time to decide on a job offer. Because of the competitive nature of recruiting in the Agriculture industry, some employers may present decision deadlines that are too short (less than one week). This has added considerably stress for students who want or have interviewed with multiple companies. If you are faced with an early deadline or just need more time to make an informed decision keep in mind the following pieces of advice.

  • Contact your Departmental Career Services Coordinator or Sherre Meyer, Coordinator of Career Services, to discuss your options
  • Do not request an extension on your deadline, this looks like you don’t think ahead and may indicate that you might behave the same way on the job. 
  • Request the extension over the phone (not in a voice mail message or e-mail). However, you should follow up with an e-mail or hard copy letter to confirm your request.
  • Be diplomatic and professional when requesting an extension. If you have an upcoming, previously scheduled interview with another employer, you may explain that it is important to you to keep your commitment to the other employer, and that in order to make the best decision; you need to attend the other interview.
  • State that this is a very important decision, and you do not feel you have all the information to make an informed decision by the deadline. Let them know if you need additional information from them that will help you make an informed decision.
  • Thank them for their consideration of your request.
  • Keep in mind that you may ask for more time but you may not receive it.

Withdraw an Acceptance

Accepting a job offer is a contractual agreement, and students are expected to honor the commitment. It is unprofessional (nor is it good for your reputation and integrity) to accept a job offer and then renege because a better job has come along. This reflects very poorly on students and the College of Agriculture and the University as a whole. In addition, an employer should never pressure you to renege on another employer. There may be circumstances that force a student to renege on an acceptance, for instance, because of unexpected family responsibilities – a critically ill parent. If you need to renege on an acceptance, please contact your Departmental Career Coordinator or Sherre Meyer, College of Agriculture Career Services Coordinator for guidance. If you accepted a cash signing bonus, you will need to return the bonus.