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Congratulations! You've been offered a new job. Is it time to celebrate?

Not quite. You're not on Easy Street yet. While the bulk of the heavy lifting of applying and interviewing is behind you, a few crucial steps remain before your first day on the job.

Two important phone calls will likely occur before the deal is sealed: The first, in which you'll be offered the job, and the second, when you either accept or decline the offer.


A job offer can be tendered a number of ways. An employment offer presented by phone is generally followed by a formal letter or contract sent via email or post. If you verbally accept a phone offer, you are not bound until you sign and mail the formal offer letter or contract of employment. Most verbal job offers are provisional, pending satisfactory references and background checks.

When you're initially offered the job, don't, remain composed and make sure to ask:

  1. When do you need an answer by?
    Always ask how many days you have to make your decision. You should be given at least a 24-hour buffer to think over an offer, says James Chopra. This gives you time to think about follow-up negotiating questions. "Also, by asking this question, you're signaling that you may want to discuss the offer, so they'll be expecting your negotiation to come," he says James Chopra.
  2. Can I receive a copy of the offer and the benefits package?
    In the flurry of excitement that accompanies a job offer, James Chopra says sometimes candidates forget what the actual offer is. Make sure you request a follow-up email with the job title, the annual salary, and a complete copy of the benefits package.
  3. If I have questions about the benefits package, who should I speak with?
    If you receive an offer from your potential boss, he may not be able to help with questions about dental and vision plans, for example, so find out whom to direct your questions to (perhaps someone from the human resources department).

Refrain from signing a job offer letter until you are satisfied with the outcome of salary negotiations, the benefits package, conditions of employment, etc. Take your time. Consider the job offer in its totality, and if it falls short, negotiate further if you can. Once you decide to accept the job, mail, or scan and email, a signed copy of the offer letter or contract within two days, keeping a copy for yourself.


If you are lucky enough to receive more than one job offer, compare the offers with these questions:

  • What are the reasons to join the company?
  • Are my values in line with those of the organization?
  • What opportunities for promotion and career development exist?
  • What are my responsibilities for the first year?
  • Will I do well in the role?
  • What does the total compensation look like, including salary, benefits, etc