Dealing with job offers

Receiving a job offer can be exciting and it is natural to accept straight away. However, it pays to think things through first. Here are some tips on what to do when someone offers you a job.

Take time to consider the job offer

A man sits on a couch with his phone and laptop

Get all the details you can before accepting a job offer

Even if you are pretty sure that you will accept the job, you do not need to accept immediately. Most employers will not expect you to accept or reject an offer on the spot.

Ask the employer about when they need your decision, and use the time you  to think over your options. Make sure you clarify any questions or concerns you have about the job offer before you make your decision.

Ask for the job offer in writing

It is in your best interest not to accept a job until you have the offer in writing. For many reasons, verbal offers may fail to go through, or you may find that when you start working the details of the job are different from what you had thought.

You won't always get a written offer before you have to give a decision. Some employers would rather discuss all aspects of the offer first, then send you a letter of agreement after you've given a verbal yes.

Get all the details

Don't be afraid of asking as many questions as you need to make a good decision. Important things to cover off are:

  • pay or salary - repeat this back to the employer to ensure you have it correct
  • your start date
  • whether there are any conditions for your employment (such as having to pass a police check or drug test)
  • whether there is a trial period (you need to agree to this at the time of employment, and it should be covered in your employment agreement)
  • your main duties
  • whether the employer will help you with relocation costs (if relevant).

You should also get the name of the person you can talk to if you have any questions later.

What to ask yourself before you accept the job

1. Is the organisation one you want to work for?

  • Do the organisation’s goals and beliefs match yours?
  • Is the organisation small, medium or large? Maybe you prefer a larger company with international locations so there is potential to move around?
  • Is it a new or established company?
  • Is there a supportive work team?

2. Is the job itself a good fit for you?

  • Does the job match your interests?
  • Does it make good use of your skills?
  • How important is the job within the company? Is this important to you?
  • What about the hours – are they flexible, regular or is it shift work?
  • How long do people tend to stay in this job? (A high turnover of staff may indicate that staff are not happy there.)
  • Is travel, parking or public transport a consideration?
  • Does the location suit you?

3. What opportunities will this job give you?

  • Is there a chance to learn new skills?
  • Are there any training programmes in place?
  • What opportunities are there for promotion?

4. Are the benefits and pay right for you?

If you have done your research, you should have an idea already of what is a fair pay rate for the job. In most cases, you can find out a pay range from the employer before you even attend the interview.

Then consider:

  • Is the salary offer fair?
  • What is the cost of living?
  • How often is the salary reviewed?
  • Is a commission offered? Are there bonuses?
  • What are the holiday and leave provisions like?
  • Are there any benefits and discounts? For example, gym, share offers, buying privileges, superannuation employer contributions, or childcare?
  • Do you get supplied with technology? For example, a laptop, cellphone or PDA?

If you're still not sure, you can do some further research about current pay rates for similar jobs.

Job vacancy websites such as Seek and TradeMe Jobs can also give you a good idea about what pay rates are currently like. Take into account whether you are new to the job, or have experience, as this will affect your pay rates.

Be careful about accepting offers if you are uncertain about the job

You may want to accept a job offer because you think you can back out of it later - say if a better job comes along. But many employers consider it unethical (and inconvenient), so your reputation in the industry could be at stake.

Always get a written offer or sign a contract before you resign from your current job. If something goes wrong and your new employer withdraws the job, you could end up out of work.

You should also check your current employment agreement to see if you have to give a set period of notice.

Find out more

Careers New Zealand website

Updated 9 Jan 2017