Job offers and employment agreements
Job offers can be exciting. Here's what to consider before you accept.
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Check the job offer
It's tempting to say yes straight away when you're offered a job. However, you should take time to make a decision and to negotiate pay and conditions with your new employer.
Important things to ask the employer about are:
- your pay rate
- the date they want you to start
- the date they need your decision by
- whether there are conditions such as a police check or a trial period.
If their offer is made by phone, make sure you get their name and contact details.
Check the employment agreement
Every job must have a written employment agreement that includes information such as the position description, pay rate and hours.
Read the employment agreement thoroughly, and ask someone you trust to check that it is reasonable.
You can get free advice about employment agreements from:
- Employment New Zealand - call 0800 209 020
- Citizens Advice Bureau - call 0800 367 222
Check this is the right job for you
You’ve been offered a job but you don’t have to accept it. Consider whether the job offer is right for you.
Does the job have:
- a good match for your interests and skill level
- suitable hours
- the pay rate you expect
- opportunities to learn new skills and be promoted.
Does the job offer include benefits such as:
- commission and bonuses
- extra holidays and leave
- equipment such as a smartphone or vehicle
- relocation costs if you have to shift.
Is the organisation:
- in a good location
- a place you want to work, with goals and beliefs that match yours?
If you decide you don't want the job, let the employer know as soon as possible.
Negotiating your employment agreement
Many employers say they would have paid new staff more if they had been asked to. So, it’s worth trying to negotiate higher pay, extra leave or training before you accept a job offer.
Research pay rates
Find out what similar jobs are paying using our job profiles information or job vacancy websites.
- Find starting salaries and salary progression for over 400 jobs
- Job vacancy and recruitment websites
Decide if you’ll still take the job if the employer won’t negotiate on pay.
Contact the employer to start negotiations. You could say, “I’m really excited about the job offer. I’m wondering if there is any flexibility on pay?”
If they seem willing to negotiate, you could say, “I’m interested in working with you. From my research and with the skills I have to offer, I’d be more comfortable with a pay rate around $X.”
If they can’t offer a higher pay rate, you could say, “Are you able to increase the amount of leave (for example) you’re offering?”
- How to get paid what you're worth
- Forbes website - ten things you can negotiate in a job offer
- Seek website - more information about job negotiations
Accept the job and sign a contract
Once you're happy with the offer, let the employer know you'd like to accept it.
They should give you a written contract.
Sign it and send it back to the employer.
Dealing with multiple job offers
If you’ve applied for several jobs at once, you might be offered one you don't really want.
It's not a good idea to accept that offer and plan to leave if you're offered the job you do really want. This would be inconvenient for your first employer and could affect your professional reputation.
Resigning from your existing job
If you already have a job, let your employer know in writing that you're resigning.
Always get a written offer or sign an employment agreement 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.
Withdraw applications for other jobs you applied for
If you accept a job, it's polite to withdraw any other job applications. This saves those employers time, especially if they were planning to interview you.
First, sign a written contract and give it to your new employer. Then withdraw from any other jobs you applied for:
- if you applied online, log in to the job application system and withdraw your application.
- otherwise, phone the employer to let them know you've accepted another position. If you get an answerphone, leave a message saying you're withdrawing your application for [position], and follow up with an email.
Find out more
Updated 27 Mar 2023