Congratulations on your job offer! Now what?

by Steven Stewart
Vice President at Charles Aris Inc.

Did you ever watch the old Road Runner cartoons?

Before Hulu and Netflix dominated the TV landscape, kids had to patiently wait until Saturday morning to get their cartoon fix. I spent a good portion of my childhood watching Wile E. Coyote chase the Road Runner and, week after week, watching him come up short.

Until May 21, 1980, that is. At long last, after more than three decades of futility, the Coyote finally caught the Road Runner – and, true to form, didn’t know what to do:

Coyote holding two signs that read: "Okay, wise guys, you always wnated me to catch him - now what do I do?"

Sometimes in the world of executive search, we see candidates reach the end of a long and arduous interview process, only to receive an offer and then ask, “Now what?”

Whether you intend to accept the offer or decline it, there are six best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Show your appreciation! Thank whoever extends the offer to you, either by phone or email, and let them know when you plan to make your decision.

  2. Sleep on it! Eschew emotional decisions in favor of rational, informed decisions.

  3. Review your offer with a mentor, trusted colleague, career adviser – anyone who can help you evaluate the opportunity in an objective manner.

  4. Once you’ve reached a decision, inform the hiring authority of your intentions. Whether the news is good or bad, they will appreciate your transparency.

  5. Negotiate in good faith. If you’ve decided you want the job but want to negotiate, bundle your requests into one ask. If your requests are met, you should be prepared to accept on the spot.

  6. Regardless of your decision, if the offer has an expiration date, don’t wait until the last minute to respond. If you’re declining, spare everyone the hand-wringing and remove that Band-Aid swiftly. The same logic applies if you’re accepting. Think about it: If you ask someone to marry you, your hope is that they’ll say “Yes!” on the spot – not “What’s the last possible moment I can let you know? I want to see you sweat.”

Following these six simple guidelines will help ensure that you maintain positive relationships with everyone in the process if you decline the offer, and will make a positive impression if you decide to accept.