Student Professional Development Center

Accepting or Declining an Offer

A job offer is usually made to you over the telephone and/or by letter.  Typically it is extended by telephone from the person who will supervise you on the job, and you will receive a follow-up letter to confirm the details.  Occasionally you may receive an offer in person, such as at the conclusion of a second interview, although it’s a rare occurrence.

When offered a position, be enthusiastic and composed.  Also, don't respond as if you are surprised to receive the offer.  However, it is not advisable to make a decision immediately.  Find out when the organization needs you to respond to the offer. If this employer is your first choice, you may choose to request a day or two before your final decision.  If you have other interviews or offers pending, tactfully request more time.  You may say, for example, "I'm very excited about this position, but this is a big decision and I have several more interviews scheduled.  May I have until (date) to make a decision?"

Accepting an Offer

It is important to be professional and enthusiastic when accepting a job offer.  You may accept it over the telephone, but follow up in writing and ask that the offer be sent to you in writing as well.  Send the letter to the person who extended you the offer. Thank them and demonstrate your sincere interest in the opportunity.  Confirm the terms of the offer, including: job title, salary, and starting date.  Concisely summarize what has impressed you most about the position or organization.  Close by stating that you look forward to joining the organization.

Commitment and Ethics of Accepting An Offer

Consider carefully before accepting a job or internship offer. Once you accept, you are legally and ethically committed to that employer. It is unethical to continue to interview or accept another offer (“renege”) if you have given your word or signed a document that you will work for an organization.  Make an appointment with a career counselor if you are having trouble with your decision.

Rejecting an Offer

Be gracious when rejecting a job offer. It is possible that some day you will want to change jobs and may be interested in this employer. Thank the person extending the offer, and give a brief reason for your rejection.  For example, you may have decided to attend graduate school, accepted an offer in your hometown, or taken another offer that you feel is a better fit, etc.