When someone offers you a job, don’t answer right away. Take these five steps before you make a commitment.

After a challenging job search, you finally received the call you’ve been waiting for! Your interviewers liked the potential they saw in you, and a few days after your final meeting, they picked up the phone to tell you the good news: You’re the one they want. They’d like to offer you the position and they hope you’ll accept their terms and start working as soon as possible.

You may be pleased and flattered by the offer, but before you say yes, make sure you pause and take these five critical steps. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Keep a cool head

Whatever you do, don’t let the excitement of the moment push you into a hasty decision. Your employers will probably discuss your candidacy in glowing terms and tell you how happy they were to meet you and how optimistic they feel about bringing you onboard. They’ve already decided that you’ll make a great addition to the team, and they’ll probably enjoy sharing this with you. But don’t get carried away. Accepting a job can be a major life decision, and before you say yes, you have the best possible opportunity to negotiate the terms of your agreement.

2. Say thank you

Before you get down to business and start talking about the terms of your employment, thank your potential managers for the offer. Saying thank you won’t lock you into a commitment — it’s just a pleasant and professional way of showing respect and gratitude.

3. Be honest about their salary offer

Expect your potential employers to include a clear annual or hourly salary rate in their informal offer. They should also include a clear explanation of your basic insurance benefits, commission details and bonus rates with the intention of listing these again in a formal written offer later on. But be aware that they may not do this and may expect you to speak first and clearly state the preferred terms of your employment. If you’ve done your research and have an answer ready, feel free to share your terms. But if not, don’t speak until you’re ready.

4. Ask for some time to think about your decision

No matter the terms of your employment, and no matter who speaks first during your negotiation process, ask for at least 24 hours before you provide your official answer. This will give you time to discuss your decision with your friends and family, and it will give you the time to conduct some research into the standard salary and benefit rates for this type of position if you haven’t done this already.

5. Consider your current position

If your current position involves an “at-will” agreement between you and your employers, then legally, you’re free to walk away at any time for any reason. But for the sake of courtesy and professionalism, it’s a good idea to give your employers two weeks’ notice before you walk away. Your new managers will probably factor this two-week period into your start date, but if they don’t, you’ll need to make this request on your own. Make sure you leave your previous employer on good terms, and make sure you’re satisfied with your formal written offer before you sever your existing ties.

Jenny Treanor is a career advisor and job search expert who provides consultation for staffing firms, hiring managers and job seekers across every industry. Her blogs and articles appear regularly on LiveCareer, home of America’s #1 Resume Builder.


  1. Russell B.

    This article is spot on. I know too many people who have ended up with regrets after taking an offer too soon. Don’t be confused– it’s not an “offer”! It’s an exchange of work for fair and acceptable payment. If the employer won’t pay, just walk away.

  2. AndyJ14

    Some time you need to take spot decision and for that case how you will be think about your offer..


  3. Business Plan Mentor

    Don’t be afraid to negotiate. The employer expects it and usually throws out a lower salary expecting the candidate to counter offer.

  4. Catherine Jules

    Very comprehensible tips. Finding a job is quite difficult nowadays, especially to uneducated people. That’s why as long as there’s an opportunity, grab the chance. But in taking a job, also consider your needs and the questions, “Can it support my daily needs?” or “Would i be able to succeed in this job?”. That’s just some factors that crosses our minds every time there’s a job offering. Just assess yourself and you skills. If it fits you, then why not? For me, the salary doesn’t matter at all because you can demand for an increase if you perform your job well. The important thing is the experience and the knowledge you earn. Just be thankful that you still have the chance to work and support your basic needs in life. Not all people are lucky to find a job. Thanks!

  5. Kara Johanson

    When accepting a job offer, you need to get every detail of the job offer first. Second you ask any outstanding questions, third, evaluate the salary and benefits because great benefits package can make up for a lower salary, especially if you’re saving money on health care, allowed to work a flexible schedule, or getting more vacation time than you’d anticipated. Fourth, you should consider the workplace culture. Fifth, listen to your gut and lastly, Ask for a time to think it over before saying yes. This is especially important if you’re not 100 percent sure you want to take the job.

  6. Rory B. Bellows

    what if I name my salary, the offer is accepted, and then I get a better offer from somewhere else? Am I obligated to follow through with the first employer?

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