Great! They Want to Hire You! Now What?

We spend so much time and effort in the whole job search process – the perfect resume, the great answers to tough interview questions, the time spent on networking, the time invested in LinkedIn, and on and on and on.  Then, the happy ending – a job offer!  But, this can be the toughest and the most important part of the whole job search process.

In this guest post, Patra Frame, HR executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources, shares her insight into what happens at this critical point in the job search.  Patra is a senior HR executive with many years of experience in this field and also, as a veteran of the United States Air Force, Patra is Job-Hunt’s Veterans’ Job Search Expert.

The Job Offer!

By Patra Frame

Patra FrameWhen you are looking for a new job, you often focus entirely on the hunt…the hard work of finding opportunities and selling yourself.  Then, an offer or two comes, and you suddenly have decision-making nerves! You thought the job offer would solve everything, didn’t you!

Job offers come in a variety of ways. Some come in writing. Many private sector organizations call first.  If you have been hired through a search firm, they may notify you. However you get an offer, respond positively, but ask for time to think before you accept.

[MORE: Negotiate Your Total Compensation – More than Just Your Salary.]

Always ask for a written job offer. You would be surprised how often such a letter does not contain quite the same information as a verbal offer. So get it in writing!

What Is Important to You?

So how do you evaluate your options? What do you do now?

Ideally you created a list of important issues and goals when you began your job hunt.  These guided your hunt then and now form the basis for evaluating any job offers.  But many folks do not do this formally.

Whether you have one offer or several, evaluating an offer is easiest if you have a decision checklist or matrix of those work aspects which are most important to you.

If you create such a list after you have an offer, be especially careful to consider what is really important to you and are not just related to the offer in hand.

Whether you do a formal checklist, talk it out with a confidante, or work it out by other means, this decision matrix exercise can help you to choose the right job.  Compare each job offer to your current job and, if you have more than one offer, to each other.  This helps you avoid big mistakes!

Here are some examples to give you ideas for your own list:

  •  Uses strengths in X ( a skill you want to use.)
  •  Offers learning opportunity for new skills/technologies
  •  Offers growth and development opportunities
  •  Commute is under X minutes
  •  The position has realistic short-term goals
  •  Boss’s style is compatible with your style of work
  •  Good retirement savings plan
  •  Financially stable organization
  •  Rapidly growing organization
  •  Respectful workplace atmosphere

Some people will also weight each of their needs — how detailed you want to be in this process is a personal choice.

In making your decision list, look for the items that make you successful. Pay is rarely the more significant part of the decision unless all else is right, but the money is way out of line. Good career decisions are those that put you in a job where you can succeed in an environment that allows you to contribute and thrive.

Making the Decision

Once you have made your list, you are ready to begin evaluating your offer:

  • Review the offer letter
  • Check your interview notes and all the other research you have done
  • Look at your decision checklist.  Evaluate each item
  • Add a list of any other positive or negative aspects of the specific offer/organization

If you have much work experience, add a big dose of ‘gut feeling’ to the evaluation process.

Once, when unemployment was very, very high and I had been searching for a very long time, I got a great job offer.  Terrific work in a great bank, a boss and coworkers I liked during extensive interviews, excellent money, even a big title and office. It met or exceeded almost all my criteria. But there was a little red flag. Oh, how I wanted to ignore that little red flag. I was scared because I had exhausted my savings and I was desperate for a job. I fought with myself…but I said no. They could not believe me and offered even more money. But I still said no.

Five years later I met a person from that bank who told me that no-one had lasted in that job for more than 6 months!   And that not one person who had been in that large corporate Human Resources function was still there. Can you guess how happy I was that I trusted my gut feeling about the little red flag!

A decision checklist like this is only as good as your ability to evaluate the criteria you have selected as important. You cannot effectively do this without good information. You must have done your research on the organization and confirmed or adjusted your views with what you learned during your interviews.

But you also cannot make a list with 15-20 items and do a sensible comparison. So try to define the most important items you are seeking in your next job. These should include the type of work and environment you need to succeed plus any special constraints you may have for family or health or other personal needs.

Move Quickly

And once you decide, let the company know right away.  Call and say yes or no.

Negotiate if necessary.  But do not delay too long, you could lose the opportunity or create concern among your potential coworkers.  Then, send in any paperwork they want immediately.   Or keep up your job hunt.

© Copyright, Patra Frame. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

About Patra Frame

Patra Frame has extensive experience in human capital management and career issues in large and small corporations. She is an Air Force vet and charter member of The Women In Military Service for America Memorial.  Patra speaks and writes regularly on job search and career issues through her company Strategies for Human Resources (SHRInsight). Watch Patra’s job search tips videos on YouTube.

More on This Topic

Help! Two Possibilities But the Wrong One Came First

What Makes a “Good” Job?

My Current Boss Made a Counter-Offer

Negotiate Your Total Compensation – More than Just Your Salary

Winning Negotiation Strategies for Your New Job  (

=> Browse the Career Dictionary <=


  1. chandlee says:

    Hi Sharifdeen,

    I think you have misunderstood the nature of Work Coach Cafe: We provide advice on how to get a job — we are not hiring for jobs on this site. To apply for a job, respond directly to job postings in places where you are eligible to work.

    Good luck and all the best,

  2. What happens when you have to take something? Some job seekers have to take a job even when our gut says otherwise. What’s your position on accepting a position that may not meet the needs of your checklist while you continue to look for what you really want?

    • Hi Nikki,

      Sometimes taking a less-than-perfect job is your only option. You need to do what feels best for you, particularly in this economy. Patra turned down a job because she saw a “red flag” that warned her against taking the job. If you don’t see red flags and you need the income, taking the job is probably not a bad idea.

      Good luck with your job search!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Susan,
    I was wondering if you can provide some wisdom words to my situation. After 19 years of work (uninterrupted), I had to go through a reorg last Oct for the 1st time. I was devastated and I took more than “6 months off” before I started looking, networking until April of this year. Last month I was contacted for a consultant role for another major bank. After some reluctancy I met with the firm who had the exclusivity for this search. The job is CONTRACT for 12 months (potential 18 months as launch is for end of 2013 or 2014. It requires that I open my own Incorporated company and become an independent consultant. The project is huge and I’ve never done anything like this before. The pay is a big jump 40% more. Cons I won’t have vacation paid or benefits as am not a regular employee.
    Despite all, I still have this pre-conceived idea that I should have gone to a regular full-time job as my next career move. The thought of looking for another job once the project is finished is overwhelming. I have 2 important interviews line up for senior permanent roles but both are in the early stages for next week.
    I was hoping that reference and background took a couple of weeks but now bank is ready and contract is on its way with a start date for 3rd week of July. My big question is: Is it normal to feel this way even though I got this important contract? I never hesitated before when making job decisions. I moved overseas for a job. Can you share any good advice? I appreciate your great advice.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      It is perfectly normal to feel uncertain when you set out in a new venture! I think a lot of times, we look for another job because we have always had one, and we aren’t familiar with doing anything else. Your new job title will be president or CEO! Cool!

      The good news is that this sounds like a great opportunity for you and excellent money. The only think I’d be a little concerned about is whether or not this “major bank” is expecting any proprietary information from you about your previous employer, and how that might conflict with any agreements you had with your previous employer.

      If you go ahead with this, you’ll need to do some things:

      * Find a good accountant to help you set up the company books and understand how to operate them. You’ll need to be paying employer taxes and have other “corporate” responsibilities. Not hard! Just new.

      * Have a lawyer experienced in contract employment in your state review the contract before you sign it. Probably the same lawyer can do the incorporation.

      * Keep your business and personal expenses separate (a bank account for you and a different one for your business, a credit card for your personal use and a different credit card for your business expenses, etc.). Keeping things separate takes a little practice, but it’s a lot like you probably did with your employer – like using a company credit card for company business. Your accountant will help you do that.

      * Look into business insurance – like liability and errors and omissions.

      After my 2nd layoff in 1994, I incorporated my company in 1995 and went to work for myself 17 years ago. It took a little getting used to (the accounting and tax stuff), but now I love it! I don’t work with people I don’t like. I set the “corporate policies” and set the “corporate direction.” It’s MY business!

      When this contract is over, you can find another contract, or look for a job. Often, employers prefer to hire people who have had the experience of running their own business – so you may be much more marketable after this contract is over.

      Good luck!

    • chandlee says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      It is normal to feel that way before you make a decision. The good news is that if the contract is time delimited, you can continue to conduct your search — and there are no guarantees you would get the jobs you are interviewing for.

      If you are getting more pay and succeed with the project, you may have more money in the bank when you finish then if you have to do an extended job search. More and more companies are hiring this way.

      If you feel uncomfortable accepting the position, I suggest asking to speak to others who work in a similar capacity and who have made the transition. Or choose not to take the position. It is really your call.

      All the Best,

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much Susan and Chandlee. Your advice on the next steps and how this relates to your own experience Susan is of great value to me. I had the accountant and I have reviewed the contract and ask for some minor changes and now it will go to the laywer but seems to be all standard.
    Great advice and tips on how to ensure clear lines between personal and business. I never compromised any proprietary information in the past and I will ensure that this new venture continues with the same path and work ethics. I am excited and you are both absolutely right that is a transition. I spoke with some of my former bosses who made the transition some years ago and both of them have encouraged to go for it!
    My references also felt that this is GREAT opportunity to branch out and start a new chapter in my career. Mnay thanks for your great advice. Cheers and many thanks!

  5. Jobscored says:

    I just want to say your site is phenomenal. The advice and articles very practical and really provided guidance for me on my last job hunt which turned into an offer today. I have read all of the articles and ongoing discussions in the comments and used much of the information to tailor my responses and critical follow-up after the interview.

    I was lucky to end up with a recruiter who must also read your site because the lines of communication were open throughout the entire process. There was an initial phone interview, an in person interview and panel interview and I was told at each stage what to expect next. Unfortunately they didn’t give me any clear “signs” that I was in the running other than each interview clearly running over by at least 30 additional minutes.

    I don’t have an exact formula as to what I did right but I will say that reading the advice here, knowing my resume, the requirements of the position and being clear why I was the best candidate were some of the key aspects to my interview success. For everyone out there reading these sites take the advice, know your resume inside and out and match your critical skills to the requirements of the position. Most importantly be yourself this goes so much further than a canned robot response. One of the panel interviewers asked me if I was a team player or an individual contributor. I tried to give the canned response of being a team player blah blah blah. He threw me a curve ball and said Forget everything you’ve read that you are supposed to say all of your experiences point to your individual contributions so tell me how your individual contributions affected the team. In reality I’m stronger as an individual contributor lucky for me this new role is an individual contributor.

    Good luck on your search and thanks again for all the help. I start the new job in a few weeks.

  6. Hello,

    I have a question regarding the after hire process. I just got a new job, and I put in my 2 weeks, and I my last day will be a friday, and I suggested a start date to be the following monday, which my new employer’s answer was a simple ok. I was wondering if it would be completely out of the question to request starting 2 days after the day I first suggested. My new job has very little paid time off, actually only 4 days the first entire year, and to go from one job right into the other, I have realized is stressing me out a bit. I would really like to have those 2 days to myself to prepare, get some things done around my house, and feel refreshed before my first day. What do you think? Should I just suck it up and say nothing and start on the already decided day, or is there a way that I can request the start date to be moved by 2 days? I do not want to start on the wrong foot, but at the same time with a couple days to myself, I will probably be in better shape to start. Not sure what to do. Any advice?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Erin,

      Call your new employer and gently ask if it would be a problem. Two days is not a lot of time to ask for and they may be able to give it to you. If it is a large company and they have other employees starting on the same day, though — that may not be optimal.

      Good luck and all the best,

  7. Hello,

    I have just had the strangest thing happen to me. After a long, exhausting job search I was finally made a (verbal) offer, in my industry with a good company and a great team. It was about $10k lower than what I wanted for my minimum– and about $15-20k less than what was ideal. At that salary it would necessitate some pretty serious changes in my lifestyle. I countered and received a small bump up ($3k). I then asked something along the lines of, is this your best and final or is there any more room (specifically a couple of thousand more)? I offered the reasons why I felt I deserved more and then was told that they would try to find out if there was more room to negotiate.

    I didn’t hear back that day so I called back the next day to see if they would be able to counter again or if I needed to accept at the lower initial counter, and was told the offer was being revoked because they wanted to pay someone else less. Is this normal? I never declined the offer! And I would gladly accept the initial counter, I was just curious if there was more room. I felt I just needed to ask to make sure there was not more room. Was I too aggressive? Are you only able to counter once?

    — Alice

    • Alice,

      The thing you have to remember with any salary negotiation is that — ultimately — you have to work with the organization that you are negotiating with. If you counter more than once, they may conclude that you’ll be pushy on the job. This may be what happen.

      If you want to follow up, you may want to ask to have a final conversation with the hiring manager — just to smooth things over.

      Good luck and all the best,

      • Right, I think that is what happened– I came off as too aggressive and it was less about the money and more about how that reflected on my personality. I think the company felt like that aggressiveness would show up in the office, and they didn’t like it. It was strange how that one thing could negate the many, many interviews I had gone through and how positively everyone’s feedback had been (we think you’re awesome, we can’t wait to make an offer, you’re our top candidate). It left me feeling like there was room to negotiate further.

        In addition, what happened was in total contrast with the last time I needed to negotiate a salary. At my last position, when I was offered a promotion and raise, I came away with the feeling that I didn’t negotiate enough. I was offered a number, then countered, and then they came back with a higher number. I accepted their counter right away and my supervisor looked surprised that I had so readily accepted and said “are you sure?”. It really left me with the feeling that I hadn’t negotiated enough.

        And after reading so many articles about how women need to negotiate more, I felt I needed to do more this time around. Also, I didn’t mention this my original post, but the negotiating was done through an outside recruiter, who was filling the role for the company. So my dealings weren’t directly with the company. I feel like somehow things were miscommunicated or misconstrued.

        But ultimately, I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I’m an inexperienced negotiater and it’s also a tough market. Is the best thing to do is to just counter one time, and then accept what the company comes back with?

      • I just realized you essentially answered my question in the last response– I think I was still in shock and needed to vent that I just blew past it! Now I know for the next time I end up at the negotiation table– counter once and be gracious about it.

  8. So I had a phone interview with another nonprofit yesterday morning and she said I should hear back today because she wants to make her hiring decision asap. There are three candidates and this position is two hours away from my current residence. The interviewer went as far as to tell me that my ONLY weakness was the fact that I lived out of the area and would have to relocate and become acclimated and familiar with the area. I told her I had no problem relocating but would need a month (two weeks notice for my current employer and at least two additonal weeks to find an apartment and move all of my things). I hope this doesn’t hurt my chances because if that is my only weakness I think I’m in great shape. I am also supposed to hear back from ARC today and this position is out of state but also two hours away. If I get either one of these positions, should I still tell them I need some time to think (until Monday) before I accept? Or should I answer right away? Thanks!

    • Mo,

      A few days isn’t a long time to think about it if the position would require moving…Once you have the offer, you have the ability to ask a few more questions — just don’t leave them waiting for too long. Good luck and keep us posted.


  9. Updates… after numerous interviews. I landed a small part time position with a local nonprofit. I was hired by the Founder and it was approved by the board yesterday. I will work with them for a 90 day trial period and then move on from there. It is a 10-15 hour/week position. During our discussion (interview) he said he would pay me per week. Since this is a trial period should I ask about pay and make sure what we discussed previously still stands? I’m excited and have already started working–I look at this as an opportunity and doors could be opened for me.

    • Mo,

      First, congratulations! That’s great news.

      Ask for a formal offer letter; this will likely provide you with compensation information — so you won’t have to ask for it directly again.

      Good luck and keep us posted.

      All the Best,

  10. Employers not telling what they really want. They play games like, “we haven’t made our decision yet!!” Mean while they did and are just stringing you along. I have been to several job interviews and the employer would say, “You have related experience but no direct experience.” So you mean to say these people had a silver spoon in their mouth or the experience fairy hit them on the head 8 times and poof 5 years experience. Not one employer knows what they want nor do they know what talented skilled people look like even if it came out and danced on their desks. Then they complain in the media about skilled people when being trained by an experienced person in school. Let me tell you an example how ignorant lots of employers are. I have a Business Management Diploma from community college, Condo Management certificate from University, handle 4 condos and rental issues on behalf of my parents even voting and have voted proxy on my parents behalf including deciphering new bylaws in layman terms, 12 years security at various properties. I go an interview for JR. Condo manager I never even said, “boo” to the hiring manager and right away he starts pounding his fist on his desk, he says, “I don’t want you wasting my time, I don’t want you wasting my time!” Then I left knowing that I will not have the job. The next interview the employer says, “You have related experience but not direct experience because you never worked on condo council.” Hold the phone I was taught experience, experience, experience. So you are saying, “You can’t use my toilet because you have related experience using yours and not direct using mine.” So weather I cut wood with a hand saw or power saw the end result is going to be the same the wood gets cut. One JR condo manager interview the employer got upset as he perceived I knew more then he did and started to throw a piece of paper, “Can you point where it says AGM, (Annual General Meeting) do you know what an AGM is, do you know what happens?” He then started to get mad saying, “You are just like a heart surgeon you have the skills but missing that step.” So what do they want? Can’t complain about lack of experienced or skilled people and then once in a lifetime skilled person walks in you reject them. Can’t have polluted and clean water come out of the tap at the same time. It is through related skills we build on to get those direct skills. I am sure these people where once in the same position.

  11. SecretAngel says:

    I always wanted to be a Business Analyst job. However I never got calls for a BA position. I have a Masters in Information systems. As soon as I graduated I did get a Software Developer job ( I did accept a job which was not perfect but manageable). Unfortunately 6 months after working here I was laid off. Now that I was out I couldn’t come to terms with what had happened and the company didn’t give me proper reasons on why they did so. The day before I was laid off I asked my manager for my feedback and she said ” You are sucha Darling!! and your doing well ” . I had this mixed emotions about myself. Now I wasn’t sure of whether to apply for a Programming job or an Analyst position. My gut feeling told me that this was a good break to pursue on my dream Job. So I started doing so. I have begun to doubt my abilities and its getting hard to get back to the work force. Please Suggest!!

  12. Laid off and out of UI benefits. My name was referred to a contractor and they contacted me, presented an offer which I verbally accepted, and I’ve been filling out forms from them for the last two weeks. This has all been by phone and email. They have welcomed me aboard and emailed me the offer which I have not signed yet. Now I learn my clearance cannot be verified from my last job and it may take weeks to get cleared before they will let me report to work. Do I take another offer if it comes? I do realize they are out time and money with the hiring and clearance process and really don’t want to do that, but I have to work soon or possibly lose my house and automobile. I am concerned they will blacklist me if I do this.

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Tony,

      Given what has gone on recently regarding clearances (e.g. Snowden, etc.), I expect that the verification process has slowed down a bit, and it will be a problem for every employer doing classified work and everyone trying to get clearances. That said, is there a chance you can do something to expedite the clearance verification process with your former employer – stop by and see them, show them your face and your documents, etc.?

      Considering the spot you are in, I doubt that the employer will hold it against you if you accept another offer while waiting for your clearance to be verified. Yes, they are out time and money, and so are you. My question would be whether or not you wouldn’t be in the same situation with a different employer? I would expect that not to change unless the new job doesn’t require a clearance.

      Does the new employer understand how tight your finances are? Is there a chance that they could give you unclassified work to do while your clearance is verified?

      Tough spot! I hope this works out for you!

      Good luck with your job search!

  13. When it comes to receiving a job offer I would like to ask the following: 2 days after my last on-site interview I got an e-mail from the hiring manager saying that application is a pproved and we agreed on a start date – 6 weeks after this day of correspondance. The same day I got a “welcome to our company” e-mail from HR with an “employment guarantee letter” , in which HR wrote that I am going to employed by their company on XX date (same dat we agreed with the manager), and also asking me when I would like to arrive at the company headquarter, so that HR san book my ticket (he did not make it clear who isa going to pay for the ticket). I simply asked that I first need to see an aofficial letter from them and then make travel plans. For 10 days the HR person did not reply and after I forwarded my e-mail to him, he said that he was away and that is why he did not answer. I reiterated again that I really would like to see an official offer (with position title, salary, benefits…) before I can make any plans. He answered that they will send it to me “not earlier” than next week…..So, in other words, alsmost 3 weeks after I’ve been “welcomed” to the company I have no offcial offer. There are exactly 3 weeks left before I am supposed to officially start working with them (they told me I will sign the contract on my first work day).
    I don’t feel comfortable booking plane tickets and moving to another country without being aware of what is offer. So, far, I’ve been offered to go and work for them – salary and benefits were discussed only via phone 2,5 months ago… Please tell me, what do you think. Thanks very much!

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