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Accepting and Declining Job Offers

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Acknowledging a job offer

Courtesy dictates that you acknowledge a written job offer, even if you are not ready to accept or decline it. Take note of the details of the offer, as specified in your offer letter, and respond appropriately.
Items to remember:
• Thank the employer for the opportunity presented.
• Indicate that you understand the terms of the offer; or, if you don’t, ask for clarification.
• A smart employer will know that you need to consider various employment options in order to make a wise decision; you may need to compare the offer to another pending offer.
• However, you may need to make a decision before you know whether or not you will receive another offer.
• Consult Kristin Eicholtz, director of Career Services, if you need assistance handling offers or making a decision. 

Should I Accept?

Deciding whether to accept or decline a job offer can be very overwhelming.  There are many factors that can go into making a sound decision.  You want to make sure that you aren't being pressured into a job, because all your friends have jobs or your parents/friends think it is best for you.  Only YOU can make that decision. Sometimes waiting for the right opportunity, rather than rushing into a job, leads to job satisfaction and low burn out rates.  For some helpful advice in making the best decision, please read: 8 Things to Consider before Accepting a Job

Ethical issues related to accepting a job offer

Your acceptance of a job offer is binding. Don't accept a job offer, even verbally, until you are certain you are committed. Don't back out after accepting; that's called reneging and it is unethical.

An employer should never pressure you to renege on another employer. Once you have accepted a job offer, notify any other employers with whom you are in discussion about employment that you are no longer a candidate. Cancel any upcoming interviews by courteously explaining that you have accepted another job offer. If you are in a difficult or confusing situation that you are not sure how to handle, talk with the director of Career Services.

Accepting a job offer and withdrawing from the job search

Accepting a job offer ethically obligates you to cease job search efforts and to notify other prospective employers that you must withdraw your name from their consideration. As soon as your decision is made, promptly notify employers with a courteous phone call. Make every effort to speak to your contact in person rather than leaving a voice mail message for this purpose. Failing to notify employers that you are withdrawing from the job search is discourteous and potentially dishonest. It's essentially leaving the employer with a misperception that you are still interested in the job. After you have spoken to your contact, follow up with a written confirmation (by e-mail or hard copy, as appropriate based on each employer's preference).

Acceptance of a job offer; hard copy 
5678 College Road
Center Valley, PA 18034
(610) 555-0000
email: myname@desales.edu
March 30, 2010

Mr. Johnathon P. Summers
Summers Fruit Company
1678 Plantation Road
Atlanta, GA 46201

Dear Mr. Summers:

Thank you for your offer of employment as a grower at your Fruitville, Florida site. As we discussed on the phone this morning, I am delighted to accept your offer and look forward to beginning work with Summers Fruit Company.

You indicated that I will be receiving a salary of _____ per year, and will have initial duties reporting to Andrea Caruso. As your offer stated, I will begin work on August 1st. In mid-July, after relocating to the area, I will call you to see what information or materials I may need before August 1st. In the meantime, please let me know if I can provide you with any information.

Again, thank you for offering me this exciting opportunity.


Jason Banyon

Withdrawing from the job search after accepting another job offer; hard copy
1234 College Road
Center Valley, PA 18034
email: myname@desales.edu
March 30, 2010

Ms. Vera L. Clark
Green Magazine
1515 New York Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Ms. Clark:

I want to express my sincerest appreciation to you for including me in the interview process as you seek candidates for your magazine’s Editorial Assistant position. I have enjoyed meeting with the members of your staff and think you have an outstanding operation.

However, as I explained when we spoke this morning, I respectfully withdraw from consideration for your position. I have decided to accept another employment offer which I believe very closely matches my current skills and career goals.

I wish you and the staff of Green Magazine the best of success. I hope we will have the chance to visit at the upcoming Magazine Writers’ Conference. Thank you again for the opportunity to explore career possibilities with your office.


Joy Collins

Declining a job offer

If you choose to decline a job offer, do so courteously, in writing, after making a phone call. Never say anything negative in writing about the employer even if you had a negative experience.

If you had a very negative experience, discuss it with your director of Career Services. A decision to decline an offer is usually based on the fact that another offer is a better fit for your interests and goals. It is fine to state this, without giving details about why the declined offer is not a fit. It is not necessary to state whose offer you accepted, but you may do so if you wish. Remember that this employer may be a contact for you in the future. Maintain professional, courteous relations. 

Declining a job offer (hard copy layout)
If this were sent as e-mail, your signature block would appear below your name at the end, and obviously you would not have a handwritten signature on e-mail; no date would be necessary since e-mail sending creates a date/time record.

900 Town Road
Center Valley, PA 18034
(610) 555-9009
email: myname@desales.edu
March 30, 2010

Dr. Joan Swietzer
Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs
343 Third Street, NW
Washington, DC 20201-0343

Dear Dr. Swietzer:

Thank you very much for your telephone call and letter offering me the position of Assistant Project Coordinator with the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. While I believe firmly in the mission of your organization and appreciate the challenging opportunity you offer, I have had another offer which I believe more closely matches my current career goals and interests. Therefore, although it was a difficult decision, as I explained when we spoke by phone this morning, I must decline your offer. I do appreciate all the courtesy and hospitality extended to me by your office, and I wish you well in your endeavors.

In the position I have accepted with Public Policy Watch, I will occasionally be on Capitol Hill to attend hearings and monitor legislation, so I hope we can get together again and talk about common interests.

Best regards,

(your signature)
Chris Hancock 

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