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How to Accept a Job Offer

How to Accept a Job Offer

Job hunting can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming responsibilities of a healthcare job seeker, so it’s important to learn how to accept a job offer professionally when the time comes.

You've been searching for weeks, or possibly months, for a new position for higher pay, a better location, better benefits, or something else. No matter what your reasons for leaving are, it feels great when you finally start getting offers for the positions you've been working so hard to attain. But don't put the cart before the horse when it comes to a major decision like this. Negotiating a job offer and accepting the offer means that you still have some work to do.

The goal is ultimately to walk away from the negotiation table as the winner in the discussions, and we’ve got the best guidelines for you to follow when you are trying to figure out how to accept a job offer.

How You Typically Receive a Job Offer

So you’ve gone through all of the initial interviews and have finally received an offer. That’s fantastic news! In some cases, you will have a suspicion that an offer is pending or will be given to you soon by the actions of those closely involved with the process. For instance, during one of your later-stage interviews, one of the recruiters might have asked you what it would take for you to accept an offer soon after receiving it.

Another question might be, “if we were to offer you the job relatively soon, what does your timetable look like for making a decision?” These are all questions that are designed to help the recruiters and hiring managers get their ducks in a row before they officially offer you the position.

1. From an Outside Recruiter or Headhunter

In other cases, if you’re going through an outside recruiter and rarely deal with the healthcare employer or hospital, you might receive a hint that you’re about to receive an offer from the recruiter you’re directly dealing with. In these situations, the recruiter is acting as a middleman between the organization and you — because they get some percentage of the placement in the position.

In these cases, you also have to consider that the outside recruiter is also working on behalf of them. For instance, the outside recruiters who are commonly referred to as headhunters typically make between 15% to 25% of the first year salary for the employee that they are placing within the organization. These outside recruiters often have more access than the individual applying to the jobs, and that access comes with knowing what the employer typically spends on a new candidate and the compensation/benefits they typically offer. Knowing this information might make them leverage some things against you when acting as the middleman, and you need to be aware of it when you’re negotiating a job offer after you receive it.

For instance, if you’re a Registered Nurse and the hospital or healthcare organization is working with a headhunter middleman recruiter, then they might let the rercuiter know that they typically hire individuals with a salary in the range of $45,000/yr to $60,000/yr. When you are working with the headhunter to establish a potential salary that you might accept, if you say something along the lines of, “I believe my experience and training would put me in line with something around $67,000/yr,” they might actively work against you knowing that your expected salary is out of range of the organization.

In other words, they might talk you down from that $67k figure, and hope that you settle around the $60k number which is closer to what the organization is hoping for. Obviously, the higher number that the headhunter helps you negotiate means that they will make more money based on their commission. The key thing in receiving an offer from a headhunter or an outside recruiter is that you always have to be aware of their negotiating position, and consider what they are looking for as well. It might seem like they have your best interests in mind, but you have to be considerate of how much bargaining power you’re willing to give up as well.

2. In-Person Verbal Offer

In some rare cases, you might receive an in-person verbal offer. These are offers that typically happen during the course of a late-stage interview or a meeting designed to talk about the potential offer. For instance, a recruiter or hiring manager might have or be given the authority to offer you the position on the spot if they like how the final interview is conducted. In these cases, they will typically let you know what the offer is on the spot.

3. Over the Phone Verbal Offer

An organization or hiring manager might contact you to let you know that an offer will be coming to you shortly via mail, email, or even directly over the phone. In most cases, these phone calls are just to let you know that they would like to offer you the job, and a more formal offer will be coming shortly. The phone call is typically made to let you know that you should be on the lookout for the offer as it comes in, and that you shouldn’t accept other positions while you potentially have an offer on the table.

4. In the Mail or Email

This is the most common way that you will receive a job offer. Official job offers most often arrive in the mail or are sent to you via email. These hardcopy versions allow you the chance to review the documentation and sign it if no further negotiations are necessary.

Stages of the Job Offer

There are a couple of different stages for receiving a job offer, and then ultimately accepting that job offer. We will break down each stage of the job offer and how you should prepare yourself for accepting the job offers as they come in.

1. Initial Offer

The initial offer is the first offer that you receive when you are told that you are the leading candidate and they would like to offer you the job. Most healthcare companies, organizations, and hospitals will outline all of the things you will receive and fully expect you to negotiate. Because the organization or hospital expects you to negotiate your job offer, they might lowball you or offer compensation and benefits that are much lower than you initially asked for.

It’s important not to get offended by the initial offer because the hospital or healthcare organization is trying to get as much of the leverage as they possibly can. If they can potentially secure you at a reduced salary or host of benefits, then they will. It’s important to remember that you’re going to be negotiating the initial offer and that it’s a process when you’re learning how to accept a job offer. Very rarely does the hospital or healthcare organization offer you everything that you want and you no longer need to negotiate or consider negotiations and ultimately accept the initial job offer right away.

2. Counter Offer

The counter-offer is when you have sent off some of your requests or changes that you’d like as part of the job offer. The healthcare organization, facility, or hospital will ultimately review your changes and either accept them or come up with some other changes that you have to consider. When you receive the counter-offer, you get a better picture of what things the prospective employer is willing to budge on, and things that they are not willing to budge on.

This helps you understand where there is some room for additional negotiation or acceptance of the offer. If you have some other changes you’d like to make or ask for clarity on some things, this is the time when you’d do it.

3. Final Offer

If no changes are needed from the counter-offer that you received, then you would go ahead and treat it as the final offer. If you had suggested changes or asked for clarity on some things, then you most likely received a revised final offer. It’s important to know that offers usually only come in threes. The initial, counter, and then the final offer. You shouldn’t expect to carry on the offer process for very long, because the employer needs to make a decision soon, and will ultimately feel as if you’re wasting their time.

In addition, the room for negotiation will hit a standstill based on what the employer is willing to provide or unable to provide as part of the official job offer. When you receive the final offer, you have to make the decision of whether or not you are going to accept the offer or decline the offer.

Types of Offers

There are two types of offers that you might receive when you’re applying for jobs and ultimately get that offer for the job. Each one is slightly different than the other, but it’s easy to remember which is which based on the names.

1. Conditional Offers

Conditional offers are job offers that are only valid assuming that you meet or satisfy some certain requirement or conditions. For instance, a lot of conditional offers are based on the success of a background check with no criminal background, health clearance, and more. Because the healthcare industry is one of the few industries that require extensive training, certifications, degrees, or licenses, a lot of the conditional offers are based on those requirements being met.

The employer will frequently check to ensure that those licenses, certifications, or degrees have been obtained. In some cases, a job offer will be contingent upon whether or not you agree to obtain additional certifications, licenses, or training as part of your role. In the event that you don’t meet some certain requirement or condition, the hospital or healthcare employer can rescind the job offer.

2. Unconditional Offers

Unconditional offers are the complete opposite of conditional offers in that there are no additional requirements or conditions. Unconditional offers are very rare because employers like to always conduct background checks to protect themselves and to ensure that you are who you say you are and that you do have the education and skills you’ve highlighted throughout the application and interview process.

Should You Accept The Offer Immediately?

In some cases, it might seem like you have to accept a job offer immediately to ensure that you get to keep the job. The problem with this is that you need to avoid these scenarios at all cost, and you should not accept the offer immediately.

It is never a good idea to accept a job offer immediately because you don’t know what the job offer doesn’t have until you give it some time to consider. There are also plenty of ways that you can request some time to think about the job offer before accepting it.

In some cases, a recruiter or hiring manager might call you up to offer you an over-the-phone job offer as we mentioned above, and seek an immediate answer. In the event that happens, one way that you can avoid the pressure of answering immediately is to ask for the job offer in a written format. The reason you want a written job offer is that you don’t actually know what the offer is. They might say that it’s one thing, only for you to realize later on that you missed out on certain parts of the compensation, benefits, or other criteria.

When you ask for a written job offer, you then have the time to review the job offer and make sure that you’re satisfied with everything or to seek clarity and other additions to the job offer.

Even though you want some time to consider the job offer, you don’t want to take a long time to respond either. You shouldn’t wait more than 48 hours to respond to a job offer. In many cases, the employer or recruiter will also give you a timetable so you can have a better understanding of when you need to provide an answer.

Another important reason for not answering the job offer immediately is to allow you time to take notes and ensure that what you want out of the position is in the job offer and that the job is going to be the correct fit for you.

You don’t want to wait more than 48 hours to respond to a job offer because it creates the impression that you’re attempting to field other job offers by using the current job offer as leverage with other companies that you’re interested in, or that you’re simply not interested in working for the offering hospital or healthcare facility.

If you like the offer but want to negotiate some things, then you still need to reply within 48 hours. The key is that you have to reply within 48 hours for all responses. It doesn’t matter if you plan on declining the job offer — it’s important to be courteous and respond within an appropriate time.

Avoid providing an immediate response to a job offer and ask for additional time to review it and get back to them.

What Do You Do If You have Multiple Job Offers?

One question you might have on how to accept a job offer is when you have multiple job offers to consider. Figuring out how to accept a job offer when you have multiple job offers is one of the hardest things you can possibly imagine because you can imagine working for each one.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the ability to potentially accept a job offer from multiple companies or hospitals, then you need to be careful with your negotiations with each to determine which is a more attractive fit for you. There are several helpful critical questions that you can ask yourself to help narrow down the job that you want to pursue. You want to try and weigh the jobs to determine which one fits more closely with what you’re looking for in a career. Which job will offer you more growth opportunities and chances to become a more well-rounded healthcare worker.

Is one of the jobs more closely aligned with a dream position, or is it the safer option at this point in your career? Which hospital or healthcare facility did you feel a greater connection to, or which one felt like you would fit in more? When all else fails, when it comes time to accept a job offer you want to go with your gut feeling. Your instincts will help guide you along the path that you should most likely take based on your own personal and career goals. Once you’ve decided which job you want to pursue, you can begin negotiating how you’re going to accept a job offer that they’ve provided you.

How to Accept a Job Offer:

1. Show Gratitude & Respect

It may seem obvious, but when you're chosen for the job, you ought to be thankful and excited to get started. Companies spend thousands of dollars trying to fill just one position, so it goes a long way to building a healthy relationship with your new employer when you appear to be grateful for the opportunity, even if it doesn't really phase you. Even if you don’t intend to accept the position, it’s important to show gratitude and be respectful in how you interact with them.

This simple step will make them even more sure they want to put you on their payroll, and will push the salary negotiations further in your favor. In the event that you don’t want to accept the position, you want to maintain a good relationship with them in case you change your mind down the road and ultimately apply to other positions in the future. Be respectful and give them an answer quickly. If you intend on accepting the position, dispel any doubts they may still be having and make them feel secure in their decision. They don't want to start the process over to find someone else who fits well.

2. Ask for a Formal Letter

Whether it’s electronic or written, you want the offer in writing, including all relevant information to the position. Formal job offers may or may not include a start date and salary, or it may still be in need of negotiating. This serves a very important purpose as it (1) ensures all parties involved are on the same page and (2) serves as a sign of commitment from the employer that they're serious about bringing you on. As we mentioned earlier, the last thing you want to happen is to assume something about the position or the job offer, and then be proven wrong later when you officially start.

For all parties involved, you want to make sure that you get a formal letter for the job offer.

If the employer is acting as if the world will end if you don't give them a response immediately, take that as a sign to take a step back and re-evaluate your options. If they're trying to pressure you into making a hasty choice on a life-changing decision, what do you think they'll be like once you start. If you have a personal life, you can pretty much kiss it goodbye. As we’ll cover later on, this is referred to as a red flag and is a pretty good indication that you shouldn’t accept the job offer and should ultimately decline the position.

Regardless, be safe when transitioning from one position to the next by getting it in writing.

3. Ask the Right Questions

After you've received your written offer, make sure to go through it with a fine-toothed comb. What you may have discussed about the position in the past with them may not be what's reflected in the official offer. Before giving your response to the prospective employer, make note of any points that aren't consistent with what you were expecting and bring them to the employer's attention.

It's important to be thorough here to avoid any curve balls in the future, so don't skimp on the details! List questions about work hours, vacation/sick day, paid time off, and other benefits if there is any ambiguity in the mix. Making assumptions about anything can lead to undesirable situations in the future.

Part of asking the right questions is asking the important questions. Some of the important questions you should ask yourself relate to the job, the work environment, the role you would have within the organization, and details about the job and compensation. These questions will also help you ensure that you’re able to negotiate the job offer properly.

The best questions to ask yourself when you are reviewing the job offer are:

  • What is the timetable on the offer negotiation process?
  • When do you have to make a decision on the offer or get back to them?
  • Was this the job offer you were looking for?
  • Will this job help you to improve your skills?
  • Will this job meet your organizational fit goals?
  • Will this job challenge you in ways you want?
  • Is the job description clear?
  • Is it clear what you will be doing each day?
  • Do you see clear organization structure? (You know who you report to?)
  • What are your expected hours and days?
  • What are the specific performance goals and metrics you will be measured against?
  • When is the start date?
  • Does your salary reflect your experience, education, skills, training, certifications, and licenses?
  • Is your salary competitive with the same role in the surrounding area?
  • Will you have the ability to receive training or additional skills as part of your employment?
  • Will the expected salary be enough for you to cover your normal expenses and take care of you or your family?
  • What benefits will you be given?
  • Is there any type of bonus structure?
  • What is the expected performance review period and how often do those performance reviews happen?
  • What type of benefits or salary increases should be expected, and at what interval will they occur?
  • What red flags are there to avoid?

Asking these questions help you get a better picture of what the job offer entails, what you should expect in the role, and what additional things you should sleek clarity on. Each one of these questions is critical in making sure that you accept a job offer with the best negotiation position.

4. Red Flags to Avoid

Sure, it feels great that you just got a job offer, but there are certain warning signs that you should look for before responding. Were you expecting to get the offer, or was it seemingly at random? If so, you may want to take a step back to gather your thoughts and figure out what your next move will be. If the employer is quick to offer you the position, there's usually a reason.

It could be that they are short staffed and need someone ASAP. If that's the case, be sure to use it to your advantage when it comes time to negotiate your salary. In most cases, the employer will go through the necessary steps of writing a detailed job offer that you'll receive via mail or email that reiterates the position, expected duties, benefits, company policies, and other information pertinent to you.

Other reasons for quick and unexpected job offers are more sinister in nature. Scammers use job boards all the time, tempting people with seemingly too-good-to-be-true opportunities, that many still take the bait on. Don't be one of those! If you get a job offer that seems unprofessional and/or unwarranted, do some quick research on who they claim to be. Most job seekers have become keen to these scams and a quick Google search of their emails address can take you to posts where others have reported getting similar emails. Most importantly, do not respond to these kinds of emails until you have more information to go on!

5. Send a Thank You Letter or Email

Once you receive a job offer, the next thing that you want to do is to send a thank you letter or send a thank you email. This is another opportunity for you to once again express your appreciation for their consideration of you and the position. It also helps you remind them that you’re going to take a couple of days to review the job offer and get back to them.

If you are hoping to renegotiate some of the things on the salary, you still want to send a thank you letter or thank you email to ensure that you at least start out the negotiation process on the right foot by showcasing your gratitude.

When you send the thank you letter, it’s important to highlight what your timeline is going to be for reviewing the job offer. This allows the recruiter or employer to know what your intentions are, and give them a reasonable timeline as to when they should expect to hear back from you.

We have put together an example email thank you letter that you could send after receiving a job offer:

{Your Name} - Recent Job Offer

Dear {Recruiter/Employer/Hiring Manager},

I would like to thank you for informing me yesterday about the job offer for {role}. I am excited about the offer but would like a little bit of time to review the offer and get back to you. Could you please let me know when you need to have an answer for the job offer?

Once again, thank you for the opportunity and the job offer and I look forward to talking to you soon.

{Your Name}

This thank you email clearly states your excitement about receiving the offer, and clearly indicates what your intentions are regarding reviewing the job offer and asking for additional clarity on when they need a potential answer.

6. Negotiate the Job Offer

Part of accepting a job offer is the negotiation process. As we’ve stated above, very rarely does the first job offer provide everything that you want, or answer every question you might have. The negotiation process is a critical part of accepting a job offer, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nobody is going to work on your behalf, so you have to be willing to stand up for what you want in your future role and back it up with evidence and facts.

There are several things that you need to consider when you begin negotiating the job offer after you’ve received it. The first thing that you should consider is the salary. One way to check that the job offer provides you with a competitive salary is to look at the Salary Trends for the position.

When you look at the Salary Trends for the position, you can ensure that the compensation is competitive based on your skills, experience, training, certifications, and licenses. This will let you know if you need to potentially counter-offer with a higher salary. In addition, you want to do your research on the benefits or training that other employers use for the role. This is to check and make sure that you’re receiving competitive benefits based on what other employers are offering their talent.

The next thing that you want to evaluate is whether or not there are any other additional persk that you’d like to negotiate with your job offer. For instance, do you want flex time, parking benefits, additional education compensation, and more.

Taking notes of the things that you like and dislike regarding each one of these is important to when you plan on negotiating your job offer. Once you evaluate what you want and outline how you would like them to be included in the job offer, it’s time to get back in touch with the recruiter or hiring manager who sent you the job offer and provide them with a counter offer.

7. Provide a Counter Offer

Once you’ve outlined all of the changes to the initial job offer, it’s time to send the counter-offer to the employer, hiring manager, or recruiter that gave you the job offer originally. This officially begins the negotiation process. You are highlighting things that you’d like to change, and they have to evaluate those requests and then determine which ones they can provide or will be unable to provide.

It’s important when providing a counter-offer that you once again reiterate how you’re excited about potentially working for the company, but that there are some benefits or compensation things that would make the role a more attractive fit for you. It’s always a good idea to highlight all of the research you did, because it’ll back your position on some of the changes that you request.

In your counter-offer, you have to make it clear that you are requesting these changes because of industry standards, market conditions, and that you’ve assigned a certain value to your skills and experience. Once they receive the counter-offer, there will inevitably be some back and forth about whether or not you’d be willing to forego one condition or some other benefit. It’s important to know which benefits or conditions as part of the job offer you are willing to part with and which ones you won’t budge on.

When you do this, you can negotiate the counter-offer based upon what’s important to you. Once the counter-offer is received, you will be presented with a final offer. Once you decide that you will accept the final offer, the next step is to let the hiring manager or recruiter know that you’ve accepted the job offer.

8. Ways to Accept the Job Offer

There are several different ways you can accept the final job offer. The first way is to accept the job offer verbally. When you accept the job offer verbally, you will thank them for the job offer and ask related questions like when should you expect to start, when you will receive the official contract, what things you need to provide, etc.

The second way that you can accept a job offer is through a letter. Letters are more old-school, but often come with the official contract as part of the agreement process. For instance, you might include the contract to begin working along with the job offer, and a thank you letter with the signed documents.

The third way that you can accept a job offer is through an email. This is more common because of all the interactions that go back and forth as part of the negotiation process for a job offer. Once you have come to an agreement with the hiring manager and employer regarding the final offer, you can thank them in an email and formally accept the job offer they have provided.

The final way that you can accept a job offer is over the phone. You might feel more comfortable calling up the employer or recruiter to inform them that you are satisfied with the final job offer and are willing to accept the position based upon the contingencies within the official job offer contract.

9. Inform Your Current Employer

After you have officially told the recruiter or hiring manager that you are going to accept the job offer, the next thing that you need to do is to inform your current employer about your intentions to leave your current role. Each employer has different regulations and standards for how you’re supposed to inform them about your intent to leave and the timeline for doing so. Some only require a two-week notice, whereas others require more extensive time periods. It’s important to evaluate the official timetable and provide that knowledge with your new and future employer.

The key thing to do when you accept a job offer is to make sure that you sign all of the appropriate documents to make it official before handing in your notice that you will be leaving your current position.

The last thing you want to happen is to tell your current employer that you are leaving, and then have the new job pulled out from under you when they tell you that they’ve selected another candidate or can no longer move forward with hiring you. Once you’ve formally accepted your new job, then you can formally resign or give notice about your resignation to your current employer.

When you officially give notice to your current employer that you are going to resign or leave for a new position, you can think of it as housekeeping. This process involves getting all of your affairs in order for the current employer and give them all the information they need to hire a new candidate for your role. This might also involve training the new hire for a period of time. It’s important to remember that even though you’ve accepted a new job, you should still work hard for your current employer because you’re still their employee until your last minute there.

In addition, you always want to maintain a positive relationship with your former employer because you never know if or when you might work with them in the future or return to them. Not to mention, you would rather have them as a reference moving forward instead of having to scramble to find someone who is willing to speak on your behalf regarding your work ethic and job performance.

Congratulations on receiving the job offer that you’ve worked so hard for. By following our guide, you have learned how to accept a job offer, and can ensure that you know what to do moving forward with your future career endeavors!


Advance your career. Change your life. - HospitalCareers


(Article / Content Updated 2018)