What To Do When You Get An Offer: Never Say Yes Right Away

You Got An Offer! Now What?

During the month of March, our blogs will cover the topic of what to do when you receive an offer.  For any of us who have been unemployed, or if you are in the midst of a job transition, the prospect of receiving an offer may first be perceived as finding water in the desert!  Of course, you probably want to say yes and move on! No more networking, resume prep, interviewing, waiting, feeling rejected, getting out of financial pressures – the list could go on!  

BUT, I’m hopeful you’ll be open minded and recognize the many benefits of going through what I refer to as “Offer Receipt Due Process”! And yes, I’m very familiar with the adage of “Never say never,” so I’ll caveat the March blogs with the acknowledgment that every process has exceptions.  🙂

Things To Consider

Here are five reasons you’ll not want to immediately accept the offer:

First, as we like to do with everything, let’s praise and pray before a response is given! Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Entire sermons have been preached on these two verses, but I’ll highlight just a couple points. “Every situation” in the Greek means “every situation.” 🙂  To respond immediately without prayer over it is shortchanging yourself of God’s peace and the protection He promises to us.  

Second, in over 30 years of administering compensation for large companies and 20 years of advising people who receive offers, I can unequivocally state the candidate does not have all the information he / she needs to make a fully informed decision about the offer.  And I’m not just talking about the monetary side of things, but about the organizational construct of the job itself, the management structure it fits into, and the overall organization that it all supports.  MANY questions still should be asked so that you, as the candidate, can adequately respond to the offer.  Remember, for a full-time position, you’re going to be spending the majority of your waking hours at work – – have you really gotten all the information you need to make a fully-informed decision of where to commit your time?

Third, not only does the interview process not lend itself well to the candidate figuring out everything that should be considered, the process also rarely allows the hiring manager to fully get to know the candidate to whom the offer is being made. At most, it’s usually about 60 – 90 minutes of exposure, so while the hiring manager may arrive at the decision of which candidate seems to fit the best, he/she usually isn’t overly excited about the candidate to whom they make the offer.  For the candidate, there’s opportunity upside in the hiring manager getting to know you better.  You want the hiring manager to move from “liking you” to “loving you” to “gotta have you!”

Fourth, the offer rarely is “too good to refuse.”  I’m not saying most offers are unfair or that they aren’t actually very good offers. I’m simply saying that with a little research and thought, the organization can usually do better than their initial offer.  There is usually more money in the coffers.  Their first offer isn’t their best offer.  In our “You Are Created For Good Works” workbook, we offer 3 pages of topics for what you could potentially expect from an offer.  If you haven’t thoughtfully reviewed the possibilities, you’re potentially selling yourself short.

Fifth, even if the offer turns out to be fair and is accepted as is, the “Offer Receipt Due Process” provides you an opportunity to set the stage for future compensation expectation discussions that otherwise may not take place.  When an offer is on the table, the candidate has a positive environment for wonderful leverage to politely ask questions about a wide range of topics, including compensation, increased responsibilities, and organizational positioning.  If you miss this opportunity, I’ve found it rarely naturally comes up again, and if it comes up, it’s usually an awkward conversation.  NOW is the time to thoughtfully and intentionally lay the groundwork for what you may be interested in for the future.  Again, don’t sell yourself short by getting in a hurry to say “yes.”

Moving Forward

When you receive an offer, I suggest you enthusiastically thank the hiring manager / recruiter for the offer!  Be gracious in your reception of the offer (but don’t say yes!).  Tell him / her you’d like a couple days to think it over and discuss it with your spouse and / or advisors.  Ask them when he / she would like a response.   Keep it brief and pleasant.

After that?  Read the rest of the blogs for this March and schedule a call with a Crossroads Guide to get some additional insight on how to maximize the potential you have with this fantastic opportunity!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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