Before You Accept A Job Offer, Try Saying This

In that moment when you finally get the job offer, it can be tempting to cheer, “Yessssss! When can I start?” before you’ve had a chance to take a breath. But no matter how much you’re jumping up and down or ready to launch the confetti, resist the urge to say yes to the offer right away.

There’s no better time to negotiate with an employer than before you’ve accepted the offer. But whether or not you decide to negotiate, hitting pause before you accept will help ensure you’re set up for success in this new position.

You could say something like, “Thank you so much. I’m excited about the potential to work together. Would you send me the offer in writing so that I can review the full package? When do you need an answer?”

Let’s break the language down.

Express enthusiasm, but buy time.

Just because you’re not accepting the position on the spot doesn’t mean you can’t convey your natural excitement at being offered the position (assuming this is a job you actually want) . It doesn’t hurt your negotiating position to be happy about having been offered the role and the opportunity to work in this company. In fact, it helps your case. Your potential employer wants to work with someone who wants to work with them.

Unless you have an ideal timeline in mind, I recommend asking your employer when they need an answer. There are rare occasions when employers will ask for a reply by the end of the business day, but more often, you can expect at least a few days

If it’s a short window, you can always say something like, “I’m really looking forward to talking more about the position and the opportunity to work together. Would it be possible for me to take the weekend to review the details of the package?”

Ask for the offer in writing.

You want to get the offer in writing before you start negotiating or say yes to the job for two main reasons. First, you want to ensure that this is a firm job offer and there are no miscommunications about the details of the package that’s on the table. Second, seeing it in writing will allow you to decide what parts of the offer you’re happy with, what you may want to negotiate, and what questions you want to be answered before you commit.

Decide whether or not to negotiate, and prioritize what matters most to you.

Well meaning campaigns that tell women to #ask4more can complicate women’s feelings about negotiations. It can make women feel a responsibility to negotiate salary, like ending the wage gap is their responsibility when really, it’s a systemic problem.

As one of my former client’s discovered, it doesn’t always make sense to negotiate salary.

Do the important self reflection about your own priorities, and if you choose to, negotiate in a way that feels authentic and comfortable to you.

Looking at the offer letter, consider the following questions:

  • Is the salary within your market value?
  • What other areas might you want to negotiate?
  • What perks might make you happier or more effective in this role?
  • What questions do you have about the role itself or the package being offered?

Regardless of your approach, asking for the offer in writing and taking time to ensure all of your questions are answered before taking the position will set you up for success in the role.

A version of this piece was originally published by Forbes.