It’s hard work finding a new job, but you’ve finally received an offer. It’s now time to decide whether or not you’ll accept and begin a new chapter in a brand new role.

It’s not uncommon to receive job offers over the phone or by email, because historically, verbal contracts were the norm. While the law now requires employers to provide a written contract, it’s normal to first receive an informal offer by phone or email before the company sends out this hard copy.

Before you accept the offer, it’s worth taking some time to think about whether or not accepting this new role is the best decision.

Things to consider before you say yes

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a job offer but before you say accept the position, there are some important things to think about.

Do you think this job will be a good fit for you? Do you think it will suit you?

What makes a job a good fit? Ask yourself:

  • Will it challenge you?
  • Do you enjoy the tasks you will be required to do?
  • Do your values and the company values match?
  • Does the company support your career progression?
  • Does the remuneration match your lifestyle?

If, after some serious thought, you are happy to accept the job offer, then it’s time to formally accept.

How to accept a job offer professionally

You may not have the opportunity to accept the job face-to-face - that’s okay. Be prepared that it may be offered informally over the phone or by email, and think about what you might say if and when you receive the offer.

Remember, it’s okay to say that you will consider the offer, or that you will formally accept once you’ve had the chance to review the written contract. In fact, this is often advisable; this way, you will have the opportunity to negotiate, if acceptable, or to confirm any small details that are hidden in the fine print that may not have been mentioned during the interview process.

Accepting a job offer over the phone

As a guide, accepting the job offer should follow these steps:

  1. Once the job has been offered, thank the company representative for the opportunity. If you are receiving the offer via a recruiter, thank them for the time and effort they have put into your case.
  2. Ask when you can expect to receive the formal written offer. This benefits you in two ways: it will signal that you will require time to review the written contract, and it will also weed out dishonest organisations if they decline to send you a formal offer.
  3. If you have any final questions, now is your opportunity to ask them. For example, you may want a rough timeline of when they expect you to begin; or you may wish to confirm any pre-employment steps that they will require you to take.
  4. End the phone call by thanking them once again for their confidence in you, and confirm that you look forward to receiving the written offer. Be sure to take note of any contact details you’ll need should you have any further questions.

Accepting a job offer by email

Accepting the job offer via email will follow the same general steps as if you had received the contract over the phone.

An exception would be if the hiring manager or recruiter may have chosen to send a digital copy of the employment contract with the email offer. In this case, upon your initial reception of the email, if you require time to review, be sure to send a response thanking them for the opportunity, that you are in the process of reviewing the contract, and will send your decision within a short time. In this case, it’s still very important that you confirm any details you are unsure about before your formal acceptance.

When writing your email acceptance, it is advisable that you:

  1. Match the tone of your original email. In most situations, this will be formal, and if unsure, it is best to err on the side of caution. Always be polite.
  2. Edit down. While it’s important to show gratitude, you do not need to be overly gratuitous. If you have a lot of questions, it may be best to organise a time for a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, rather than sending too many questions that can get lost in an inbox somewhere.
  3. Use spell and grammar checks. You’ve obviously made a good first impression, and now you need to keep it.
  4. Restate the important details as you understand them, like:
    • Start date and time
    • Remuneration and benefits you will receive
    • Any additional tasks you need to perform before you begin

Remember, while it may be an exciting time, it’s helpful to rehearse - even if just mentally - what you will say and do once you receive your offer. Show gratitude, confirm details, and don’t be afraid to ask questions; keep these in mind, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to your first day at your new job.

Let us help you find the right job