April 30, 2008
Responding to a Job Offer
Congratulations! You've received a job offer. Now you must decide whether to accept or decline. While you should certainly talk to a career services counselor about specifics unique to you, here are some general tips on how to consider your offer.
1) Make Sure It's Really an Offer. Employers usually communicate offers orally or in writing but the language used can vary greatly and can sometimes be unclear. Make sure you understand the difference between positive feedback on your candidacy ("You're our top choice") and an actual offer ("We'd like you to join us this fall"). If the language is unclear to you, ask ("Thank you so much for the call! Just to be clear, are you offering me the position")!
2) Acknowledge the Offer ASAP. Even if you are unsure whether you will accept or you know you'll need time to think, you MUST acknowledge the offer by contacting the employer to say "thank you". Express your appreciation for the offer, let the employer know you are considering the offer, and get back to them promptly.
3) Get All the Information You Need to Properly Deliberate. Clarify the basic terms of the offer which should include information on such topics as salary, start dates, health benefits, retirement plans, hourly expectations, and bar admission requirements. You may also have lingering questions about professional development issues, bonus structures, support of clerkship opportunities, or diversity. Ask these questions now so that you can make an informed decision about your offer.
4) If You Have All Your Information and Want to Accept, Accept! Call the person who communicated the offer to you to accept the position. It is also wise to follow up by email or letter to confirm the conversation.
5) If You Know You Will Not Accept No Matter What, Decline the Offer. Do not ignore the offer and just assume the employer will move on to another candidate. Call the person who communicated the offer to you to thank them for their time and consideration and then ask to be withdrawn as a candidate for the position. Be gracious and professional as you may decide to pursue that employer in the future.
6) If You Need More Time, Communicate with the Employer. You may be waiting for other interviews to take place or for other employers to make a decision. In order to fully explore your options and be fair to the employer who has extended you an offer, keep the lines of communication open. Call the employer to let them know you are considering the offer. Know when the employer needs your decision and be prepared to meet that timetable unless you obtain additional time to decide. NOTE: You should understand the recent changes to the NALP Standards & Principles on the Timing of Offers and Acceptance but you must also keep in mind that the NALP Standards do not apply to every situation.
Contact other employers to tell them that you have received an offer that you must consider promptly. Politely ask these employers if they can tell you where you stand as a candidate so that you can properly assess your situation with both employers. If other employers are not prepared to make a decision, be prepared to consider the original offer on its own terms.
7) After Accepting, Take Yourself Off the Market. Accepting an offer is a binding obligation that you are committed to following through on absent extraordinary circumstances. Withdraw your applications from any other employers and remove yourself from interview schedules.
8) Report Your Employment to Your School. If you are a current student, your law school needs your employment data for statistical reports. If you are an alum, your law school wants to update your employment information for statistics but also to stay in touch with you and use you as a resource for future students on your employer, your geographic area, or practice area.
Notre Dame Law School
April 30, 2008 | Permalink
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