So you received an offer? Don’t rush your decision!

Scenario: You’ve been offered a job opportunity. That’s fantastic news and a testament to your hard work and dedication. Plus, you can finally stop worrying about what you’ll do this summer or after graduation, so it feels great to just give a resounding, “YES!”

But hold on a moment. Before you rush to accept, did you know that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for more time to decide? In fact, it’s a recommended move to take time to think about the offer, especially if you’re juggling multiple opportunities or are feeling pressure from the employer. If it’s a full-time offer, you’ll want to look at not just the salary (because maybe there is room to negotiate), but also the benefits, like healthcare, paid time off, retirement plan matching, as well as “hidden benefits” like discounts on transportation or gym memberships. It’s also good to know what the annual performance/salary review process looks like and how you are evaluated. If it’s an internship, you may want to think about how this experience will help further your career and skill set. Or maybe your family is planning a vacation this summer and you’ll need a few days off – after you’ve received an offer but before you’ve accepted is a great time to negotiate that time away. While answers to many of these questions may not be isolated reasons as to whether or not you take the opportunity, it’s always smart to gather the facts in order to make a well-informed decisions.

That said, when you receive a job/internship offer, it’s understandable (and even typical) to feel a sense of urgency to accept. In fact, some employers will capitalize on that feeling and add intensity to the situation. Some companies give “exploding offers” and will provide a hefty monetary bonus as long as you accept within a very tight deadline (24-48 hours). Others may claim they just need a “verbal yes” to get the paperwork started. Guess what? A “verbal yes” is the same thing as anything in writing, so if you verbally accept you are still expected to honor your commitment and, if you don’t, you may burn a bridge. Instead, when you hear from an employer that they’d like to hire you, take a step back and assess your options. (Side note regarding exploding offers: If an employer gives you a short window of time to respond in order to receive that signing bonus, you should assume you’ll lose that bonus if you don’t respond in time, unfortunately.)

So let’s say you’ve reviewed the offer and all looks good – time to accept, right? Well, maybe not just yet… Are you still waiting to hear back from other employers? Perhaps you interviewed a while ago, heard nothing, and just assumed you are no longer being considered. Don’t assume! That’s where proactive communication comes into play. It’s entirely appropriate to reach out to those companies and inquire about the status of your application. Politely ask if they’re still considering you as a candidate for the job or internship, while letting them know you are still very interested in the opportunity but do have another offer and a tight deadline. This not only demonstrates your continued interest but also keeps you in the loop about potential opportunities.

And here’s a final tip: If you’re feeling unsure or have questions about navigating the career search process, don’t hesitate to seek advice from Career Services. We’re here to support you every step of the way, and there are very few situations we haven’t faced already. Come to us for tips and tricks to navigate recruiting and hopefully alleviate some stress.

In conclusion, when it comes to job offers and career decisions, remember that it’s okay to take your time. Don’t rush into anything hastily. Assess your options, ask for more time if needed, and stay proactive in your communication with potential employers. And always remember, Career Services is here to help!

Best of luck on your job/internship search journey!

By Anne Dickinson
Anne Dickinson Senior Associate Director, The College