Being offered a job
So, you have been offered a job - congratulations!
However accepting a new job can be a daunting step, especially if it is a big change in your career. It is important to handle job offers carefully, especially if you have interviewed for other jobs and are still waiting for the results.
This section gives guidance on the various different situations you might face when accepting job offers:
If the job matches your requirements then it is likely you will want to accept the offer and you’ll then move onto the referencing stage. If unsure about anything contained in the offer, you are advised, before accepting, to check the details.
If you have any other job applications outstanding, no matter what stage they are at, it is important to write a withdrawal of application letter or email at the earliest convenience. This will ensure you maintain a professional reputation with the respective organisations which may help you in your professional life in future e.g. if you had to do business with them or applied for a role in the future.
You like the job that has been offered but have other applications outstanding for jobs that have a lot of appeal. It is great to have more than one option but this can cause a dilemma.
You could ask the employer for a little more time to consider the job offer but most employers will want an answer within a couple of days. There is also the danger of them questioning your commitment to the role. It is important to balance your interest in other roles with your job offer and you may reach a point when you have to accept the position.
It is difficult to reject a job offer, especially if you do not have any others in the pipeline. Bear in mind that some jobs, that you may not like initially, can provide opportunities to progress into roles that are more in line with your expectations. If you do take the job; consider how you will positively deal with the aspects that concern you to ensure that you perform well in your new role. However if you feel the job really isn’t right for you it is best to turn it down.
The benefits package is likely to have been discussed at interview but if the offer falls short of your expectations, or needs, then you must deal with the matter before accepting. The fact that you have been offered the job puts you in a strong bargaining position but before you raise your concerns with the employer it’s worth considering a few things.
Check what salary, and benefits, were quoted in the advertisement and compare this with any information quoted during the interview.
Is this a package that will increase after your probation period has been completed or when other criteria, such as tests or qualifications, are met?
How does the salary compare with your current or most recent role? If you are taking on more responsibility then it is legitimate for you expect a higher salary and this would be the rationale you put to your prospective employer.
If you still need to approach the employer make sure you do so in a positive manner, ‘I was delighted to receive the offer but have some concerns about…’
If organisation has salary bands and incremental progression they often have a policy of always offering a specific starting salary, enabling them to achieve fairness across their workforce, but providing the opportunity for them to reward you as you develop within the role. Do not see a lower than anticipated salary offer as what the organisations view as your ‘worth’, it is not normally that personal and is often down to their policy.
Remember that you are in a negotiation and it is important to keep all conversations positive.
Whilst the interview should be a ‘two-way’ exchange of information it tends to be a process focussed on assessing if you fit the organisation’s requirements. In this way many interviewees do not get all the information they want from the process. You can ask if you are able to have further information regarding the role or if you can meet with them to explore the role in more detail. Remember whilst you may need further information you also need to show that you are committed to working for them. You will never get a full view of a role or organisation until you start work; it is always a bit of a leap of faith!
You should be clear about what references and other pre-employment checks the organisation will be requesting. You are advised to resign from your current post only when you have confirmation that you have passed all checks and the offer is now ‘unconditional.’
You may be confident that the clearances will pass without concern, and would therefore be confident to resign without these being in place. This is your choice, just remember in making this decision that the employer can withdraw a conditional offer of employment if they deem a clearance to be unsatisfactory.
You are also advised to have your offer of employment, including the terms and condition, in writing prior to resigning from your current post. Depending on your relationship with your current employer whilst awaiting for clearances to be gained you may wish to verbally inform your employer that you have a job offer. Your employer will appreciate this, however you need to consider if this will compromise you in any way.
If your interview was a genuine exchange of information then hopefully most of your questions or concerns would have been dealt with at that time. However, if you still need to approach the employer make sure you do so in a positive manner, ‘I was delighted to receive the offer but have some concerns / would like more information about…’
Referencing and other checks
After you have been offered a job most employers will commence their referencing procedures. This section provides some guidance on the common references requested along with some top tips on how to help the process along.
The most important advice is to ensure that you:
- Know what references they are requesting
- Ensure that you provide any additional information swiftly
- Contact your referees to ensure that they expecting the reference request
- Keep in touch with your recruiting manager throughout the referencing process
Here are some tips about various aspects of employment checks:
It is a legal requirement for employers to see proof of your eligibility to work in the UK. Employers may request to view and take copies of your original passport, visa documents, birth / adoption / marriage certificates and National Insurance number documentation to ensure you are eligible to work in the UK.
If you do not have a passport there are other documents that constitute suitable proof of eligibility. The GOV.UK page on employees’ rights to work in the UK provides guidance.
Perhaps the most common pre-employment references consists of contacting the referees mentioned when you applied for the position and checking the references are satisfactory. It is a good idea to check that the contact details of the referees are correct and inform the employer if they are not. You should always provide valid previous / current employment and / or education references, providing the business contact addresses and the referee should have been your line manager or for education your head of year, department or tutor. Most employers will not accept personal or character references.
If the job you have been offered requires specific educational qualifications (i.e. a degree) or registration with a professional society (e.g. Chartered member of the CIPD) then the employer is likely to ask to see original certificates and registrations to back this up.
It is increasingly common for organisations to carry out a pre-employment health assessment on candidates with conditional job offers. This clearance usually consists of a questionnaire or could be a full medical assessment by an occupational health nurse. This questionnaire may be followed up by a telephone call or appointment with the organisations’ occupational health service if a health condition requires further consideration. The health assessment is normally designed to ensure that the type of work you are apply for would not put you are risk or damage your health in any way, or to identify any reasonable adjustments that the work place may need to consider.
The law requires appropriate checks be carried out to ensure that staff are not appointed to positions of trust where they could exploit children or vulnerable groups entrusted to their care. This will only be applicable to certain posts. The disclosure and barring service (DBS) check is carried out by the new employer with your consent. The disclosure and barring service do charge for this check but this is almost always paid by the employer.
Last updated: October 2019