Accepting a job offer FAQs I have recently completed an internship and received a graduate job offer which I have accepted. Having returned to university I feel I should apply to competitor firms to ensure I get the best possible graduate job. What are your thoughts on this strategy? Having completed an 8-10 week internship you should be in a good position to really know whether the job is right for you and if you are suited to the organisational culture. Hopefully you will have developed a strong network where you can ask questions and get a clear picture about career progression. This level of information puts you in a strong position to decide whether you see a long term future with this organisation. You will not necessarily be privy to this depth of information if you start applying to other organisations. You must ask yourself, why you feel the need to ‘shop-around’. If you have specific doubts it is important to raise these with your future employer. They will want you to make the right decision and should be more than happy to discuss your concerns in more detail. If you feel there is something better out there, you need to be clear about what is missing from the current job offer that makes you want to look elsewhere. If you do plan to ‘shop-around’ after accepting an offer you should be mindful of the following: By accepting the job offer you have signed a legal contract so the employer could take you to court for breach of contract. If you ‘shop-around’ and then decide to withdraw your acceptance this could damage your reputation with that particular organisation and individuals within it. It also significantly damages the reputation for Warwick as an institution. Graduate recruiters in certain sectors meet regularly to discuss recruitment practices and do share stories about students withdrawing from accepted offers. Withdrawing your acceptance may hinder your prospects of returning to that organisation at a later point in your career. Honesty and integrity are valued highly in most organisations and this strategy may cause employers to question yours. Your safest strategy is to seek an extension to your offer deadline before accepting and subsequently shopping around. Be ready to justify your reasoning – remember they have invested a lot of time and money in you over the course of your internship so will not want to lose you. That said, most employers will appreciate your honesty and prefer you make the right decision rather than accepting and withdrawing at a later date. However, it is unlikely they will hold your offer open indefinitely and whilst they will usually grant you an extension this may only be for a couple of weeks. If you request longer this may cast doubts on your focus and commitment to this particular employer. If you do decide to withdraw from an offer it is ESSENTIAL that you inform the employer immediately of your decision. I recently received a job offer after attending an interview. The employer has given me a deadline of two weeks to accept or decline the offer. I really don’t know if I want the job yet as I am still going for interviews at other firms. What should I do ? Many employers give candidates deadlines when making job offers as they need to be clear about their recruitment numbers well in advance. However there is usually a little flexibility in the deadline if you contact the employer quickly, explain your situation and ask for a little more time. Make it clear that you are still interested in their offer but in order to make an informed decision you would like the opportunity to complete the selection process with other employers. Let them know which firms you are waiting to hear from and when your interviews are. Try to give them a date by when you think you will be able to make a definite decision. Contact any other employers to explain that you are holding another offer and would really appreciate a decision from them. Most employers will be sympathetic if you are honest with them and efficient in updating them on progress. If you are forced to make a decision before you have heard from other employers then you may be tempted to accept this offer with the intention of turning it down later on if a better offer arises. You need to be very careful before deciding on this course of action (see the advice above). I have accepted a job offer from an employer, but I have continued applying to other firms and now have another offer. I am inclined to accept this new offer but don’t know how to tell the original employer. What should I say ? You will have to be very careful if you are considering extricating yourself from what is, in fact, a legal contract with the original employer. When a candidate accepts an offer and then declines at a later stage the firm has to go back onto the market to recruit a replacement for you – which can be very time consuming and expensive. There is a danger that you could be ‘blacklisted’ not only by the original employer (whom you may want to work for in future) but also other employers if the graduate recruiter at the firm spreads the word about your inconsiderate behaviour. You could even face a legal case for breach of contract. If you do decide that you wish to decline the offer once accepted then you should - Tell the original employer as soon as possible. The longer you leave it to tell them the more annoyed they will be. - Apologise for the inconvenience to them and explain clearly but diplomatically your rationale for accepting a job at another firm. - Be proactive. Never wait until the employer contacts you with job / induction information before letting them know that you have changed your mind.