How to Evaluate, Accept, or Decline a Job Offer


A few years ago, I found myself at a crossroads between accepting or rejecting an offer. After weeks of applying to multiple jobs, engaging in multiple interviews, and receiving multiple rejections from other opportunities, I was delighted to finally receive an offer. I impulsively accepted the job over the phone. My excitement was short-lived when I realized the job was in a completely different state, didn’t offer relocation benefits, and didn’t have a remote option.

decision making stock photo woman.jpg

As you can imagine, this ended poorly. I eventually I went back on the offer I had accepted (or “reneged on” the offer), and I ruined my connections with that company. Carelessly accepting the offer, then declining it, probably costed the recruiting team unnecessary time and money. Although reneging is legal, you should do what you can to avoid it.

Furthermore, the average worker spends at least a third of their life on the job… so try to confirm that it’s a workplace that you’ll enjoy. Don’t let a hasty acceptance leave you feeling frantic to leave your new job. Consider these factors to determine if a job is a good fit for you:

  • Know what you want: At the beginning of your job search, make a list of what you are looking for in your next position. This list shouldn’t limit your job search, but it can be a great reminder of your goals, needs, and wants when you evaluate an offer.

  • Salary: Factor in your worth, the market rate, and your expenses to determine your salary range. If the salary is not desirable, but you’re still excited about the opportunity, try using our guide to help you negotiate. Keep in mind, that other monetary benefits may exist, such as bonuses and periodic salary raises.

  • Benefits: For many, benefits are just as important as salary! A company may offer you benefits such as a flexible work schedule, educational reimbursement, stock options, retirement plan, and health insurance. Assess the offered benefits to see how they would impact your life short-term and long-term. If any of the offered benefits are not clear, always ask a recruiter for further details. Keep in mind, that some benefits are also negotiable.

  • Commute: Consider the distance between your home and your job. According to Time, long commutes can increase your risk of depression, anxiety, and even high blood sugar. Before signing your offer letter, figure out which mode of transportation is ideal and if the commute is tolerable. Ask if your company provides employees with travel reimbursements to help with the cost of your commute.

  • Schedule: Sometimes, the salary and benefits package may seem amazing, but you’re required to work hours that may affect your responsibilities outside of work, such as family. Consider any sacrifices you will have to make at home before accepting a job.

  • Workplace: Recall your impressions when you visited the company for your in-person interview, and ask yourself these questions:

    • Did the employees seem excited to work there?

    • Does the company’s values align with your own?

    • Are you passionate about the work the company does?

    • Is strong mentorship available?

    • Do the employees tend to work collaboratively or independently?

    • Is there opportunity for growth and learning?

  • Your Career Goals: While the pressure to get a job can be high, especially if you’ve been looking for a new job for a while, but don’t forget that this choice can launch, maintain, or even slow your career trajectory. Don’t shy away from offers that will challenge you to grow and help your progress your career.

After careful contemplation, decide whether you will accept or decline your job offers, and communicate your decision to your point of contact at the company. Whether you say yes or no, it is best to have a conversation with the employer (via phone or in person), rather than over email, because it is easier to explain your feelings and convey your gratitude. You can then follow up with an email confirming the conversation.

It’s hard to check all the boxes when considering if a job is right for you, but going through this checklist will help you make the best decision for you overall. Ready to dive in? Search for jobs with Skillist now.

Rizel Bobb-Semple