What to Do AFTER You Get a Job

Congratulations on your job offer! After countless emails, phone calls and interviews, a company has finally offered you a job. Hooray! All is seemingly well as you breathe a sigh of relief, calm now that you have an option at hand.

But for many college students and graduates, the job-hunt stress doesn’t necessarily stop with an offer. Even after an employer agrees to hire you, you may still want to wait on other potential offers or continue looking around for a job more suitable and preferable for you. In that case, how do you juggle both your relations with the company who made you an offer and others that may pop up? HC has the answers.


First, check in with your other options

The moment you receive an offer that you’re not ready to accept immediately, you need to check in with your other top choices. This is especially important if your standing offer has a deadline that’s pretty short, so you need to move fast!

“If you’re interviewing with other companies, contact them and say, ‘I just received an offer, but I want to interview with [you]; how does your timeline look?” advises Lesley Mitler, founder and CEO of career coaching service Priority Candidates, Inc. “If you’re close to the final stages with a company, also explain that you have an offer and ask if they can expedite the process for you.”

It might feel awkward and stressful to ask a possible employer to move your application forward, but keep in mind that you also want to have the best set of options available before deciding.


Second, try to buy some time if you need it

Whether or not your other choices do expedite the process for you, it still helps to approach the company that gave you the original offer and ask for some extra time. But when you do talk to that company, you need to communicate and act professionally, or you risk burning some important bridges. That means you have to be straightforward.

“Explain to the offering company that you’re excited, [they are] a top choice, but that you’re currently interviewing with other companies as well,” Mitler says. “Let them know that you want to make a decision based on all inputs you can possibly have; there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Many companies do end up giving a few extra days or a week to candidates who truthfully explain their situation, though others do not. If you end up facing the second case, Mitler says that it’s still totally possible to win some time so you can make some decisions!

“A lot of the time when you enter the final stages of a job hunt with a company, [human relations] departments take over for the hiring manager or your initial contact,” Mitler says. “What happens a lot of the time is that HR’s job depends on hiring for the company, so a lot of HR departments will intimidate you and make it seem as though the few days you have to decide are definitive.”

Instead of going through HR, get in touch with the initial hiring manager or company employee who first put you through the application process. A lot of people who’ve done so have had their offer deadlines extended by a few days, even when HR refused to let them have more time to decide!


Third, start assessing the offer you have

Even if your current offer is only one of a few options you’re thinking about, it doesn’t hurt to start reflecting on your offer even as you continue your search!


Don’t just look at your starting salary

Your top choice might eventually offer you a position after you receive other offers, but your first definitive offer may actually give you better terms than what you would receive from other companies. The key here, Mitler says, is to look at more than what you’d get paid by the company if you decide you may want to work there.

“You don’t just want to look at the base salary, you want to also look at the entire compensation package that you would receive,” she says. “This includes looking at benefits you would get if you accepted the company’s offer.”

Some of the benefits you really want to take a look at include insurance policies, such as health and dental insurance; vacation and sick days; opportunities for bonuses; and even your 401k. Just because a company offers you a good salary doesn’t mean that you’re going to want the entire package they offer!


But what if the offer is from a company you don’t really want to work for?

You might be confused as to why people would actually hold on to an offer from a company they’d prefer not to work for, but there are many college grads and seniors who do as a backup plan. When you’re stuck in a situation where you don’t have any other offers and your other applications aren’t going anywhere, you might be tempted to keep the offer as a safety net so that you’ll still have a job.

While it might make sense to you, don’t hold on to the offer if you don’t want it, even if it’s the only one you have! Not only are you setting yourself up to take a job you’re not going to be happy with, but there’s also the chance that you’re going to change your mind after already making the commitment.

“There are more and more people who will say yes to an offer, but then turn around and rescind that yes later on down the road,” Mitler says. “There’s nothing worse for a company than professional embarrassment, since most employers would like to know that people accept a job wanting to be at that company. In giving you an offer, companies have put in time, effort and financial resources to determine that you should have the position, so you shouldn’t lead them on if you really don’t want the job.”

Aside from making a company extremely uncomfortable, you can also hurt your job recruitment chances. In industries like finance and consulting, for example, hiring managers sometimes talk between firms about different candidates who show up at their door. The last thing you need is to have hiring managers exchange negative information about you.


But your job search SHOULD stop if…


You’re in a very tight financial situation

Depending on how your finances are looking and how your other applications are going, you might just need to accept the offer. Maybe it’s because you’re quitting that campus job when you graduate or maybe it’s because your parents are no longer helping you out financially, but either way, everyone eventually needs financial stability.

“If you’ve got financial concerns and it doesn’t look like another offer is going to turn up soon, then take the offer you got,” Mitler says. “You might be tempted to wait for more choices, but you don’t want to be stuck in a financially unstable situation for too long, either.”


You already negotiated terms with the company

Even before you get an offer, some companies will negotiate the terms of your employment with you, such as your starting salary, your benefits and everything else you’d be provided with at the company. If that happens and they meet all of your terms, you need to take the company’s offer, Mitler says.

“Never enter into a negotiation without knowing that if [a potential employer] accepts your terms, then you accept the job,” Mitler says. “It’s poor ethical practice to work out the best terms for your employment at a company, but then to turn around and say that you need more time to decide or to decline after they’ve given some ground to you.”

So if you already laid out your preferences during the hiring process and your employer accepts, you need to stop your search and take up your offer. Otherwise, you risk damaging some potentially important connections because of poor business practices.

 

Continuing the job hunt after you get an offer can be tricky, and you may find yourself stressing about how to convey your wants and needs to a potential employer. But with honesty, clear communication and well-thought-out reflection on your end, you’ll end up with the offer that will ultimately be your best fit!