If you’re in really dire straits with your job search, you might not have any questions when someone gives you a job offer. If you have any time and money to spare, however, you might want to be a bit more selective about the job you take. There are a few good questions to ask when a hiring manager finally gives you a call to tell you that you’re on board if you want to be; after you say thank you and renew your interest, here are some things to discuss.
When do you need to accept or reject the offer?
This is the very first thing you need to know. Most hiring managers will give you at least 24 hours to make up your mind, some as long as several days. At this point you may be able to negotiate, assuming you have some other offer on the table. If you don’t and you just are trying to make up your mind, that’s fine, too.
Ask about the start date and whether travel is covered if you need to relocate.
This may make a practical difference in whether or not you can accept a job offer. This point may also be negotiable, particularly if it’s a seasonal job (you may be able to show up earlier or later than the initially scheduled date).
Ask about the hours and days again.
Even if you talked about this in the interview, it doesn’t mean the offer you’re made with match what you talked about. You should bring up whatever you discussed in your interview. You don’t want to suddenly agree to work 40 hours a week when you only talked about working 30 during your interview. And yes, employers spring this on people a lot. If the hours are going to vary, you’ll want to find that out as well. Ask how flexible schedules are if this is a job which can have a number of different shifts.
If you decide to negotiate, do it on the phone.
When you write an email, a hiring manager may not be able to hear your tone. He or she may perceive you as demanding and inflexible, and decide you’re going to be more of a pain than you’re worth after all. On the phone you can keep your tone enthusiastic. Make sure that if you’re pleased with the salary, you announce this right away so the hiring manager knows that this isn’t an issue on the table.
Once you’ve gone over these questions and received your answers, ask to receive a written copy of the job offer complete with all the information. It’s important for you to have a record of the offer, even if you remember everything about it by rote. The offer is the initial basis for your work agreement. It will form the initial basis for your work relationship with your employer. If you are comparing multiple job offers, it will also help you to make your decision.