You Just Got a Verbal Job Offer – Now What?

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This hot, candidate-driven job market means companies feel the pressure to respond as quickly as possible to avoid losing a future employee. Many will make a verbal job offer to avoid slowing down the process to wait for a formal written offer. You just got a verbal job offer. What do you do now?

Express Gratitude

Whether this is the company, the job or the offer you’ve waited for, or not, say thank you. Tell them you are flattered and excited at some aspect of the position you are excited about. Be honest, but you have to have liked something or you wouldn’t have spent the time to come this far.

Clarify the Details

At a minimum the verbal offer should include the title, who you report to and what the base salary is. Hopefully it also includes any incentive compensation like annual bonus or long-term incentive. You will be a little on information overload or just plain excited, so talking through the offer they just made you is a way to solidify the information in your mind. Hopefully they will have emailed you or your recruiter those few items of information, but, if not, write it down as they are telling you.

Do not make your first question about base salary, even if that is where your biggest concern is. Mention how much you liked talking with your direct supervisor and feel very positive about working in her group, if that is true, or ask for clarity on how the 401K matching works if that was part of the offer. Your second question can be about the base salary. Say the offer was $125K and your bottom number was $130K. “I’m enthused about the position and the people I will be working with, but my bottom base salary number was $130K. Let me give this some thought overnight and get back to you first thing in the morning.” Hopefully this will prompt a reply from them like, ”We have some flexibility, buy you sleep on it and we will talk in more detail tomorrow morning.”

Show You Did Your Homework

The conversation about base salary will be much easier if you’ve done your homework. You’ve thought through what your priorities are in making a job change and you are realistic about what the compensation needs to be depending on the level of promotion or desirability of the company or job.

You also have all of your paperwork or records in order before you started interviewing. You’ve cleaned up all your social media accounts, if necessary, hopefully not, but…. You’ve reviewed your credit report and driving record and are prepared to discuss and defend any concerns that may come up. You’ve got hard copies or online copies verifying your degrees. You have talked to three supervisory references, if possible, and verified they are willing to be a reference and they will give you a good one. You must ask them not only if they will be a reference but if their reference will be a good one. It is surprising how many people feel the need to tell the one bad thing you ever did in your career or even your personal life.

Drug Test

Thirty-seven states have approved medical marijuana use and 18 plus DC have approved recreational use but federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug the same as heroin and cocaine. Attorney Marissa Mastroianni says“The trend is growing across the states to grant employment protections for both adult use and medical use.” Notice the word trend. Many companies haven’t updated their drug screening policies or taken a position on off-hours use. If necessary, six months prior to the start of your job search, choose to stop versus losing the job to a failed drug test.

Sleep On It

Your first reaction to the verbal job offer is usually the “right” one, but give yourself a chance to digest it overnight. When you talk to the offer-maker the next morning, be clear about what you must have and if it is different than the verbal offer, be prepared to walk away. If you aren’t prepared to lose the offer, your counteroffer is playing games, not clarifying your needs.

If they match what you want and you still need a little more time for other opportunities you are pursuing, ask for the offer in writing before you give your final decision. If they balk at that, ask for a couple more days. Anything up to a week from the verbal job offer is acceptable, but if not necessary, don’t stretch it out.

Once You Accept

Send a thank you note to the offer extender and the person who will be your direct supervisor if they are two different people. Via email or phone are both fine. “Over time I have found candidates who go to the trouble of sending thank you notes during the interview process as well as at the offer acceptance stage, build relationships in general better and in turn build their career,” says Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo.

Let your other opportunities know you are off the market, and once you have the written offer it is safe to resign your current job. Give a minimum of two-weeks notice. You don’t want to burn bridges and almost all work can be transferred in that time frame. If you would like it, try to negotiate an extra week so you can take some time off. Always pays to start a new job fresh. One last tip is to NOT update your online job status until a few weeks into the new job…insure it will stick before telling the world.

Interested in starting a job search? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Pharmaceutical Commercial Analytics Executive Recruiter, Eda Zullo at ezullo@smithhanley.com.



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