For most students, the process of accepting a job offer can be one of the most stressful decisions you will ever make – at least up to this point. Before discussing some factors that go into your decision, let’s review the normal job offer process.
You will get an official offer letter. While an offer may be extended to you orally, you should expect a formal offer in writing. The offer letter will contain at the minimum the following information:
- The pay you will be receiving
- The specific job you will be doing. This may be vague and may consist of nothing more than a job title.
- A date for you to accept/decline the offer. This can be negotiated. (See the topic: Negotiating A Job Offer)
- Some contingencies (e.g. Physical exam)
- Some legal statements
- Some reference to benefits eligibility. Detailed benefit information will generally come later.
- A signing bonus if offered.
What may be surprising about the above list is that where your job will be located may/may not be given. Some companies want flexibility on where to place you.
Also the start date of the job may/may not be listed. Some companies want all college graduates to start on the same date for training/orientation purposes. Other companies are more flexible.
Once you have signed the agreement, you have essentially entered into a contract with the company. You should not back out of your agreement. You certainly wouldn’t want the company to back out of its offer. If you are uncomfortable with the offer, then don’t sign it.
Once you agree to the offer, than you will receive additional information including
- Detailed benefit information
- Instructions for a physical exam
- A payment date for the signing bonus
- Housing information
- Assistance in the move
- A point of contact with the company
Most companies have a very specific process for hiring new employees. You should find this process fairly well designed and executed.