10 key things to say when offered a job over the phone

Published on June 22, 2023
10 key things to say when offered a job over the phone

Ever found yourself tongue-tied when you receive a job offer over the phone? You might be dealing with a whirlwind of emotions – excitement, relief, and maybe a dose of anxiety.

It's completely natural to feel unsure about what to say. After all, your response can set the tone for your future employment.

Many of us find it challenging to handle these critical conversations, especially when we want to make a great impression but also negotiate the best possible deal for ourselves.

In this article, we'll talk about how you can gracefully navigate such phone calls, helping you respond confidently and professionally to a job offer. Get ready to arm yourself with the right phrases and strategies to make this conversation a success.

Should you accept the offer straight away?

Deciding whether to accept a job offer immediately depends on your individual circumstances but in general I would advise you to take a moment to reflect before making a final decision.

Evaluate if the job aligns with your career goals, personal values, and lifestyle. Consider the fairness of the salary and benefits, and reflect on the company's culture.

If you're uncertain or comparing multiple offers, it's reasonable to request time to reflect.

Employers usually understand and respect this need. So, while there's no definitive answer, the essential thing is to make a well-informed decision that's in your best interest.

How to respond to a job offer over the phone

How to respond to a job offer over the phone

I'm going to walk you through this process step-by-step, providing actionable tips and examples of what to do when offered a job over the phone.

This will ensure you're not only prepared to respond with confidence, but you're also able to negotiate effectively, ask the right questions, and leave a lasting impression.

1. Express gratitude

Start off by expressing your gratitude for the offer. This first step is crucial as it sets the tone for the rest of the conversation. It shows the employer that you appreciate their time and the opportunity they've extended.

Show your enthusiasm about the offer but avoid making an immediate commitment.

Example of what to say: "Thank you for extending the offer! I'm genuinely excited about the possibility of joining your team."

2. Ask for more details

If you still have questions or are unclear about certain aspects of the job, now is the time to ask. Clarity is key in ensuring that you and the employer are on the same page.

Ask your questions in a polite manner, focusing on essential areas such as work hours, job expectations, or project specifics.

Example of what to say: "Could you please elaborate on the primary project I'd be assigned to initially?"

3. Confirm job role and responsibilities

Summarize your understanding of the role and responsibilities. This shows the employer that you've been paying attention and are clear about what's expected.

This can also be an opportunity to clear up any potential misunderstandings or to request more information.

Example of what to say: "As per our previous discussions and my understanding, my main responsibilities will be (…). Correct?"

4. Reaffirm interest in the position

Keep the conversation positive by expressing your interest in the role. Employers appreciate hearing that you're eager about the position.

Showcase your enthusiasm without committing to the offer right away. This keeps the discussion on a positive note.

Example of what to say: "I'm extremely interested in this role and can't wait to contribute to your team."

5. Request time to consider

It's perfectly fine to request some time to consider if you should accept the job offer. This isn't a decision to be rushed. Ask for a suitable timeframe to give your final decision, making sure to adhere to it.

Example of what to say: "I truly appreciate the offer. Would it be possible for me to take a couple of days to thoroughly consider it?"

6. Discuss salary

This can feel like a challenging part of the conversation, but discussing your remuneration is critical. You deserve to be paid what you're worth.

Have a number in mind based on your research and industry standards. Approach the conversation with confidence.

Example of what to say: "From my research and considering my experience in this field, I believe a salary of X would be fair."

7. Explore other benefits

Salary is not the only thing you can negotiate. Other benefits like remote work options, flexible hours, vacation days, or professional development opportunities are also important.

Identify the benefits that matter most to you and feel free to bring these up during the conversation.

Example of what to say: "I was wondering if there's any room to discuss the possibility of flexible work hours?"

8. Discuss the starting date

You should also discuss a mutually suitable start date. This shows the employer that you're eager to begin but also considerate of any notice period at your current job.

Be realistic about when you can start, taking into account any notice period at your current job.

Example of what to say: "Considering my notice period at my current role, I would be able to start from the first week of next month."

9. Ask about the next steps

Show your commitment and interest by inquiring about the next steps. This leaves a positive impression on the employer and shows you're serious about the opportunity.

This can include when to expect a formal offer letter, any further interviews, or paperwork to complete.

Example of what to say: "Could you please guide me on what our next steps would be? When can I expect a formal offer letter, and is there any additional paperwork or further interviews I should prepare for?"

10. End on a positive note

As you wrap up the conversation, it's important to leave on a high note. This not only leaves a great impression but also shows your enthusiasm for the role.

Thank them for their time and the offer, and express excitement about the potential to work together.

This positive closure will make the conversation memorable and help foster a good rapport with your potential employer.

Example of what to say: "Thank you again for considering me for this role. It's an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to potentially working with your team."

How to accept a job offer over the phone

Assuming you followed the previous steps, when you've made the decision to accept the job offer, communicate your acceptance clearly and directly.

Make sure to avoid any vague language that could leave room for misunderstandings.

After expressing your enthusiasm for the role, simply state, "I am delighted to accept this job offer." This makes your intention crystal clear to the employer, effectively sealing your acceptance.

As you accept, it's a good practice to repeat the key details of the job offer one last time. This includes the job title, salary, start date, and any other relevant terms.

This step ensures both you and your employer are on the same page and can help avoid any potential confusion in the future.

Don't forget to ask about the next steps following your acceptance like signing formal documentation, onboarding processes, and meeting the team.

How to politely decline a job offer over the phone

Choosing to decline a job offer can be as nerve-wracking as accepting one, especially if you're concerned about maintaining a positive relationship with the potential employer.

If you have changed your mind or found another job already, here’s how to politely and professionally decline a job offer over the phone:

  1. Express gratitude for the opportunity – they chose you as a potential fit for their team, which is something to be thankful for.
  2. Clearly state your decision to decline the offer – there's no need to waffle or beat around the bush, just say something like, "After much consideration, I've decided to decline the job offer."
  3. Provide a reason if you're comfortable doing so – it could be an offer elsewhere, the role not aligning with your career goals, the salary doesn’t meet your expectations, or personal reasons.
  4. End the conversation on a positive note. Wish them well, and express hope that your paths might cross again in the future.

By treating the situation with respect and understanding, you'll ensure that you maintain a good relationship with the employer, even if you're declining their offer.

My experience with job offers over the phone

The first time I received a job offer over the phone, I remember it as clearly as if it happened just yesterday. I was in my apartment, reflecting on the many interviews I had been through then. The anticipation was nerve-wracking, and the phone call came just as I was lost in my thoughts.

As the number flashed on my phone screen, I took a deep breath, collected my thoughts, and answered. It was the company I was hoping to hear from, and they were offering me the job. The surge of excitement was intense, but I managed to stay composed. I knew I had to handle this right.

I expressed my gratitude for the offer immediately, showing my appreciation for their consideration. Then, remembering the importance of clear communication,

I asked for details about the job responsibilities, salary, and benefits. I didn't shy away from inquiring about every aspect of the role that was important to me.

Even though I was thrilled about the prospect of joining their team, I resisted the urge to accept the job offer on the spot. Instead, I expressed my interest and requested a couple of days to consider their offer fully, showing respect for the gravity of the decision.

Once the call ended, I spent the next few days pondering the opportunity. I considered every aspect of the offer, evaluated it against my career goals, and sought advice from friends and family.

When I decided to accept, I called them back, clearly and confidently accepting the offer. I thanked them once more and inquired about the next steps. The tone of my voice carried my excitement, and I could sense a similar enthusiasm from the employer.

That day, I learned a crucial lesson: receiving a job offer is as much about respect and communication as it is about celebration.

I managed to navigate the process by staying composed, being thorough, and taking the time to make an informed decision. That job offer marked a significant step in my career, one that I'll always remember.

Frequently asked questions about job offers over the phone

What should I avoid saying when offered a job over the phone?

Avoid making immediate commitments or expressing desperation, and don't discuss personal issues or make negative remarks about your previous employer.

How long should I take to consider a job offer before responding?

Generally, it's acceptable to take a few days to a week to consider a job offer, but the timeline can vary based on the employer's urgency and the nature of the job.

Can I negotiate my job offer even if it's over the phone?

Absolutely, you can negotiate job offers over the phone. It's a common practice to discuss salary, benefits, and other terms during the job offer call.

How do I address any concerns I have about the job offer during the call?

Be polite and straightforward. After expressing your gratitude for the offer, mention your concerns and ask for clarification or further discussion about these issues.

Written by:
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co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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