You were looking for work, and you sent in your application. You were then invited for an interview, and the amazing happens: you get a job offer.
People who accept a job offer on the spot have no other prospects or have a critical need for money.
Therefore, rule one must always be to never ever accept or decline the job on the spot! It is best to thank the hiring manager (in an enthusiastic way) but respectfully request a day or a weekend to consider your answer. You may say something like, “Thank you so much. I’m very pleased to get this offer. But may I consider it? I’m very interested in the position but would like to discuss this matter with my spouse.”
Any reasonable employer will give you at least this much time to consider their offer. If for some reason (perhaps another offer waiting in the wings) you need more time than a day, you can ask the hiring manager what the response deadline is. Then you can arrange a day/time to let him know your answer.
Then you should go and talk with other people. You’ll describe the responsibilities you would have with this job, and the compensation you would receive. By doing this, you will get honest feedback from friends and family members. Better still, you can try to speak with someone who works for that company if you are lucky enough to know someone.
Afterwards, you can best judge the pros and cons of the job. Things that you must take into consideration are the distance back and forth to work, the wages, the benefits that come with the job, and the chances for advancement within this company. Is the salary offered enough to offset any potential costs that you will incur as a result of this job?
Finally, be prompt with your answer. You may take time to consider, but you cannot wait too long. It is recommended that you respond to a job offer within two or three days. By then, you must have composed a letter in which you decline or accept the job. Of course, in these days of emails and faxes, you might just as well mail or fax your answer. Just make sure there is a date on whatever document that you can use as proof, if need be.
Other useful tips include that, in case of a rejection of the job offer, you provide the company with a legitimate reason for your choice. You don’t want to alienate anyone who could become a future networking contact!
After an acceptance, call the company and find out the specifics. When do you exactly start? What should you wear at work? Where will you park your car? Whom do you report to? What are your exact job duties?
And never forget to send a thank you note. When you decline the job, thank the company for taking time with you and for considering you. When you accept, thank them for the opportunity and reassure them that their choice was the right one.