Job Offer Over the Phone - what to say and do

How to respond to a verbal job offer including how to:

  • accept a job offer over the phone
  • politely turn down a job offer on the phone
  • ask for more time to consider the job offer
People on phones talking

If you receive a call from the employer making you a verbal job offer you need to be prepared to handle it correctly. Find out what to say and the steps to take.

How to accept a job offer over the phone

5 simple steps to accept a job offer over the phone in a professional and confident manner.

1. Thank the caller

Immediately express gratitude for the opportunity and display enthusiasm for the position.

"Thank you for this opportunity, I am excited about the job and working for the company"

2. Ask for a written offer

Typically the employer will follow up on the verbal job offer with a formal written employment offer or contract. The written offer should provide all the essential details about your conditions of employment and the job itself and will require signatures from both parties. If you are not told by the employer over the phone that you will receive a written job offer, you should request one.

"I am excited to learn more about the job offer. Please send me the offer in writing so I can carefully review and be clear about the details before I start"

Having a written offer will ensure you understand the details of the employment offer and alert you to any questions you want answered before signing on the dotted line!

It is important to understand that a verbal job offer is an informal offer of employment and should always be followed up with a written offer that outlines all the essential details of your employment agreement.

If you haven't received the formal written offer within a couple of days of your conversation it is advisable to send a follow up email to remind the employer to send it.

3. Ask any questions you may have about the offer

You can ask the employer about any details that may not be in your written offer of employment and that you need to clarify such as dress code, parking, working hours.

Find out who you should contact if you have any further questions once you receive the written offer of employment.

"Who should I contact if I have any questions about my conditions of employment?"

4. Find out what happens next

There may be pre-employment processes (assessments, testing, medical screening etc) you need to complete before starting work with the company. Find out what is expected of you and how to go about meeting any requirements.

This information should be included with the written employment letter or contract but it is important to know what you need to do before starting your new job.

5. Close the call

Tell the employer that you look forward to receiving their written offer and thank them again for the opportunity.

Accepting a job offer email

How to ask for time to think about a job offer over the phone

You may need more time to think through the job offer. Employers understand that is customary to take a day or two to think about the offer before making a final decision. These are the steps to take to ask for time to consider the offer.

1. Thank the caller in a positive manner

Although you are not accepting the job offer over the phone at this time you want to show you are grateful for the opportunity and convey your enthusiasm.

"Thank you for this offer, I am excited about the possibility of working for your company"

2. Ask for it in writing

Ask the employer to send you the offer in writing so you can carefully review all the employment details. Tell the caller that once you have had the opportunity to go through the job offer in detail, you will get back to them.

"I appreciate you calling me, but would you mind sending me the written offer so that I can thoroughly review all the details and see if I have any questions. I want to make sure that I have everything clear before accepting the offer."

3. Ask for time to consider the offer thoroughly

Ask for a time frame in which to get back to the employer. Or suggest a deadline. Most employers are happy with you taking a day or two to fully consider the offer and ensure you are making the right decision. 

"When would you like a response by?"

"I will get back to you by Wednesday, is that acceptable?"

4. Close the call

Thank the caller again for the job opportunity and their time.  You can follow up with a written email, confirming what you have discussed

Acknowledge receipt of the written offer

Text details on how to ask for time to consider a job offer over the phone.

Accepting the job offer over the phone

Once you have carefully gone through the offer and you are happy with it, you can call the company to let them know your decision.

"Thank you for sending through the written offer. I have gone through it thoroughly and I would very much like to accept the position. I have also sent you an email with my written acceptance of your generous offer."

Follow up with a job offer acceptance email or letter.

How to decline a job offer over the phone

If after sufficient consideration you have definitely decided not to accept the job offer, these are the steps to follow to do it in a professional and polite manner.

1. Make the call at a convenient and appropriate time

Call when the employer is likely to be less busy such as early morning, lunchtime or towards the end of the working day.

2. Speak to the right person

This is usually the person who made you the job offer, unless you have been told specifically to contact someone else with your decision. Ensure you speak directly to the person and do not leave a voice message or a message with their secretary or receptionist declining the offer. If you cannot get hold of them you can leave a message to call you back.

3.Express gratitude

Show gratitude for the offer before you start your discussion. "I would like to thank you for the job offer, however ..."

4.Provide your reasoning for turning down the job offer.

While you do not have to go into great detail you should provide a reason for your decision. Depending on why you are declining the job offer, there may be an opportunity for a revised and better job offer to be made by the company if they understand your reasons. This is why it is important to be as honest as possible about your decision.

5. Close the call

Wish the company well and again thank them for their time and consideration.

It is a good idea to send a follow up email briefly confirming your decision to decline the job offer.

Example of turning down a job offer over the phone

Preparing and practicing what you are going to say on the call will help you feel more comfortable declining the job offer over the phone.

Text of how to decline a job offer over the phone

Can I decline the job offer over the phone straightaway?

It is acceptable to respond to and decline the verbal job offer on the spot if you have already accepted another job offer, you have decided that you are not leaving your current job or if the position is really not right for you.

"Thank you for the kind offer, however I have already accepted a similar position elsewhere."

"I appreciate the offer and the time you have spent with me. However, after careful consideration, I have decided to pursue another opportunity."

Reasons like salary, hours and benefits can still be negotiated, so ask for the written job offer and some time to consider it.  Once you are familiar with the entire compensation package you can follow up with a salary negotiation letter or email.

Can I decline the job offer by email?

If you received the job offer over the phone and asked for more time before then deciding to turn it down, it is polite to respond with a call. However if it has been agreed that you will respond by email you can use this decline job offer email example to respond.

How to respond to the job offer

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