The Ethics of Accepting a Job Offer

It’s one of the best feelings in the world. The company you interviewed with weeks ago has picked you for the job. You went to a million career fairs and applied for a ton of jobs, and finally, you have an offer. Of course, the job you were really hoping for has not come your way yet, but you’re thankful to have an offer. Without skipping a beat, you automatically accept the job.

With your job offer in hand, you stop your job search. What did you say? You’re still searching? You even have an interview next week you still plan to attend? As the economy improves and more students are reporting multiple job offers, we’re hearing from more students who have accepted a job but opening admit that they don’t plan to take it if something “better” comes their way. Employers and career advisors at other institutions are experiencing the same. It’s a bit like telling someone you’ll go to prom and taking it back the day before because you got a better offer. Now all the best dates are taken so your unlucky date must scramble to find someone else. Doesn’t feel good does it?

Everyone who has ever searched for a job has worried that the first job offer will be the only job offer. It’s completely normal to think you should accept immediately out of fear of the unknown. However, you have to think about the way your actions impact others. Before you enter the job search, determine what you are looking for in a job and make sure that one you accept matches it as much as possible. If you stay true to your interests and values, then you’ll know that the job you accept will the right one for you.

To make the best decision when you get offered a job, be sure to consider the following:
1. Will this job or internship provide you the opportunity to develop skills and opportunities that will launch
you toward your ultimate career goal?
2. Is the opportunity located in a geographic location that appeals to you?
3. Do the pay and benefits meet your needs? Resources such as and the NACE Salary
calculator at can be useful ways to compare offers.
4. Did you like the people you met at the interview? How do you feel about your supervisor? Positive work
relationships can be just as important as a salary and benefits.
5. Have you followed up with the other companies where you have applied or interviewed? We have seen
people turn down positions hoping to hear from a company who never comes through with a job offer.
Imagine sitting at home for the guy of your dreams to call but the phone never rings.
6. If you end up going back on your acceptance, are you prepared for the consequences? It’s a small world
and people talk within industries.
7. Whatever you do, do not discuss your decisions publicly on your social media pages. Many a job seeker
has foolishly weighed the pros and cons of different companies for all the world to see on Twitter and
Facebook. You never know to whom your friends and contacts are connected.

Just make sure you have weighed your decision before you make an official acceptance. If you take the time to make the right decision, then you won’t have to worry about something better coming your way.

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