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How to Respond to a Job Offer with Questions: Ultimate Guide

How to Respond to a Job Offer with Questions: Ultimate Guide

Like greased lightning, activities in the labor market have illuminated through the skies and kept job seekers’ competition soaring like an eagle.

With this in mind, it is apparent that seasoned applicants quintessentially overshadow newcomers because they are “savvier” in dealing with recruitment-related processes.

One of these hiring procedures is responding to a job offer, which can be a real piece of work when you do not know what to say or what to ask your prospective employer.

Chances are you would just likely swallow the proposal right off the bat without chewing it.

Ready to discover new ways to respond to a job offer with the most polite and reasonable questions? Let’s start with a quick synopsis of the topic.


How can we respond to a job offer with questions?

To respond to a job offer with questions, we can start by greeting and expressing gratitude for the opportunity, elaborate on our questions accurately and objectively, and end with a positive note. We also need to avoid emotional, speculative, confrontational questions in this situation.


Responding to a job offer by asking questions: What it is for and how it is done

After landing a job, the last thing you want to do is hang your boots up after a week or so. That is, you don’t want to end up quitting the job because of unmet expectations.

This means that you need to possess effective negotiation skills just like responding to a job offer without accepting it or, to put it simply, put on some delaying tactics.

Although strategies as such are superficially and generally frowned at by many, there are actually some situations that would require one to do so.

Touching back on asking questions after receiving the job offer, you had better fully understood the scope of the job, as well as some basics of the industry you’re getting yourself into.

Doing so should keep you away from having any unrealistic expectations that could negatively affect your performance once you start working.

So, what exactly is a job offer? And, what’s in it for you? Let’s answer these two questions first before going to the plausible questions that you can ask before officially signing up for a job.


Understand the ins and outs of a job offer

After doing all necessary assessments, the hiring team, together with the corresponding department in need of the position, has to concur on whether to accept or reject an application.

The recruitment staff will then have to inform unselected applicants that they failed the application process, and “the chosen one” will get contacted soon.

Depending on the urgency of the job, the selected applicant would, and should, be informed within a week or two after completing all necessary evaluation processes.

Job postings are typically available for thirty days in job advertisement platforms, and hence, hiring procedures are also expected to last within this time frame.

As a job seeker, knowing the meaning behind different job application statuses would save you a lot of time, money, not to mention effort, so you had better find these things out at your own will.

Also, getting the hang of recruitment-related activities will keep your anxieties at bay.

So, it is your job to do some research before randomly submitting cover letters and resumes online.

For example, a job posting could be removed before your interview all of sudden.

Some reasons behind this include a filled-in position, shortage or surplus of applicants, and the ad platform’s subscription expiration.

These are just a fraction of all the things you need to know before dealing with job-offer-related concerns, which are slightly more complicated.

As the name suggests, a job offer is a verbal or written proposal coming from an employer that briefly explains the employment conditions offered to a potential employee.

It concisely tells you details about the job title, type of employment, starting date, main tasks, responsibilities, as well as compensation and benefits package.

Basically, a job offer is an overview of your expected life as an employee in the organization you are applying for, and it is basically equivalent to the table of contents page of a book.

Because it is just a summary, it is too brief to let you know everything that you need to know about what you are getting yourself into.

Hence, the best time to actually ask for further clarifications about the job is right after receiving a job offer.

In a nutshell, you should never, ever worry and feel sorry about being a bit inquisitive at this point.


Steps to responding to a job offer by asking questions (with examples)

For the most part, responding to the job offer is just a cakewalk. This is true if you’re applying for your dream job in the most ideal company you think you could ever be a part of.

In other cases, though, this could be tough especially if you are only taking the chance because it is what’s available at the moment, and, perhaps, you do not have much time to twiddle your thumb for other opportunities.

You know you have to take the risk, but you are also aware that you need to make sure that nothing goes wrong once you step on the gas pedal.

So, here are the easy-to-remember yet hard-to-forget steps in responding to a job offer by asking questions.

Afterwhich, you’ll be able to see the whole picture by reading sample scripts. 


Greet and express gratitude

Compliments and gratitude are two of the most effective strategies we can use to get the upper hand in any kind of situation, apart from apologizing and explaining, of course.

All I’m saying is that you could never go wrong by starting your message with a simple, non-pretentious greeting, as well as a complimentary statement.

Clearly enough, someone’s taking the time to reach out to you and let you know that you are valuable enough to be needed for a particular role: This is why starting with some pleasantries is utterly the best thing to do.

If you are responding via email, you can start your message with greeting expressions like “I hope this email finds you well,” “Hope all is well with you,” or their alternatives, as listed below:


hope you are doing well.

I hope you are having a productive week.

I hope you and your family are well.

I hope you are in great spirits today.

I appreciate hearing promptly from you.

It’s a pleasure having to hear from you really soon.

However, if you are dealing with a call or an actual spoken conversation, you may simply use temporal greetings like “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Good evening.”

In spoken contexts, the use of overly formalistic language can be easily misperceived as being presumptuous or audacious, and hence, it is better to stick with customary greetings.

You may also say “How are you?” or “How are you doing today?” in spoken contexts if you have already interacted with the person a couple of times before the job offer.

Then, you could proceed with some gratitude statements to let the employer know that you appreciate their decision of choosing you over the other candidates.

You may choose gratitude expressions like the examples below:


Thank you for choosing me for the position.

Thank you very much for this job offer.

I appreciate the opportunity you are giving me.

This job offer is truly appreciated.

I cannot thank you enough for giving me this opportunity.

I feel truly honored to have been chosen for the position.


Elaborate on your question accurately and objectively

The next thing you have to remember is to elaborate on your question as dispassionately and as precisely as you can, whatever the question is.

You want to remain objective because it simply has a calming effect on the addressee, most especially during formal discussions. It also helps set a neutral territory between you and the employer.

Any linguistically competent person can easily detect a touch of negative emotion such as agitation or annoyance, which can lead to undesirable consequences.

You also need to be as accurate as possible with the questions that you want to ask, for you do not want to mislead the addressee in his or her interpretation process.

Doing so also prompts an accurate and honest response from your addressee, which is basically what you want to be able to clearly decide on whether to accept the job offer.

For the most part, the need for accuracy and objectivity are self-explanatory, and they are to be done so you could smoothly proceed with your recruitment process.

If you have more than two questions, writing them in bullet form would make your email more visually attractive and, therefore, easier to read.

The questions you would likely ask after a job offer pretty much revolves around both general and specific points. 

General questions may include something about the company culture, compensation and benefits plan, major and minor responsibilities, educational advancement, and training opportunities.

Ask these questions only when you haven’t discussed them yet during the interview.


Could you give me an idea of what the company culture is like (e.g., management styles)?

May I know whether the compensation and benefits package includes a 401(k) plan?

What responsibilities are excluded in the role? What other benefits can I gain after regularization?

Do you offer any educational advancement opportunities?

What relevant training programs do you offer and when can I join such events?

Meanwhile, the more specific questions that you would likely ask are related to the onboarding process, fulfillment of requirements, and useful information about immediate colleagues and superiors.


May I know how long the onboarding and training processes will take?

How much time could you give me to submit all the requirements?

Could you let me know who my direct superior is and tell me something about his professional background?

What are the names of my direct colleagues and what are some of their general responsibilities?

You would want to avoid asking anything that is based on rumors, speculations, and personality types of the people you are about to work with.

Also, in writing your statements, it is always recommended to do away with anything containing a negative connotation, even if that is what you feel in reality.


End with a positive note

Thirdly and finally, you should never forget to end your message with a positive note to induce a positive reaction from your message receiver.

This would also help you establish a worthwhile and professional relationship with your prospective employer that should last for a long time.

Also, you need to use an empathetic tone in your closing remarks to avoid indiscriminately sounding offensive by questioning the job offer details.

Empathy is different from sympathy in the sense that the latter is less effective in achieving better responses from an addressee.

Understanding what “empathy” really is will help you craft your message more persuasively, thereby making it more effective in the context of doing fairly sensitive inquiries.

To end your message positively and empathetically, you may say something along the lines of the following:

Thank you for your clarification in advance.

I would appreciate it if you could elaborate more on these matters.

When you have the time, please let me know why these details have changed.

Any clarification from you would be much appreciated. I’m looking forward to your response.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my concerns. I look forward to your response.


Sample scripts for responding to a job offer by asking questions

And now to see everything I’ve explained from a bird’s eye view, let’s have a look at the sample email messages below, in which the first one is intended to accept the job offer, while the second is to ask for an extension of time.

The first example leans toward accepting the job offer but the applicant wants to clarify a few things before officially signing the document.

Example 1: (Accepting the offer with questions)


Dear Patricia,

Hope you are doing well today. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to work in your esteemed organization. Before I officially sign the job offer, I would like to ask a couple of questions related to the job role.


These are the following:


  • Could you give me an idea of what the business culture is like?
  • May I know how long the onboarding and training program would be?
  • Will the training include any salary or allowances?


Thank you very much for your guidance.



Alison Waters

Meanwhile, the second example is aimed at asking questions because of unmet expectations based on the understanding of the applicant.

Here, you would notice how the applicant politely requests an extension of time before signing the job offer for some important reasons.

Example 2: (Delaying the acceptance with questions)


Dear Andrew,

I hope you are in great spirits today. Thank you very much for providing me the chance to work as a Data Analyst in your reputable organization. I would like to ask for ample time to review all the details stipulated in the job offer. Also, there are a few things I would like to clarify before making a major decision.


  • In my understanding, my responsibilities do not entail working graveyard shifts and traveling outside the country. However, the details in the job offer state otherwise. 
  • Also, I noticed that the sign-in bonus is lower than what we discussed during the interview last week.

May I know what has changed since the last time we had a discussion? 


I was hoping we could discuss these matters through a call at your most convenient time. I am available anytime within the day as well as tomorrow if you also are.


Thank you for your help.



Bernard Jefferson


Questions to avoid when responding to a job offer

Last but not least, let’s also have a look at some questions that we have to avoid asking despite being realistic and reasonable.

Basically, although we can ask any questions we want before signing any official document and making a major decision, some of them can come across as unprofessional or just a bit over the top.


Question 1:  What are some of the worst sanctions an employee could experience in your company?

This question has to be avoided because would likely convey an applicant’s tendencies to perform badly once he or she starts working.

Asking about the worst things that could happen to you may reveal that you have done something suspicious in the past, even if that is not your real intention.

Blindly using words in the hopes of being creative, sounding smart, or for the sake of being able to ask something could mislead any reader or listener.

So, avoid anything that might communicate such a message.


Question 2: I’ve heard some bad things about the hiring manager. Are those rumors true?

Next, asking something that is based on speculations and rumors is, obviously enough, a self-denigrating act.

So, even if you have heard the information from someone whom you think is a reliable source, you still need to be keen and cautious with your words.

This is something you have to be careful of even if you know the recruiter or hiring manager because this would reveal one’s tendency to believe in ambiguous, subjective reports.


Question 3: I didn’t know the job entails graveyard shifts and traveling. Why didn’t you tell me about these things before?

Finally, blatantly confronting the recruiter about some changes in your agreement is also something you have to steer clear of.

Instead, you have to go with better and more polite ways of clarifying the employment details without sounding confrontational and unprofessional.

You had better make use of the expression “initially under the impression that” instead of structuring your sentences using negative verbs.


Frequently Asked Questions on “Responding to Job Offers”


How do you politely respond to a job offer?

Politely responding to a job offer entails the use of the consultative language register, such as the communicative strategy we use when talking to a superior or professor. The use of an empathetic tone is also recommended in a polite response.


How can we respond to a job offer while waiting for other opportunities?

The easiest way to respond to a job offer while waiting for other opportunities is to overtly ask for an extension of time or grace period without giving an explanation why. To do this, we can simply state that we would like to request a few days to a week to critically review the details stated in the job offer.


How can we respond to a job offer over the phone?

The best way to respond to a job offer given through a phone call is to ask for a written document detailing the employment conditions. However, if you are being offered an ideal job that you have long been waiting for, then you can immediately let the recruiter or hiring manager know the soonest date that you can start working.



Like any other task, responding to a job offer can be tricky especially when you do not know how to predict your prospective employer’s response.

Thus, religiously researching every nook and cranny of the job, the company, and the industry beforehand will make you gain the upper hand as an applicant.

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