Are you prepared for a verbal offer?

The 5 Components of your Response to a Verbal Offer

The #1 piece of messaging that people request from me is my template for responding to a verbal job offer. These days, offers are typically delivered over the phone, and are not accompanied by a written copy of the offer. Many companies outsource their HR function, and even if their onboarding is all done in-house, they don’t want to waste time having HR create an offer for someone who may be uninterested in the opportunity, due to a disconnect over compensation, benefits, relocation, or other factor. The goal of the content below is to continue to cultivate the collaborative, win-win relationship you’ve already established with the company, while honoring yourself.

Top 2 Reasons to Prepare your Response in Advance:

1. To keep yourself from accepting on the spot. We’ve all done it. If you’re excited about the opportunity, it’s hard not to. That’s why I created this messaging.

2. To help you manage the pressure that a recruiter may apply. Having a response that respects you and your need to reflect on the offer, while maintaining the relationship, will give you confidence.

The 5 Components of a Verbal Offer Response:

1. Express gratitude

2. Reassure them with your enthusiasm

3. Imply your expectation that there will be a written offer sent to you

4. Buy yourself time to craft your counter-offer

5. Set an expectation for follow-up

Sample Verbal Offer Response:

Thanks so much for the offer. I’m really excited about the idea of diving in at Company Name. I always take time to review a written offer and consider a big decision like this. Would it be reasonable for me to circle back with you by tomorrow afternoon to continue the conversation?

Notes on word choice:

1. Would it be reasonable: People hate to say something is unreasonable

2. The idea of diving in: It’s rare, but it has happened that the listener can hear an offer acceptance when there wasn’t one, so including the word “idea” gently keeps it clear that you haven’t accepted

3. Circle back to continue the conversation: If they assume you are going to let them know or give them an answer, that’s on them. You’re not, you’re preparing a counter.

Consider writing down your version of this response to a verbal offer, and even memorizing it, so that when it’s time to use it, you’re ready.

Emma Garrett is an Executive Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life.