How to Handle a Verbal Job Offer: Essential Steps to Follow

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Jul 7, 2023 5 min read

You might be used to receiving job offers via email, but that is not the only way for an employer to approach you with one.

You can also receive a verbal job offer on the telephone, or even face-to-face right after the interview.

However, you should know how to act on a verbal job offer, as it is slightly different from a written one.

In this article, we are going to prepare you for this situation by exploring the following questions:

  • What is a verbal job offer?
  • How to response to a verbal job offer?
  • What happens if you decline the verbal job offer?

So, if you are ready to learn how to handle verbal job offers, let’s dive in.

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What is a verbal job offer?

A verbal job offer is an informal job offer provided by an employer or a hiring manager over the phone, or even right after an interview.

It shows the serious interest of the company in your expertise, and it typically includes:

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Working hours
  • Start date

After they share all these details, there is often a discussion about all these points, so that they would fit the expectations of both you and the employer.

The main difference between a verbal and a written job offer is whether you receive an official document with the offer, or you only have a conversation.

Written offers typically follow verbal ones, and outline all the important aspects of your employment agreement.

How to respond to a verbal job offer?

Now that you understand what a verbal job offer is, it is time to figure out how to handle it.

To do it right, you just need to follow a few simple steps.

Show your appreciation

The first thing you need to do when receiving a verbal job offer is show your appreciation for the opportunity.

If you are over the phone, consider using phrases, like:

  • Thank you for this great opportunity
  • I am grateful for this offer, thank you
  • Thank you for selecting me

But if the verbal offer is face-to-face right after the interview, consider also smiling and offering a handshake.

No matter how you receive the verbal job offer, you would want to show positivity, and use your attitude to reassure them that they have taken the right decision.

Carefully consider the job offer

After receiving the job offer, don’t rush to accept it right away.

Even though it might be tough to get a job in today’s job market, let yourself think it over before you take a decision.

The first thing you would want to do is let the employer that you would like a day or two for consideration before you give them your final decision.

While you are still talking to your potential employer, you would also want to ask them any questions that would be important for you in the workplace.

Once you have left the building, or hung up the phone, you need to do some research.

Take the time to find what is the average salaries offered by similar companies for positions like the one you were offered a verbal offer for.

Also, don’t forget to take into consideration anyone in your life that your decision might have some impact to, like if you are married, or have a family.

However, don’t take too long to provide your potential employer with your decision, as they would be looking to close the position as soon as possible.

Negotiate the salary

After you have done your research, you would want to compare the salary you were offered to the average for your position you have found, as well as the one you think you should receive for your expertise.

If you find the salary you were offered to be unsatisfactory, you should not hesitate to negotiate it.

However, make sure you consider all the aspects of your job offer before you start negotiating, like health insurance, benefits, and paid time off.

If you still decide to negotiate, make sure you do it politely, and ask if the salary is negotiable first, rather than directly asking for a raise.

Request a written job offer

It is a standard practice for companies to send a written job offer after a verbal one within 48 hours.

However, if you have still not received one, and you plan on taking the job, it is a good idea to request it, so that you can take a look at it as well.

That will also help you spot any additional terms that you might find non-agreeable, and you can negotiate them before you sign any legal document.

One more thing you need to take a look at is how is the offer phrased:

  • Contract of employment – that means that you will be hired for a specific period of time
  • Contract of employment at-will – that indicates that you can leave the position, or be let go, at any time

What happens if you decline the verbal job offer?

There is one more scenario when receiving a verbal job offer – you might realize that this job is not the right fit for you.

And there is nothing wrong with declining the offer. The employer will actually appreciate you being honest, both to them, and to yourself.

All that means is that you will just continue your job search, but you have gained some experience from going through the hiring process steps already.


We are all done, now you understand how to handle a verbal job offer.

Let’s go through the essential steps you need to take to get it just right:

  • Show your appreciation – you would want to show the employer that you appreciate their offer, and you feel positive about it
  • Carefully consider the job offer – make sure you ask all questions that are important to you right there, and take one or two days to carefully consider the offer and do some research
  • Negotiate the salary – if you find the salary you were offered to be lower than the average for that position, or you think it does not match your expertise, you should not hesitate to negotiate
  • Request a written job offer – before you accept the offer, make sure you request it in written form as well, if you have not received one, as it will help you spot any additional terms that you might want to negotiate

Now you are ready to handle your next verbal job offer professionally, and get the best out of it.

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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He has written more than 500 resume guides and deep-dive articles on how to create your resume and cover letter, that inspire job applicants to make a resume to be proud of. His work has been featured in Forbes, Zendesk, HubSpot, and Business Insider, and cited by top universities and educational institutions, like Thunderbird School of Management, Rochester University, University of Miami, and Udemy. Volen applies his deep knowledge and practical experience to write about career changes, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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