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Job offers: What you need to know before making a decision

Transportation Security Administration recruiter Bridget Townsend right, hands

Transportation Security Administration recruiter Bridget Townsend right, hands a job seeker an information sheet at the Mississippi Employment Expo in Jackson, Miss. (March 17, 2009) Credit: AP

It's not something that happens often in this tough job market. But if you are in the fortunate position to be offered a position on the spot, you still should think a few things over before making a final decision.

David Janowsky, a partner with the Winter Wyman and Co. contract staffing firm, based in the Boston area, offered a few tips:

-- If it is your dream job, say yes -- but get all the information about pay and benefits first.

-- If you have been targeting the company and the offer is within the range you were hoping for, there would be no reason not to accept on the spot. But make sure you are talking about a permanent position, if that's what you are seeking, and that you have all the relevant salary and benefit details. You don't want an unpleasant surprise later.

-- Sleep on it, but communicate your happiness.

Ask if you can take the night or a couple days before you respond. You can show your excitement, but also explain that this is an important decision and you need a little time to digest the information.

-- If you don't say yes immediately, be ready for the "Why?"

Expect that the person extending you the offer will ask why you are not accepting on the spot. They are excited about you as a member of the team, which is why you were given the offer. Thank them for the opportunity and let them know that because you are in an active job search, there are a few things still pending. Commit to a time to get back to this person. Be honest and professional in your response. The hiring manager wants a professional who is engaged, excited and ready to make an impact.

-- If relocation is part of the offer, make sure you get all the details.

You will need information such as the correct timelines and expectations for the start date. Will you get relocation assistance? Will they put you into a furnished residence while you are in the process of moving? Can you work remotely for some of the time after your start date to help get up to speed while planning your move?

Clarifying expectations at the time of the offer is important. Taking a new job is stressful enough, but moving yourself or your family can be an added stress and it is important to work out the details first.

And, as always ... Do what others fail to do!

Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach in Birmingham, Ala. 

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