Dr. Ima, how will I know that my job offer is finalized?

Always get your job offer in writing.  If there is reticence on the part of your future employer, send your own confirmation e-mail that says “I am confirming what I understand to be the terms of the job offer that you made to me on X/X/20XX.  I assume that you are in agreement with this summary.”

Now that you are near the finish line of closing the deal on your new job, don’t blow it.  Don’t take a foolish risk or stop your active search process until everything is final.

  • Agree on a decision date and be sure to give your answer by that date.
    1. Okay, I’m giving my tentative yes right now and I’ll give you the permanent one as soon as you need to hear it.  When would that be?
    2. Okay, I don’t see anything left to talk about right now.  I’ll sleep on this, look at it again to make sure that we haven’t missed anything, and confirm it in writing by that date.
    3. Yes!  This looks like a great offer!  Right now, I’m ready to accept, but I like to make my decisions carefully.  I’m sure you would want careful decisions from me when I’m working for you.  I can’t see that anything would come up to change my mind, but if there’s any way to get me some objective time to solidify my thinking on this, I would appreciate it.
  • Make sure that there are no outstanding “contingencies.”  Have you passed all security clearances? Health exams? Provided all necessary paperwork?
  • Don’t spread the word about your new employment until you are truly “on board.” Once announced you are immediately a lame duck in your current position.
  • Once you have started your new job, take time, intentional time, to thank all the people who helped you along the way.  You never know when you might need these people, valuable members of your network, again.


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