You’ve got a job offer – what next?

All your hard work has paid off! Your CV was awesome, and your interview was even better. So you’ve now been offered the job – but what next?

Your new employer is going to request certain types of information from you, and there’s paperwork to sign. Here is a comprehensive guide of what to expect once you’ve gotten a job offer…

Expect a written confirmation 

If you are offered a job over the phone or even in person, expect to get a letter or email with official confirmation before you do anything else. If you are currently in employment then having the offer made to you in writing is really important for when you give your notice.

You may also have other interviews pending or other potential offers, so don’t make a decision until you have everything in writing. If the employer doesn’t say anything about an offer in writing, ask them if they are able to confirm this so you can get things moving along. Sometimes an employer will do that later, but it’s important to you that it is done quickly so you can make a prompt decision.

Check the offer letter for what you agreed 

The offer letter should include many details of your employment, including your start date. Your wages, the amount of hours, bonuses and holiday entitlement are all really important, and should be included in the offer also.

All of this information should align with the job advert and anything that was agreed upon in the interview or follow up calls/emails. If you have any questions or issues with the offer letter, don’t hesitate to contact the employer to have these things confirmed and amended before you join the company.

A mistake could easily be made in your offer letter that just needs a quick phone call to change – don’t be afraid to agree the right terms now as it may be too late to do so once you’ve started.

Sign a contract 

It’s quite rare for an employer to not provide a written contract that you can sign, however it does happen from time to time and it’s not unusual to have this information passed to your verbally. To prevent a dispute further down the line we would always advise asking for a written statement at the very least which details your terms of employment (this is a legal requirement in the UK).

The contract or statement should be received within the first couple of months, but you can of course enquire about this much sooner if you want. As well as the details agreed in your offer letter, you should also see information on the notice period you would have to give if either you or the employer decides to end the contract of employment.

Expect a probationary period 

Most companies start employees on a probationary period from the date they start, and can last as long as 1-6 months or even a year. Although a probationary period allows the employer to assess your performance to ensure it meets their standards, you should also look at this period as a chance to see if you are also happy in the role and with the company’s culture.

During this probationary period make sure you are fully aware of what’s expected of you within the role and the company, and ask your manager for this information to be written down so it can be agreed and discussed as early as possible. This will help you understand what’s expected and how your performance is going to be measured and tracked.

Keep in mind that under UK law, an employer can dismiss you for almost any reason in the first 2 years – you can’t claim unfair dismissal before then. There are a few exceptions to this rule which can be found here, but the point is that the probationary period does not have much significance so far as employment rights go.

Watch the vid:

In this video Alan L. Sklover, Employment Attorney and and Career Strategist for over 35 years, explains how to respond to a job offer:

Details which need to be provided to the employer 

Once you have accepted the job, here is a breakdown of the details that you are typically expected to provide an employer with:

Contact and address details – your email address and telephone number, along with your home address.

Emergency contacts – you may be asked to provide contacts details in case of an emergency, which would typically be a family member, partner or spouse. Make sure you provide them with someone who can be contacted easily and quickly, and who lives the closest to your place of work.

Bank details – an employer will typically want to pay you straight into your account each week or month, so don’t forget to provide these details if you want to be paid on time.

National Insurance number – when you turned 16 you should have received a card and letter from HMRC which provides you with your National Insurance number. Your new employer will need this number, and you can contact HMRC if you didn’t receive this information or have lost it.

Personal identification – an employer will often ask a new starter for a couple of forms of identification for their records. This is typically a passport or driving license that they can make copies of and store in your file.

Tax information – as a new employee you will be required to provide a P45, which should have been provided to you by your previous employer. A P45 document will detail your employment history and salary.

If you have not received this you should contact them straight away, as they are obliged to provide you with one. You can also contact HMRC who will contact the employer themselves to obtain a P45 for you. Your new employer will require this so they can accurately deduct income tax and National Insurance from your salary, known as the PAYE (pay as you earn) system.

If this is your first job you would need to complete a P46 form which should be provided by the employer. The P46 document will then be sent to HM Revenue and Customs who will then provide you and the employer a tax code to calculate your salary.

What if it’s not the job for me?

Keep looking. Don’t take the first job that comes along if it’s not a good fit for you – it wastes your time, and the employer’s. Here’s some links to help you:

About Jen Wiss-Carline

Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Chartered Legal Executive, and was admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.

Jen's qualifications include:
LL.B (Hons) (1st)
Chartered Legal Executive (FCILEx)
PG Cert Bus Admin
PgDip Law (LPC)
LL.M (Master of Laws) (Distinction)

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