Monday, February 9, 2009

Job Offers and Professionalism

Getting an offer of employment may be the most exciting part of your job search process, but offers -- receiving them, accepting them, discussing them, mulling them over, and declining them -- carry with them certain professional and ethical considerations.

On its website, the Association for Legal Career Professionals lists the following considerations for offers of employment:

"Offers and Decision-Making

* An offer of employment requires you to make a very important decision. If there are particular issues that are important to you, ask about them before you accept or decline an offer.

* Become familiar with NALP's Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities, which include "General Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions." Copies of these ethical guidelines are available in law school career services offices and from NALP.

* Keep in touch with the Recruiting Coordinator or an attorney at the organization. Let them know what you are doing, even if you are interviewing with other employers. Be honest.

* The employer's letter confirming your offer should indicate a deadline for your response. You should make every effort to meet your offer deadline. Call the employer if you need an extension. Do not wait until the day before or the day of the deadline to ask for an extension.

Accepting and Declining Offers

* All job offers, salaries, terms of employment, etc., should be made in writing by the employer, and your acceptance should always be confirmed in writing.

* If you know your decision before the deadline date, you should communicate that to the employer. If you know you are not going to accept a particular offer, you should tell the employer immediately.

* Once you have accepted an offer, do not renege. Accepting a job offer and then calling back at a later date to say you've changed your mind can be a dangerous game. There may be circumstances which force you into this kind of unfortunate action, but professional circles are small and memories are long. Treat a potential employer as fairly as you expect to be treated yourself."

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