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Five ways to botch a job offer

  • Story Highlights
  • You can botch a job offer with certain behaviors after the offer is made
  • Don't relax and show your "other" side by calling boss nickname
  • Lying about references, salary history can lose you the job after you've accepted it
  • Badmouthing the company in a public forum is not a wise thing to do
By Anthony Balderrama writer
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Don't badmouth the company or the boss in a public forum after accepting a job offer.

Don't badmouth the company or the boss in a public forum after accepting a job offer.

There's a viral video that probably everyone has been e-mailed: A cyclist nearing the end of a race raises his arms in excitement ... then falls off the bike, struggles to get back on and watches someone else cross the finish line first.

The tumble is a real-life example of counting your chickens before they're hatched and putting the cart before the horse. Basically, make sure you've done everything you're supposed to before claiming a victory.

When you're in the final stages of landing a job, keep those arms down and your brain thinking. As excited as you are to receive a job offer, you still have plenty of work to do before the first day of work.

Here are five mistakes you want to avoid once the employer's extended an offer:

1. Not negotiating salary

Chances are you avoided detailed salary talk until this moment. Now's the time to discuss it. Remember that many employers extend low offers with the expectation that applicants will negotiate, so don't feel pressured to accept immediately.

Compensation encompasses other perks, such as vacation days, telecommuting options and flexible schedules. If you're told the salary can't be increased, don't forget to mention these other options. Also, ask the hiring manager if you can revisit salary negotiations after six months. You don't want to sign on the dotted line, only to think you didn't ask for all you could.

2. Showing your split personality

Every employer knows you're on your best behavior when you interview. The impeccable attire, punctuality and excitement about the position -- that all fades to some degree after you've been on the job long enough.

If it shows up the day after you've been offered the job, you've just sent a parade of red flags to your new boss. This includes suddenly calling your future boss by a nickname, talking about how trashed you're going to get tonight in celebration of the job or talking about the terrible break-up you're experiencing.

Your boss can rescind an offer for a variety of reasons, so don't act as if you're a professor who's made tenure just yet. Continue to be the driven professional who was at the interviews. Let your casual side show after you've settled into the position.

3. Badmouthing the company in a public forum

Hopefully you haven't already grown bitter toward your new employer and harbor resentment to the company for some reason. (Why take the job if you do?) But don't say "Yes!" to the job one day and run off to Twitter to express how dumb your boss is the next. Posting on Facebook that "Jessica Jones just conned her new boss into paying her way too much!" is just plain foolish.

4. Looking like a liar

For a past job, I was offered the position after a lengthy interview process. I thought it was weird that they never bothered to call my references even though I had gone through several rounds of tests and meeting with the team. The day I was offered the position, my references were called to verify my work history.

If you're lying about anything, especially references or salary history, you can still get caught even after you've accepted the position. In fact, many offers are contingent on all of your information checking out. You should never lie during the hiring process, but if your application has false information (whether on purpose or accident), make sure you hand the employer the proper information before you look like a liar.

5. Playing games

Negotiating salary is one thing; dragging your employer along is another. You have every right to think over an offer and review the terms and conditions, but people have better things to do than wait for you to twiddle your thumbs. Many job offers will come with a deadline that requires you to respond within a matter of days.

One reason you might be tempted to delay giving an answer is because you have another offer you're waiting on. Choosing one over the other is hard when the situation is so uncertain, but you do need to pick one or you could end up losing both.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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