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Offers & Salary Negotiation

You got the offer! Congrats! Celebrate! But now what?!?

The offer itself can be overwhelming. It is important to be just as diligent in your review and evaluation of the job offer as you were during the interview process. What if you’re not sure it’s the right situation for you? What if you have more than one offer to consider? What if you were hoping for more money? The University Career Center is available to assist you as you consider how to proceed with the opportunity you’ve been given. Review the information below and/or watch the recording of the "Evaluating Job Offers and Salary Negotiation" workshop on this page for a walkthrough.

Consider the Timeline

Most organizations provide a timeframe for you to respond to a job offer.  It is your responsibility to respond within the given window or request a reasonable extension. If requesting an extension, be prepared to provide a rationale and do so in a manner that takes the organization and their needs into consideration.

Review All Details

An initial job offer may come over the phone. Don’t allow your excitement to get the best of you - wait at least 24 hours before responding. The time will help you ensure you know exactly what you are signing up for. Be sure to ask for your offer letter in writing so that you can review all the details associated with the position you are considering.  Your offer letter should contain information about the position, a start date, compensation package details and deadline for your response (also given in writing).

Weigh Your Options / Competing Offers

You’ve done your homework on the organization(s) already, but now is the time to ensure this opportunity aligns with the needs and values you have for your professional career. Make sure you weigh all your options, particularly if you have competing offers. In deciding on an offer or offers, you may wish to consider:

  • Is this the right organizational fit? Does the work environment fit your personality, values and workstyle? Can you support the organizational mission and vision? 
  • As part of assessing organizational fit/work environment, you may want to ask the organization’s representatives about the employer’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) has prepared this guide (with sample questions) that you may find helpful.
  • Will the employer offer a signing bonus, relocation assistance, professional development opportunities and room for growth? Are there opportunities for remote work?
  • Do you understand the benefits package and foresee its options as able to cover your needs?
  • What is the cost of living where the employer is located? (check out this cost of living calculator)

If you do have competing offers, make sure that if the offers have different deadlines, you reach out to the employer with the closest deadline to ask for more time to make a decision. If you need assistance crafting this email (or coming up with a script for a telephone call), check out this LinkedIn Learning guide on offers.

Negotiating Power

Once you’ve reviewed your offer, you typically will have the opportunity to discuss the terms of employment. The art of negotiation is about you and the organization coming to a mutual agreement about what is most important to each of you and finding common ground. Negotiation requires practice and poise, so be sure to consult with a member of our Center for assistance. The most common points of negotiation include, start date, professional development support, signing bonus/relocation expenses and base salary.

Review the Art of Negotiating tip sheet to learn more about how to successfully negotiate. 

Accepting or Declining the Offer

How to accept or decline is very important. If accepting, be sure to do so verbally and in writing on or before the deadline date given. Your formal acceptance should confirm your start date, salary and any other relevant information. If declining an offer, do so in a manner that is professional and shows your sincere appreciation for the opportunity to be considered. You want to leave the organization with a positive impression of your professionalism because who knows, your paths may cross again in the future.

Reneging on an Offer

Once you have formally accepted an offer, the employer could consider that acceptance as binding. Backing out of a job offer after you have accepted is called reneging, and is considered unprofessional. 

Recruiters do not always stay at the same employer and you could cross paths with a recruiter whose offer you reneged on later in your career. Recruiters from different companies also communicate with each other, either informally at career fairs or more formally through industry/professional association networking events. Recruiters who feel particularly let down by a candidate regeging could choose to warn counterparts about that candidate’s behavior or share the school they graduated from, affecting the candidate and their fellow students.

Final Reminder...

Please remember that the University Career Center is here to help you with this process. Feel free to schedule a career advising appointment via Handshake to talk through your options and practice any negotiations you may choose to engage in.

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