Job Offer

A job offer is a comprehensive package, not just your salary, the employer extends. It can include the following benefits:

  • Health and retirement benefits
  • Vacation time
  • Sign‐on bonus
  • Performance evaluations (timing)
  • Professional development options, tuition reimbursement
  • Flexibility of work schedule, telecommute options
  • Travel requirements, company laptop/cell phone
  • Stock options

Negotiating Basics

Know when to negotiate:

  • Negotiate only when you feel you are not being offered what you and the job are worth
  • Do not negotiate just for the sake of it
  • Do not negotiate until an offer is made
  • Understand the economic and company climate

Know your strengths:

  • You have more negotiating power if you have:
    • Relevant work experience (includes internships or summer jobs)
    • Technical expertise that is highly sought‐after
    • Graduate degree in an area of expertise
    • Written job offer from another employer that provides a higher salary (use only if you have not already accepted)

Know what you want:

Consider other elements of your compensation package in addition to the salary

Know what you’re worth:

  • Your credentials/career path
  • Your professional qualities
  • Your potential to deliver a prompt return on the employer’s investment
  • Research salary ranges for the position you applied to

Conducting Salary Research

Things you need to consider/research:

  • Your worth
  • Your budget
  • The industry of the employer
  • The geographic location
  • How much recent grads are getting paid
  • The position, company and competition
  • How much other similar positions are posting for

Resources for salary research:

  • Salary Wizard:
  • Salary Calculator:
  • The American Almanac of Jobs and Salaries
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • US News & World Report, BusinessWeek
  • Professional associations, trade journals
  • Newspaper and online job listings

Salary Talk Basics

  • You want to put off the salary talk until you have a firm offer
  • Let the employer bring up the salary question first. Once you have had the opportunity to demonstrate your qualifications, you’ll be in a better situation to discuss your salary

The Salary Question

On the application:

  • An employer may ask the following as a screening device on an application:
    • Salary requirement - how much you expect to get paid
    • Salary history - how much were you paid in the past
  • Possible application responses to salary requirements:
    • Provide your salary requirement
    • Provide a wide salary range
    • State that you “expect competitive or fair compensation”
    • Express your salary flexibility
    • State that you would prefer to discuss salary in an interview
    • Give your salary history instead

In the Interview:

  • If asked about your desired salary during an interview, you should express the following
    • Your interest in the opportunity
    • Your expectation to be paid in line with market conditions and your experience level
    • Your willingness to discuss salary history once you and the company decide you’re the right person for the position
  • If pressed for a response, provide a salary range, not a specific dollar amount

 The Job Offer

Once you have a job offer, you should consider several factors:

  • Thank the interviewer for the offer and express your interest in the company and position but ask for time to evaluate the offer
  • Take some time to think it over; it is customary to ask for 24‐48 hours to review the offer

The Counter Offer/Counter Proposal

The counter proposal:

  • Can be done in person via a phone call (or by letter/e‐mail)
  • Use your best judgment
  • It is up to you to demonstrate why you are a value to the company and why you are worth the added investment
  • If salary cannot be negotiated, consider negotiating other aspects of your benefits package

Don't Forget

  • Throughout the negotiation process, make sure to continue to sell your skills and experiences
  • Never make demands – keep the tone conversational instead of demanding
  • Avoid continuing making counter‐offers multiple times; after you have negotiated what you feel is appropriate, either accept it or decline it; remember, offers can still be rescinded
  • If you do not plan to accept the offer at any time, do not begin the negotiation process as it is a waste of your time and the company’s time

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Settling/not negotiating
  • Focusing on need/greed rather than value
  • Weak research or negotiation prep
  • Making a salary pitch too early
  • Accepting a job offer too quickly
  • Declining a job offer too quickly
  • Asking for too many changes in counteroffer
  • Being too pushy
  • Taking salary negotiations personally
  • Not asking for final offer in writing