Evaluating and Negotiating Offers
Congratulations on receiving an offer! After so much hard work, you may feel like a big weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and you may be tempted to say yes right away. Instead of rushing into an acceptance, though, take a breath. Evaluate the job offer and your priorities. Thayer Career Services is available to help you think critically through each aspect of the offer.
The Offer Itself
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with considerations, so we created the EVALUATING YOUR PRIORITIES worksheet, to help you make a careful decision based on what is most important to you in your job fulfillment. You received more than one offer? Use the COMPARING OFFERS worksheet.
To Accept or To Reject
You are never expected to accept an offer on the spot. Employers who recruit through Thayer give students three weeks to decide on a full time job offer and one week for an internship offer.
- I’m not ready to say yes or no: express appreciation for the offer. Let your contact know that you need some time to carefully consider it, because it’s such an important decision. Asking for an extension is possible, just be sure to give a specific date.
- I’m ready to say yes: express your appreciation and enthusiasm for the offer, and ask for it in writing. If you have pending offers and/or interviews, notify those employers by telephone or email.
- I’m declining the offer: express genuine appreciation of the offer in a short and sweet email or phone call.
What it Means When You Accept an Offer
Never accept one offer and then go back on your word if a more attractive one materializes. To do this is unethical, and reflects poorly on you and Thayer School. In order to keep doors open and to avoid burning bridges, be honest with any employer with whom you have outstanding interviews. For example, if you are accepting an internship position: “I am planning on accepting an offer, but I would love to stay in touch regarding full time opportunities.”
Salary is not just a number. When considering your offer, think about the industry, company size, location, and the type of work you will do (this is based on your education, experience level, and skills). If you choose to negotiate, always do it over the phone or in person, and always show respect. You can find additional information on discussing salary on the page that covers interview preparation.
Step by Step
Once you get an offer, keep in mind that there isn’t a magic formula for winning a negotiation. Of course, there are some things to be aware of in the negotiating process:
- Be assertive: this is your opportunity to demonstrate your worth.
- Don’t commit too quickly: never say yes on the spot or rush into a decision. Be tactful, ask for more time, do more research (e.g., examine the pros and cons of your salary offer so you can put things into perspective).
- Summarize your strengths and skills in concrete terms. Use examples.
- If an employer says "no", suggest alternatives: a salary review within 6 months, tuition reimbursement, signing bonus (or an increase), and/or relocation reimbursement.
- There is more room when negotiating for your full time position than for something short-term.
- Know who the salary negotiator is. Sometimes, the person doing the hiring isn’t the person capable of changing the budget for your position, so just ask nicely and clearly: “I am interested in discussing salary. Who is the best person to talk to about this?”
- If you have a couple offers, you could use them as negotiating tools. This provides leverage and puts some urgency on the company’s end to make a more attractive offer. Talk to us so we can map out your strategy.
- Practice: make an appointment with us via Handshake.
- Salaries for Engineering jobs: Average salary ranges for engineers
- Glassdoor’s salary statistics: Search salaries and compensation
- levels.fyi: Online platform for comparing career levels and compensation packages across different companies using verified sources.
- Salaries of previous H-1B visa holders: salaries submitted on H-1B paperwork you can search by company, role, and/or location.
- MoneyGeek Salary Calculator: How far will your salary go in another city? Or compare it to the cost of living in four cities!
- Occupational Employment Statistics
- Benefits 101 (The Muse)
- Economic Research Institute: Compensation survey data and analytics for 6,000 positions in more than 1,000 industries and over 8,000 locations. (Free Demo or purchase necessary)
- Negotiating Startup Offers in 3 Steps: The Muse
- Startup Equity Calculator: Carta
- Evaluating Job Offer with Equity Stock Options | 5 Things to Consider: Medium
- Stock Options Advice: Monster