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 an exercise to help you make a careful decision based on what is most important to you in your job fulfillment. You got more than one offer? Use this worksheet to compare them. 

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.

Potential Scenarios

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.”

Negotiating Salary
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. For information on salary during the interview process, click here.

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:

  1. Be assertive: this is your opportunity to demonstrate your worth.
  2. Don’t commit too quickly: never say yes on the spot nor 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).
  3. Summarize your strengths and skills in concrete terms. Use examples.
  4. If an employer says "no", suggest alternatives: a salary review within 6 months, tuition reimbursement, signing bonus (or an increase), and/or relocation reimbursement.