WAIT. You have time.
While you should acknowledge an offer immediately, it is standard practice to take two days to thoroughly think through an offer before responding. Talk to your career counselor for additional help in evaluating an offer or negotiating your salary.
While salary important, there are several variables in a job offer to consider. Evaluate the entire package: make sure you understand health benefits, vacation time, retirement plan contributions, and bonuses. In comparing multiple offers, also consider potential for growth or promotion. Evaluate your potential team, the day-to-day environment, and your specific responsibilities. Your personal values will influence how you evaluate an offer; what might be important for some may not be important to you.
Negotiating Your Salary
Salary negotiation is about communicating why you deserve more based on special traits, skills and experiences you have to offer. Always ask if the offer is negotiable before making specific requests; consider factors beyond base salary such as health benefits, training or education reimbursement, and bonuses.
- Know the salary range: If you can demonstrate you have training or experience beyond the minimal requirements, negotiate to be at the higher end of the salary range.
- Think about what will get you to work every day: Aside from salary, if other needs are not met (training, professional growth, health benefits, etc.), will you stay there? Consider stock options, relocation expenses, membership dues in professional associations, or registration fees for workshops or seminars. These types of perks cost companies little, but can enhance your position.
- Prioritize your list: Determine what is most important to you. What items would prevent you from taking a job if they were not provided for in some way?
- Be realistic and diplomatic: If the starting salary is $35,000, don’t go into negotiations demanding a $60,000 a year salary. The recruiter is likely to revoke the offer and send you walking. Remember you must work there after you strike a deal.
- Ask for your agreement in writing: A letter of agreement should describe the details of the job (i.e. salary, health benefits, retirement, relocation expenses, stock options, etc.). Having a contract ensures that you and your employer are clear on what was promised.
- Don’t be afraid to walk away: If the employer seems unfair or unreasonable, this attitude provides some insight into the organization. Do you still want to work there?