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Job Offers & Negotiations

Congratulations! You received a job offer! Now what? Allow time to review and evaluate to determine if the offer is in your best interest. Here are 4 steps to manage and negotiate your offer:

Step 1. Review the Job Offer

When you receive a job offer (by email or phone), ask for information about the offer, thank the employer for the offer, and ask for the offer in writing. Always inform the employer that you will get back to them with a decision.

Carefully review the job offer to ensure you understand the details before responding. Typically, a job offer includes:

  • Job title and type (part-time, full-time, exempt, non-exempt)
  • Employment start date
  • Contact information
  • Deadline to accept the offer
  • Salary, hourly wage, bonuses
  • Location (traveling to other offices & expenses covered)
  • Benefits (health/life insurance, retirement plan, sick/vacation time, education reimbursement)
  • Housing (provided/not provided)

Step 2. Confirm Offer Receipt

After receiving the offer in writing, always respond to the employer that you have received it, regardless of whether you are considering accepting or declining.

Not considering the job offer

If you don't want the position, let the employer know you appreciate their time, but you have decided to go in a different direction. Be pleasant and polite. If the job is not what you are looking for, don't accept the offer and continue job searching.

Sample Response
Dear [recipient's name],
Thank you for the job offer for the [position title] with [company]. While I enjoyed your team's interview process and professionalism, I will not be accepting the position. After carefully evaluating this job, I have decided that it does not align with my career goals [add reason for declining the offer]. I want to express my gratitude for the job offer and my regrets that it didn't work out at this time.
With gratitude,

Considering the job offer

If you are considering the offer, immediately call or email the employer to confirm, convey your enthusiasm, and thank them for the offer. Let them know you will review the offer and respond by the date specified. If you have questions about the offer, ask for clarification. If you need more time to review, inquire about the process, as the employer has their own needs to fulfill. Review steps 3 - 4 to learn about the negotiation process.

Sample Response
Dear [recipient's name],
I am excited about this offer to join [company's] team. I want to take some time to review the enclosed offer materials before providing you with an answer. May I let you know my decision by the deadline noted in the email? Who can I contact if I have any questions regarding the information enclosed? Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards,

Step 3. Evaluate the Offer

Develop your ideal job criteria to help evaluate whether the offer you received aligns with your career interests, values, calling, salary, benefits, and desired quality of life. Factor these questions into your decision: 

  • How will this job benefit your personal/professional career goals?
  • Does the company's culture align with your values?
  • What type of professional development opportunities are offered?
  • Will you enjoy this job?
  • How close is this job to your ideal job?
  • Are you getting a good offer?
  • Are you satisfied with the salary offer? Does the salary fit your lifestyle?
  • Are there opportunities for promotions/career advancement?
  • Is the commute or relocation manageable?
  • When do evaluations take place? Are they used to determine promotions or raises?
  • Are you satisfied with the benefits package and schedule?

Step 4. Negotiate the Offer

Before negotiating, research the job market to learn about your experience value and determine if the salary/benefits are a fair offer. If they are reasonable, you may accept the offer without negotiation. However, if you want to negotiate your salary or benefits, you must be prepared. If you decide to counteroffer, have a value mindset of what you offer the employer. View the negotiation as an open dialogue, not a list of demands.

Be respectful, reasonable, and practical throughout the negotiation process. Use the salary resources below to learn about fair compensation. Recognize that some entry-level positions may have higher salaries in larger cities, but you'll have higher living costs. Junior/senior-level positions may have more flexibility in negotiating.

Salary Offer: Review the offer to ensure you receive a fair salary.

  • Is the salary what you expected? What is your salary/pay range?
  • What is your job worth?
  • Are you able to afford your lifestyle? Cost of living?
  • Can you negotiate a pay increase after a successful performance evaluation?
  • Are you prepared to negotiate your salary? Is the employer open to negotiation?
  • What can you offer the employer (knowledge, experience, skills)?

Salary Resources:

Benefits Package: Review the benefits offered, including sick/vacation time, location/relocation, retirement plan, and health/life insurance. If the employer didn't include this information or you have questions, contact them. A low salary offer can be balanced with a great benefits package.

  • What benefits/perks are you looking to receive from an employer?
  • Does the employer offer retirement plans? What is the employer's contribution?
  • What health package is offered? Does the employer cover a substantial portion?
  • What sick/vacation time is offered? Can you negotiate a flex schedule or more vacation?
  • If the job is not in your ideal location, can you request a relocation after a couple of years? Can you request a hybrid day(s) after probation?

Relocation Resources: Moving to a new city can be tough. Getting the right information can make it easier. If your new job requires you to move, these sites may be helpful:

  • Home Fair | obtain a salary calculator, city reports & cost of living for different cities.
  • City-Data | find detailed, informative profiles for every city in the US.
  • Movoto | learn about your new neighborhood.