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The Offer

Career Resource Center

The Offer

Evaluating the Offer

You’ve done your homework, crafted your cover letters and resumes, interviewed (probably multiple times), sent follow-ups and you have now received an offer. It’s not unusual for an company to take longer than you expect to make an offer of employment. When you are made an offer, accept it only if you are ready and feel comfortable. You seldom have to accept an offer on the spot.
  • If you get an offer but are waiting on another company to see what they will do, try and buy some time. Tell them you’d like some time to evaluate the offer and discuss it with family.
  • Look at the big picture: culturally, time-wise, and most importantly, function-wise. If your job is doing something you like doing with people you get along with, chances are you will succeed and the money and opportunities will fall into place.

Questions to help you make your decision

  • Will this position be a logical fit for your long-term plans? Will it take you in the direction you want your career to go?
  • Does the TOTAL compensation package make good economic and career sense? (The offer is more than just salary- you should put into consideration health/dental insurance, time off, benefits like telecommuting or working from home, if applicable.)
  • Is the position in synch with your strengths? Will you be doing things you enjoy doing professionally?
  • Is the environment right in terms of company culture and values?
  • Has there been a history of growth or downsizing?
  • Does the opportunity offer the responsibilities and challenges you’d like? Will it provide an increase in your responsibilities?
  • If it did not work out, will it have an irreversible altercation on your chosen career path?
  • Will you be able to make a contribution that will have a significant impact in this department or in the company overall?
  • Do you like the people you would be working with?
  • Do you click with your immediate supervisor?
  • Are turnover rates low?
  • Is the company’s mission statement aligned with your values?
  • Is the commute a reasonable one?
  • Does the company provide the equipment and support you need to do your job effectively?
  • Will the position enhance or complement your personal/family commitments?

Important components of an offer

  • Position title
  • Base salary
  • Bonus: sign-on and/or incentive (based on performance of you, the company or a combination of both)
  • Reviews- when are you eligible for first raise?
  • Medical benefits- employee cost for family/single plan
  • Life insurance
  • Vision plan- employee cost for family/single plan
  • Dental insurance: employee cost for family/single plan
  • Disability insurance: short and/or long term
  • Tuition aid- when eligible, percent covered, books and expenses?
  • 401k/403b- matching?
  • Savings plan
  • Profit sharing
  • Scheduled hours vs. actual hours worked
  • Flex-time/schedule
  • Health club membership
  • Parking
  • Vacation- amount and how earned?
  • Paid time off: sick days, personal days and holidays
  • Relocation package- house hunting trip(s), moving expenses, assistance with sale of current home, assistance with temporary living arrangements 

Negotiating the Offer

This can be the most important part of your job search. Be reasonable- don’t expect to make an unreasonable leap in compensation and realize that the offer is more than just the salary. Companies seldom offer you their highest offer on the first go-around, most assume you will negotiate for a better offer, so don’t be afraid to respectfully negotiate further. Be prepared to back up your negotiations with reasoning. This is part of the process many people miss out on because they feel out of their comfort zone. It’s usually smart to negotiate the terms of an offer; the trick is to know your limits.


Tips to salary negotiation

  • Remove the emotion from the situation.
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand a component of the offer.
  • Don’t give a minimum salary; it’s all you will receive.
  • Don’t be intimidated, even if you don’t have a lot of negotiation experience.
  • Know your bottom line before you start discussions.
  • Negotiating isn’t about winning; it’s about coming to a mutual agreement on terms that will satisfy you.
  • Time kills deals. Don’t delay your answer if you receive an offer. The longer time you take to answer, the greater chance of the offer being withdrawn.
  • You seldom have to accept a position on the spot.
  • Be collaborative- you don’t want to sour the relationship before you begin.
  • Don’t overprice yourself, the offer may be withdrawn.
  • Negotiation is give and take.
  • Your overriding goal is a win-win for you and the company.
  • Research salaries using a variety of methods: online salary tools, data collected from professional associations, and alumni career service offices: think about what you absolutely need for a base salary and then what you need to enjoy life.
  • When negotiating, always do your homework to back up your position.
  • When thinking of the offer, keep benefits and time off policies in mind. Perhaps the cost of benefits is less than what you are currently paying. Also, soft benefits such as these may be easier for your prospective company to negotiate than salary.
  • Make sure you receive a written updated offer after negotiating.


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