READ IT & WRITE BACK
Congratulations on the job offer! After several rounds of interviews and hours of meticulous scrutiny, the company has decided that they want you on their team. Whether you have decided to accept or reject the offer, take some serious time to mull over your next steps by reading this quick guide to evaluating, negotiating, and accepting/declining a job offer.
The first step to approaching a job offer is to carefully read all of the material sent. This includes the email, the formal offer (typically a .pdf attached to the email), any other attachments, and all relevant links.
Your materials will typically include the following information:
- Salary (or hourly wage)
- Start date and end date (in the case of internships)
- Expenses covered
- Benefits (probably not included in an internship offer)
- Housing (provided or not provided)
- Date to accept offer by
The next step is to send an email to your contact, thanking them for extending the offer. If this is your dream internship/job, be sure to indicate that this position is on the top of your list and that you appreciate the time they have given to thoroughly review the offer. If this is one of a few internships/jobs you are considering indicate that you are strongly considering the offer and appreciate the time for consideration. Also, confirm that you will have a response for them before the date indicated on the offer.
QUICK TIP: At this point, if there are any unclear points on the offer, don’t be afraid to ask questions in your emailed response.
EVALUATE THE OFFER
Keep in mind the information below as you consider the job offer. Points from both the internship and full-time sections may be relevant to you.
- Is the job description in line with your career aspirations?
- Do you feel like you fit into the company culture?
- Beyond the internship, do you see a career with this company?
- Is the location convenient? Is this a place you would like to live if you accept a full-time offer?
- What kind of training/education will you receive?
- Is the salary/wage enough to cover your expenses? (Keep in mind: salary/wage is often non-negotiable for internships)
- Do you feel like you fit into the company culture?
- Do you like the working environment? Is there enough physical space? Is there enough interaction with colleagues and supervisors?
- Are there ample opportunities for professional development/promotion?
- Is further training offered?
- Is continued education assistance offered by the company?
- Does this position afford the quality of life you want?
- Does this company offer job security?
- Is the location convenient?
- Is the amount of travel consistent with your desired lifestyle?
- Does the company exhibit diversity?
- Do you feel that the salary is satisfactory given your qualifications and the industry standard?
- Will you enjoy this job?
If you plan on negotiating your salary, head over to our next section, SALARY NEGOTIATION.
Begin the negotiation process by asking if the job offer is negotiable. If you have a previously established line of communication with your contact through the phone, give her/him a call to ask how much flexibility the company has to discuss salary. Once you have determined that it can be adjusted through negotiations, do your homework. Have a good, sound reason for negotiating.
Conduct research to benchmark a salary range that matches your position. To do this, research salaries for professionals with a similar:
- Level of Experience
- Level of Education
- Location (Country, State, City)
- Company Size
If your company offers a benefits package not typically offered by other companies consider factoring in the monetary value of those benefits as well. Benefits can account for 30-40% of your base salary.
SALARY RESEARCH TOOLS
Below are some of the resources that will help you establish an appropriate salary range
- CCO Post-Graduation Data: The CCO generates annual reports on salaries of Purdue graduates.
- NACE Salary Survey: The National Association of Colleges and Employers produces quarterly surveys of entry-level salary. You can use the NACE Salary Calculator to establish a salary range based on occupation, education, and location.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: The BLS produces salary data on a state, regional, and national level.
- LinkedIn Salary Search Tool: See a detailed breakdown of salaries by job title and location.
Salary negotiation is tricky. Asking for a higher salary without alienating the employer is a delicate issue and deserves ample preparation. The goal of negotiating is come to an agreement that feels fair to both parties.
NOTE: It is important to remember that negotiations could end with you getting everything you want, some of what you want, nothing of what you want, or even a withdrawal of the offer. If an offer is altered to meet your requests, be prepared to accept it soon after your negotiations are completed.
Before contacting your employer, consider your means of communication. Can the negotiation be done face-to-face? If so, find out if your contact has the time to meet with you to discuss salary. If your contact can only be reached by email or phone, consider your previous interactions. If your employer has previously expressed that you should not hesitate to give her/him a call should you have any questions, contact the employer through a phone call. If a clear preference for email has been expressed, contact the employer through email.
During your negotiation, express to the employer the areas you wish to negotiate and explain why you are asking for an increase in salary. Perhaps you feel that some of your work experience was not considered in determining your salary offer, or your salary offer does not compare favorably with other offers you have received. If the organization cannot offer a higher salary, perhaps additional vacation, a signing bonus, or moving expenses could be added or increased as an alternative. When negotiating salary, be sure to use your research and benchmark salary range you found in order to help strengthen your position.
REMEMBER: Consider the needs of the organization, the current market and how you can approach the employer in a confident, assured manner. If you implement these tips, you will be well on your way to a successful negotiation!
Check out the CCO handbook for a sample salary negotiation role-play
ACCEPT OR DECLINE THE OFFER
By now you have thoroughly reviewed the offer and considered whether you fit within the company and the position. The date to confirm with the employer is coming up and it’s time to accept or decline the offer.
ACCEPTING THE OFFER
Regardless of whether you are accepting or declining the offer, be sure to do so both verbally and in writing. If you accept the offer, thank the employer once again and include a statement confirming:
- Start date
- Other pertinent information
After accepting the offer, immediately contact other employers you have interviewed with, have scheduled an interview with or have received offers from, informing them that you have accepted another position.
Example Accept Letter
Dear Ms. Johnson:
I am excited to accept your offer to join <COMPANY NAME> in the Auditing department at a starting salary of $XX,000 per year and health insurance will be provided 90 days after start date.
Thank you for your assistance in clarifying the company’s employee benefits package and relocation policy.
I am looking forward to starting my employment of June 21. I am eager to contribute to the Auditing team and <COMPANY NAME>.
DECLINING THE OFFER
- Thank your employer again for the offer, expressing appreciation for the time and effort they invested in the recruitment process.
- Explicitly state you are declining the offer in a professional manner.
- Again, declining an offer should be done through both phone and email (preferably in that order).
Example Decline Letter
Dear Mr. Jones:
Thank you for your offer for the position of Assistant Project Coordinator at <COMPANY NAME>.
While I believe firmly that <COMPANY NAME> provides an exciting and challenging opportunities, I have had another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my current career goals and interests. After much consideration, I have decided that I must decline your offer.
Thank you for all the courtesy and hospitality extended to me by your office. I appreciate your interest in me, and I enjoyed learning more about your organization.