Negotiating A Job Offer

Each job offer scenario is different. Make an appointment to see a Career Counselor to talk through your specific situation.

The Process

Step One: Receive the Offer

Be sure to take careful notes as you are receiving the offer. Don't accept on the spot. You'll want some time to process the information, review your notes and talk the offer over with someone you trust.
TIP: Recognize that at this point (once the offer is made) the ball is in your court for the first time since the entire interview process started.

Step Two: Negotiate the Offer

Know what you want before the conversation begins - know what you want to ask for and know what you are willing to accept. These are usually not the same thing. Also know what is most important to you, sometimes it isn't money. Talk about whatever it is you want most: salary, a later start date, the opportunity for a review/raise in six months. Be willing to accept compromises.
TIP: Don't be afraid to ask for what is most important to you. All they can say is "no" - offers are not reneged because you asked a question.

FAQs

When do we talk about money?

It is NEVER appropriate to ask about compensation before you have received a job offer. Some interviewers may ask you to provide a "range" that you are looking for, and in that case you should be prepared to answer them, but do not bring it up yourself.

What if I have already accepted the job? Can I still negotiate?

No. Once you have accepted a job offer (yes, even verbally) then you have agreed to the terms offered by the company when they offered you the job. In very rare instances, there may be other things you want to discuss after saying yes, but for the most part "yes" is the end of the negotiating conversation.

What is "Total Comp"?

Total Comp is short for Total Compensation and looks at your base salary, any bonus/incentives you will be receiving (and in some cases, interviewers include the cost of your health insurance and other benefits in this number). When negotiating, be sure you are clear what your base salary will be.

Will I lose the offer if I ask for too much money?

Offers are not reneged because of a question that you asked - be sure to ask professionally and politely, and realize that now that you have the offer - the ball is in your court.

What if I've tried all this and they still won't give me what I want?

The most important thing, at this stage of your career, is that you asked. You practiced the negotiating conversation and learned something about how to ask for what you want in the workplace. At some point, you have to make a decision to accept exactly what was offered. If you really want the job, just say yes!

How do I know if the offer is a good one?

Do your research. Use resources like CareerBliss's and GlassDoor's salary search resources. Talk to friends. Talk to professors. Meet with Career Services to determine a fair pay range for the job you are applying for, as well as the location.