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Job Offers & Salary Negotiation

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Job and Internship Offer Guidelines

OCS has developed offer guidelines to balance the needs of both students and employers. These guidelines apply to all employers, on or off campus, interviewing Yale students.

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Congratulations on receiving an offer – now what? Be sure it’s the right opportunity for you. Below are some tips to guide you from the moment you receive the offer to your final decision. In addition, students and alums are encouraged to make an appointment with an OCS adviser to discuss your options.


Receiving the Offer

Offers are usually extended verbally – either by the line manager, the HR professional, or a recruiter. When receiving an offer, keep in mind to:

  • Be enthusiastic and professional. Express your thanks and your interest.
  • Ask for some time to consider the offer. Even if you know you’ll accept it, don’t make a decision on the spot (and no employer will expect you to do so).
  • Ask for the details, and preferably, in writing (it’s not always possible, so use your judgment). Details include:
    • Title and responsibilities,
    • Base salary, bonus (if any),
    • Sign-on bonus (if any),
    • Relocation allowance (if applicable),
    • Benefits package (health care, dental and eye care plans, retirement plans, 401K plans, day care, vacation policy, maternity/paternity leave, professional association dues, health club membership, etc.).

Note: Some employers require candidates to sign an employment agreement that contains a restrictive covenant, such as a Noncompete, Nonsolicitation, or Nondisclosure Agreement. Although common, candidates should carefully review these agreements. Consider the factors presented by the National Association of Colleges and Employers on Restrictive Covenants before signing.

Timeline to Decide on an Offer

Deciding whether to accept or decline an employment offer can arouse considerable anxiety. While experenced professionals will often been given just a few days to decide, OCS belives that current students should not feel pressured to make a hasty and ill-considered decision. Please consult a career adviser to discuss your options.

Yale’s Office of Career Strategy recommends that employers provide current Yale students four (4) weeks to decide on an internship or full-time offer. It is recommended that employers extending full time offers as a result of a previous summer internship provide students until November 15 or four (4) weeks to decide, whichever is later. Employers are encouraged to consider reasonable requests for additional time on a case by case basis.

Public Service/Public Interest Exception: Students may request that an employer extend the deadline to accept an employer's offer until as late as April 1 if the candidate is actively pursuing positions with public interest, government organizations or a national fellowship award.  Candidates may hold open only one offer in such circumstances.  Employers are encouraged to grant such requests.

After you have made your decision, OCS recommends notifying the employer by telephone and following up with an acceptance letter. We strongly encourage you to relay your decisions in writing to the employer.

Keep in mind that when you accept an offer, you have a professional obligation to join that employer.  Reneging on an offer (i.e., accepting an offer, changing your mind and then rejecting it) is extremely unprofessional; doing so damages your professional reputation, the reputation of Yale alumni employed by that organization and, of course, the reputation of Yale University.

Negotiating the Offer

Should you negotiate your offer? It depends. Do your research and try to assess compensation at similar organizations in the same job function. The window of opportunity for negotiating terms is after you have had time to consider the offer and before you accept the position, usually at the time the offer is initially made.

Note:  What matters is your total compensation, not just your salary.  The value of benefits packages can vary considerably across offers.

Rules of Effective Employment Negotiation

  • First, decide on your bottom line (in terms of salary, benefits, etc.) in advance.
  • If possible, speak with the hiring manager. Speak in a business-like tone, staying calm and professional throughout the conversation. Try to use a non-adversarial, collaborative tone (i.e. “Might there be another way of approaching this issue that could bring us closer together . . . “). Remember-- it’s HOW you ask as much as what you ask for.
  • Express your interest in and enthusiasm for the position and the organization. Reinforce your desire to be part of their team. And try to show how meeting your request(s) is in their best interest, given what you will be bringing to the organization.
  • Negotiate the base salary first, and save the most difficult issues for last.
  • Avoid getting into a conversation of specific salaries at competitor organizations.
  • Always continue to sell yourself.
  • If your terms are met, it is assumed that you will accept the position. It is unethical to negotiate with an employer if you have no intention of accepting the position, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.

Tip: Learn more about how to negotiate effectively

Tip: Websites with salary information

  • JobStar: Job Search Guide - More than 300 industry-specific and general salary surveys.
  • - The “Salary Wizard” options provides a benchmark for salaries by industry and zip code.
  • - Relocation guide which includes a salary calculator, letting you know what a salary in City X is worth in City Y.
  • - Quench your compensation curiosity with millions of salaries for all types of industries and jobs.
  • Chronicle Data - Staff, faculty and adjunct salary data at thousands of colleges from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Making a Decision

It is important to consider all facets of a job offer to decide if it is right for you. Be cautious about evaluating an offer solely on its salary or the prestige of the organization. Ask yourself how this position fits into your long-term goals, your work style, and your desired work-life balance.  Factors to consider include:

FAQ: Financial Considerations

  • Salary
  • Signing bonus
  • Relocation package
  • Vacation
  • Savings/retirement plan
  • Health/dental/vision benefits
  • Tuition reimbursement for family
  • Pre-tax benefits (childcare, health, commuting)
  • Cost of living (housing, commuting, etc.)

FAQ: The Organization

  • Values & mission
  • Financial stability
  • Reputation
  • Size of business
  • Location
  • Commuting options

FAQ: The Work Environment

  • Typical daily hours
  • Supervisor & colleagues
  • Corporate culture
  • Travel requirements
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Opportunities for training

After you have made your decision, OCS recommends notifying the employer by telephone and following up with an acceptance letter or a withdrawal letter.