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Job Offers / Salary Negotiation

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Congratulations on receiving an offer – now what? are some tips on how to evaluate and negotiate the offer.


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.

Receiving the Offer

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

1. Be enthusiastic and professional. Express your thanks and your interest.
2. Ask for time to consider the offer. Even if you think you’ll accept, don’t make a decision on the spot (and employers won't expect you to do so).
3. 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 (e.g. health care, retirement plans/contributions, vacation policy, leave policy, professional association dues, health club membership, etc.).

Evaluating the Offer

When deciding on an offer, it’s often helpful to draw a line down the center of the piece of paper and list the Pros of the offer on one side and the Cons on the other. In addition to the financial package, consider the organization's culture, the growth opportunities, amount of travel, quality of life, professional mentorship and training. After completing this exercise, you’ll probably have a strong sense of which direction you’re heading but next comes the “gut” test. Wait several hours, and then imagine the phone call you would make turning down the job offer, and how you would feel afterwards. If you’re envisioning a sense of relief, don’t take the job; if you’re envisioning a sense of disappointment, accept it. Trust your instincts!

Negotiating the Offer

Should you negotiate your offer? It depends. Do your research after you receive the offer, and try to find out salaries at similar organizations in the same job function. Helpful sites to check out are:

  • 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.
  •  A 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.
  • MoneyGeek: A step-by-step guide to negotiating for the pay you deserve.
  • Job Seekers Salary Calculator: A salary calculator by region, job and years of experience.

If your research shows that the offer is below industry standards, you should negotiate. The window of opportunity for negotiating terms is after you have had time to consider the offer and before you accept the position.

Tip: Effective Offer Negotiation

  • First, decide on your bottom line (in terms of salary, benefits, etc.) in advance.
  • Speak in a professional tone, staying calm throughout the conversation. 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 enthusiasm for the position and the organization. Reinforce your desire to be part of their team.
  • 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.

Tip: Learn more about how to negotiate effectively

Accepting an Offer

After you have made your decision, notify the employer by telephone and follow up with an acceptance email. Please 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 the reputation of Yale.

First-years, sophomores, and juniors who accept an offer and then renege on their acceptance may lose access to Office of Career Strategy services. Seniors who accept an offer and then renege on their acceptance may lose access to alumni career services.

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