Managing and Negotiating Job Offers

First Things First: Think It Over

Congratulations on your job offer! The next step is to carefully consider the opportunity according to your professional and personal priorities.

Don’t accept the offer right away. It is appropriate, and most likely expected, for you to tell the employer that you are enthusiastic about opportunity and that you would like some time to consider the offer. How long you take may depend on the situation – a small organization with an immediate opening may need your decision in a few days, while larger organizations might be prepared and able to give you more time, depending on their hiring cycle.

Know the policies for offers obtained through Brown recruiting, as outlined in its official job recruitment guidelines, including how much time to consider an offer. (N.B. the university has no way to enforce it’s suggested timeline with outside employers, but it can serve as a useful guide and reference).

Managing Multiple Offers. If you receive an offer from one employer, you can and should inform the others –– it demonstrates your desirability and may very well prompt other offers or speed up the interviewing timeline. If you aren’t sure how to manage this, a CareerLAB counselor can help you make an informed decision.

Do your Homework

Ask for the terms of the offer in writing. Things to keep in mind while evaluating an offer include:

The Job Profile. Are you excited by the job? What will be your daily tasks and job responsibilities? How does the position help you towards achieving your long-term career goals?

Supervisors, co-workers, and organizational culture. Will you enjoy being part of this team? Will your supervisor be a good mentor? Does the organization meet your values/interests? Do you like the organizational culture?

Salary and benefits. Based on your research, is the salary at market level? Will you meet your financial obligations (i.e. loans, rent, etc.)? How are promotions and reviews handled? Are there perks (i.e. travel, on-site fitness facilities, professional development opportunities)?

Location and lifestyle. Is the job located in a place where you would like to live? Will you have to move? How long is the commute? Is parking available? Will the job allow you to maintain the work-life balance you would like?

Negotiating the offer

Develop your skills. Negotiation is a skill that you can develop through research and practice. The following web resources can help.

Throughout the negotiation process with each employer, remain courteous and enthusiastic about the opportunity on offer. The person with whom you negotiate might become your supervisor or colleague. Always ask for the final offer in writing after you have negotiated new terms.

What to Negotiate

Determine if the salary is negotiable. Salaries for entry-level positions are sometimes non-negotiable. Other points might be negotiable. Consider negotiating the following items when you receive a job offer:

  • Benefits – flex time, vacation, healthcare coverage, retirement plan
    • Job responsibilities
    • Relocation allowance, start date, and signing bonus.

If salary is negotiable, do your research. Negotiating salary is best done when you have gathered information regarding the industry, the organization, its competitors, the function and specific position, and the cost of living where the job is based. Consult the websites below for field- specific information.

COMMUNICATE YOUR DECISION 

Accepting an Offer. Once you have made a decision, call, but be sure to follow up with a written acceptance letter to restate your understanding of the offer. Include terms such as salary, starting date, location, any perks (signing bonuses, moving allowance, etc), and other factors that you feel were vague or were not in writing.

Once you have accepted an offer, you should never back out. Backing out can damage your professional reputation. It can cause an employer to stop recruiting at Brown, thus limiting opportunities for future students. If you have concerns about a decision, please talk to a Career Counselor.

If you are participating in on-campus recruiting, once you’ve accepted a position you are no longer eligible to interview for any on-campus recruiting position.

Declining an Offer

As soon as you accept a position, you need to decline any other offer(s) you have received. Phone the organizations to let them know of your decision, then follow up with a written email. You may need this contact later on, so never burn your bridges.