Congratulations! Your hard work has landed you a job or internship offer—or maybe even several to choose from! Even though you’ve got an offer or two in hand, your job or internship search is not complete. You may have many questions that will make the decision to accept or decline a difficult one. You may be asking “Is this the right job for me?” “Will I be happy working there?” “What will my career look like if I stay there for five years?” “Is the salary enough?” In the end, you’ll have to decide if you’ll accept an offer or not.
EVALUATING AN OFFER
Begin with an assessment of yourself, your needs, and desires. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What are my career goals? Does this job offer meet my aspirations and goals?
- What are my priorities and obligations, and will this job offer allow me to fulfill these needs?
- Does this organization meet my standards, morals, and values?
- Will this position offer me enough challenge to grow, learn, and develop new skills?
- Evaluate the Company: Begin by researching the position and learning everything you can about it. Evaluate the company’s current position in the industry and learn all about the organization.
- Benefits Package: Look for dental, vision, 401K, healthcare, and vacation/sick time options. Take into account that sometimes benefits can be so great that they outweigh a lower salary offer. Make sure that your benefits package has full coverage for the items you need and not just partial coverage. Consider your future plans: How will the benefits measure up to your future plans?
- Salary and Bonus: It is important not to accept or decline an offer based only on the salary. Take into account the benefits package and the salary growth potential within a company. Bonuses should not entice you into accepting an offer if you are not sure about working there. If the salary is lower than you expected, then there may be room to negotiate.
If you conducted salary research and found that the offer is fair, you may decide to accept it. In other instances, you do not have enough information to know what the job’s worth or what its potential could be so you might decide to negotiate. Salary negotiation is an area that receives little attention but is an important part of the job search. Negotiations may be uncomfortable but can make a positive difference in your satisfaction with the position and the needs of the hiring organization. So, wait until they’re serious about hiring you. And when are you sure they’re serious? They’re serious when they make you an offer.
Negotiation is a process, not a singular event! Keep in mind that the employer has chosen you from a pool of qualified applicants, so you are not as powerless as you think. Always begin by expressing genuine interest in the position and the organization, emphasizing the areas of agreement but allowing “wiggle room” to compromise on other areas. Be prepared to support your points of disagreement, outlining the parts you would like to alter, your suggestions on how this can be done and why it would serve the company’s best interests to accommodate your request. Back up your reasons for wanting to change the offer with meaningful work-related skills and positive benefits to the employer. Requesting a salary increase because you are a fast learner or have a high GPA usually are not justifiable reasons in the eyes of the employer. Meaningful work experience or internships that have demonstrated or tested your professional skills are things that will make an employer stop and take notice. Do not rush the process because you are uncomfortable. Once you have reached a conclusion with which you are both relatively comfortable, be sure to get a written agreement to allow any questions to be immediately addressed.
Finally, please note that some entry level employees do not have a lot of latitude for negotiation, organizations are less likely to negotiate in slower job markets, and other employers have a policy of starting new employees at a set pay rate. If the employer chooses not to grant any of your requests, you will still have the option of accepting the original offer provided you have maintained a positive, productive and friendly atmosphere during your exchanges.
ACCEPTING OR DECLINING AN OFFER
The UNT Career Center encourages all students to be upfront and ethical in their actions with employers. To maintain your own professional reputation and that of the University, please adhere to these guidelines.
- When should I accept an internship/job offer?
- Students should receive a written offer with specific job title/location/salary/benefits. Do not accept an offer until it is in writing.
- If an organization gives you a verbal offer, request a written offer. An emailed offer is an acceptable offer.
- Is my offer binding once I’ve accepted an offer?
- Once you have accepted a position, stay firm in your decision. If you have signed a contract from an organization, they might have specific penalties for students who renege the offer. It also reflects poorly on you and will negatively impact opportunities for fellow UNT students if you renege on an accepted offer.
- What do I do if I’m juggling multiple offers?
- Prioritize what you are looking for in an internship/job and look at all aspects. Consider work-life balance, your commute, salary, supervisor, benefits, flexible hours, available promotions, and the future of the organization.
- What should I do if I’ve already received one offer, but I haven’t heard from my dream organization?
- Communicate with both parties.
- For the organization that has offered you the position, notify them that you are finishing up with the recruiting process and hope to make your decision by a specific date (usually no more than 2-3 weeks)
- Follow up with the dream organization to see if they have made a decision. Let them know that you’ve received another offer and are exploring your options.
- How long do I have to make a decision on the offer?
- You should not be pressured by an employer to accept an offer immediately. If you need to ask for more time, do so. Mentioning to the recruiter that you would like to take some time to review the entire offer package; which includes all benefits, will allow you a 3-5 day delay before accepting.
- Are there any consequences to reneging an offer?
- Absolutely. Industries are small and recruiters are well connected. You could potentially harm your professional reputation resulting in limited opportunities for yourself in the future.
- I’ve already accepted an offer, but my dream organization just came through and offered me a position. What should I do?
- Since you have accepted the first offer in good faith, it is not recommended to accept the second offer. If you choose to accept the second offer, there will be negative consequences.
- I’ve accepted an offer. What should I do next?
- Remove yourself from the internship/job search.
- Politely decline all remaining offers by calling and emailing the recruiters.
- Cancel all remaining interviews.
- How do I turn down an offer?
- Call the HR Director/Supervisor to turn down the offer.
- Follow up with a written email to notify the employer.
- Video: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting A Job
- Video: Negotiating Your Job Offer – Professor Deepak Malhotra (Harvard Business School)
- 15 Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer
- Glassdoor’s Salary Calculator
- Cost of Living in Your Area
- Cost of Living Calculator
*** The UNT Career Center acts only as a referral service and makes no particular recommendation regarding employers. We make no representations or guarantees about positions posted by the office. The UNT Career Center is not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions or other aspects of off-campus employment. Due to the volume of jobs received by this office, we are unable to research the integrity of each organization or person that list a job with us. Therefore, you are urged to undertake this responsibility yourself. This website also contains links to other web sites not under the control of the University or Career Services, and we are not responsible for the contents of any linked site. If you have any questions please contact our office at (940) 565-2105 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.