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Evaluating Offers and Salary Negotiation

Congratulations! After a long job search you have a job offer. Evaluating the job offer to make sure that it's the right one for you needs as much effort as writing a resume or preparing for an interview. Being prepared to discuss salary is also an important part of the process. Remember that the Career Services and Co-op Office is available to help!

Evaluating Job Offers

An offer is comprised of more than a salary. Carefully weigh all the important factors listed below in considering the offer and don't hesitate to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your program coordinator in our office.

  • Job content or nature of the work
  • Your future boss
  • Salary and benefits
  • Co-workers and corporate culture
  • Typical work week
  • Location

Acknowledge receipt of all job offers right away and pursue one of the following options:

Accepting/Rejecting an Offer

Job offer options:

  • Stall - Not Ready To Make A Decision: Express appreciation for the offer. Tell them that because this is an important decision you would like some time to carefully think about it. Agree on a reasonable time frame to get back to the company. You should not need to accept any offer on the spot. If you are waiting to hear back from other companies with whom you have interviewed, contact those companies and find out when they will be making a decision, informing candidates, and, if you can, find out whether you are being considered for the position.
  • Accept - You Really Want This Job: Show your appreciation for the offer. Ask the employer to confirm the offer in writing. Do not interview for any other positions. Reject all other offers immediately by telephone or e-mail. Report your job to the Career Services and Co-op Office.
  • Reject - Thanks, But No Thanks: Express appreciation for the offer. Say something positive about the organization and be diplomatic.

Ethics of Accepting/Rejecting an Offer

Once you accept a co-op job offer, even verbally, you must not back out, or renege on the job, to work for another employer. If you have any questions/concerns about this, discuss with your program coordinator before taking action!

Good employer relations are vital to RIT's relationship with employers, and you, the student, are a critical link in this relationship. In addition, reneging on an offer could damage your chances of future employment with that company. Therefore, consider carefully before accepting a position.

  • Discuss offers thoroughly with employers so you understand the terms and reach a mutually acceptable date to respond to their offer.
  • Request extensions from employers if you need more time to consider other offers. Do not ignore deadline dates you have agreed upon.
  • Notify employers that you are accepting or rejecting an offer as soon as you make your decision - never later than the arranged date.
  • Once you accept a job offer, immediately inform other employers who have offers pending. Honor your acceptance of an offer as a contractual agreement with the employer.
  • Cancel any other scheduled interviews or on-site visits.

Salary Negotiations

Preparation and Research
Many factors determine salary offers; the type of work you perform (based on your skills, education, and experience level), the industry, company size and the geographical area. Keep in mind that there is more room for negotiation when discussing full-time offers versus co-op or short-term employment.

Start by learning what the typical salary range is for the job. Salary range information is available from a variety of sources including trade magazines, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Internet. The Career Services and Co-op Office Web site has salary information, for specific programs, collected from both co-op and graduating students and links to online salary sites.

Next, determine your salary requirement. Work out a monthly budget incorporating all of your real and anticipated expenses, savings, "fun" money, and a cushion for emergencies. Remember that taxes come off the top of each paycheck.

Salary Discussions
Early in the process the employer may try to find out if the company can afford you by asking your salary requirements. You can choose to do one of the following:

Ignore the request, which is obviously risky.
Inquire if there is a set salary range for the position.
Acknowledge the request and say that you are open and flexible about starting salary.
Provide your salary requirements, but only after you have done your research. You should provide the employer with a broad range and make sure you are comfortable with the bottom range figure!

Generally, you should wait for the employer to bring up the salary issue. Ideally, this happens near the end of the interview process when you know more about the position. However, if the employer doesn't mention salary, and you are at the point of seriously considering a position with the company, it is appropriate for you to bring up the salary issue.

Factors Beyond Salary
Keep in mind the benefits the company is offering, as well as other perks such as; 401K, relocation expenses, company car, bonus, vacation, holidays, life and medical insurance, tuition assistance, and stock purchase or savings plan. These benefits can add as much as 30-40% to your actual salary.

Sample Negotiation Scripts
Avoid being confrontational; be reasonable in your approach. Reiterate that you are very interested in working for the employer and you want to find a way to work this out.

"At the present time my salary requirements are negotiable within the range of high thirties to low forties."
"Given the responsibilities of this job, I would expect this position to pay in the range of __ to __."
"Thank you for the offer. I am very excited about working for you because ABC Company is my first choice. However, knowing the going rate is ________, I was really looking for something in the range of ____ to _____. Is there any possibility of that?

Reference: Thomas J. Denham, Evaluating Job Offers and Negotiating Salary, Jobweb.com

Salary Websites

As part of your evaluation and negotiation, see what the going rate for RIT co-op students and graduates is by visiting the Salary and Career Info page of our site.

Abbott, Langer & Associates - www.abbott-langer.com
Career Journal/Salaryexpert.com: http://www.careerjournal.com/salaries/index.html
CareerOneStop.org: Salaries and Benefits Information - www.careeronestop.org/SalariesBenefits/SalariesBenefits.aspx
Creative Group Salary Guide: http://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/student/stu_alum_pdfs/SalaryGuide_CreativeGroup_2013.pdf
Economic Research Institute - www.erieri.com
Engineering Salary Calculator - www.engineersalary.com
Government Reports and Surveys - http://www.rileyguide.com/trends.html#gov
Glassdoor -- get unlimited access through our site https://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/student/resources#glassdoor
Indeed.com/Salary – www.indeed.com/salary
Jobnob - www.jobnob.com
Job Search Intelligence – www.jobsearchintelligence.com
JobSmart's Salary Survey - http://jobsmart.org/tools/salary/index.htm
JobStar Salary Surveys - http://jobstar.org/tools/salary/index.php
LinkedIn Salary - https://www.linkedin.com/salary/ 
Monster.com's "Salary Wizard" Data: http://salary.monster.com/
National Association of Colleges and Employers - http://www.jobsearchintelligence.com/NACE/salary-calculator-intro/
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - http://stats.bls.gov/oes/
PayScale Salary Reports - www.payscale.com
Salary.com – www.salary.com
Salary & Crime Calculator - www.homefair.com/homefair/cmr/salcalc.html
Salary Expert - www.salaryexpert.com
Salary Survey - www.salarysurvey.com
Wall Street Journal Careers - www.careerjournal