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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.

Factors include: 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.

Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice -- For Employers and Students

We adhere to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice

(Excerpt from: Advisory Opinion: Setting Reasonable Deadlines for Job Offers NACE Site, June 2017)

In reviewing the issues pertaining to reasonable offer deadlines, it is appropriate to consult the NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice Preamble, which clearly articulates that the Principles are designed to provide everyone involved in the career development and employment process with two basic precepts on which to base their efforts:

  • Maintain a recruitment process that is fair and equitable; and
  • Support informed and responsible decision making by candidates.

The NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice Committee understands that not all employers recruit at the same time of the year, nor do all colleges follow the same academic calendar. Therefore, recommending specific calendar dates for offers and acceptances would not be appropriate. Furthermore, many employers issue offers to their graduating co-ops or interns at the start of the employer’s recruiting cycle in order to provide those students priority consideration prior to extending offers to other students. Finally, shorter decision time frames would be appropriate if the candidate's graduation date and start date are very close.

Employers should assess their use of offer deadlines to ensure they are not placing undue pressure on a student. Pressure can come not only from the deadline, but also the use of financial incentives (signing bonuses, increased salary, and so forth) encouraging very early acceptance of offers. Today’s technology can significantly shorten the time from interview to receipt of complete job offer information. Although both students and employers benefit through this quick communication, it also can shorten the time available for students to make good decisions and increase the sense of urgency.

Career centers should provide guidance to students to help them make informed decisions when accepting or not accepting job offers. Career centers may provide guidance to employers and recommend that they consider extending deadlines when needed. Students should also be sensitive to employer needs and accept offers in a reasonable time. Career centers can help students work with employers to determine what might be a reasonable time.

NACE and the Principles Committee do not advocate enforcing a specific time frame, but rather encourage practices reasonable and appropriate for both employers and students. The Principles Committee believes that providing sufficient time for students to evaluate the employment opportunities offered to them allows them to make the wisest decisions for all concerned, creating a positive experience for candidates and employers, and ultimately reducing renege and attrition rates.

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,

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 -
Career Journal/ Salaries and Benefits Information -
Creative Group Salary Guide:
Economic Research Institute -
Engineering Salary Calculator -
Government Reports and Surveys -
Glassdoor -- get unlimited access through our site –
Jobnob -
Job Search Intelligence –
JobSmart's Salary Survey -
JobStar Salary Surveys -
LinkedIn Salary -'s "Salary Wizard" Data:
National Association of Colleges and Employers -
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -
PayScale Salary Reports - –
Salary & Crime Calculator -
Salary Expert -
Salary Survey -
Wall Street Journal Careers - www.careerjournal