Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Salary Negotiation & The Offer

Salary Negotiation

The salary expectation question during the job search leaves many students uncertain as to how to proceed. How do you know when to negotiate and what amount to request? The following tips will assist you with formulating an educated and confident response for the employer in response to your salary expectations. Salary negotiation can be complicated and negotiation norms vary across industries. Come see a career coach for tips for your particular situation.

5 Things to Consider

1) Do you know what a fair salary is for this particular position and company? Research typical entry-level salaries in your field. Resources like LinkedIn Salary, Indeed Salary Search and Glass Door can help.

2) Is this a job you want? If so, in addition to salary, consider other benefits such as professional development opportunities, potential for advancement, vacation time, health insurance and retirement plans. If salary is not negotiable, perhaps other benefits are negotiable.

3) Is this salary negotiable? Some employers have more flexibility to negotiate salary than others. Once a firm offer has been made, it doesn’t hurt to express your enthusiasm for the position but then ask if the salary is negotiable. If the employer says this is their final offer you’ll be able to make a decision knowing you asked.

4) Is negotiating worth it? In many cases, yes. On average, negotiating can yield up to 7% over the original offer salary. Women tend to be less likely to attempt to negotiate for higher salaries than men.  Keep in mind that a few minutes of uncomfortable conversation may pay off significantly. Our coaches are happy to help you role play this conversation!

5) Do you know how to manage the salary negotiation conversation? Chat with a career coach to discuss strategy and practice your approach in a way that maintains a positive relationship with your potential employer.  

No time to see one of our career coaches in person? Here are 3 quick tips as you navigate salary negotiation:

1) Don’t bring up salary. Let the employer raise the question of salary instead. If a potential employer brings up salary, state that you’re open to negotiation once a formal offer has been made.

2) If the employer persists, ask the typical salary range for this position. Let the employer name the first number. If you are forced to name a number first, give a salary range based on your research. If an employer says the offer is negotiable and you feel confident your skills and experience warrant doing so, politely ask for a number at the higher end of that range.

3) Get the offer in writing and take some time to think it over before responding. Regardless of whether or not you accept the offer, always stay professional and positive when you speak to a potential employer.

The Offer

When an offer is made, be sure that you understand the employer’s expectation for your response. The general rule is to provide one week for candidates to consider an offer. However, some employers may expect a response the next business day while others - including those conducting on-campus interviews at UT - may give you up to three weeks.
If you accept an offer, do so in good faith. This means that you have an honest intent to follow through with your acceptance and to work for the organization. Once you accept an offer, you should conclude your job search for other opportunities and cancel scheduled interviews as politely and professionally as possible. Ask a career coach for advice on how to do that.
If you decide to decline an offer, be sure to do so on professional terms. Provide your decision in writing before the date on which the employer expects a response. Your letter should be positive and grateful for the offer with a goal to keep a positive relationship for future opportunities. Ask a career coach for advice on writing a good letter.

Additional Readings

A Step-by-Step Guide to Negotiating for the Pay You Deserve - MoneyGeek

15 Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer - Harvard Business Review

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