Offers & Salary
Know Your Worth
When it comes time to negotiate offers, just like with interviewing, preparation is key. It is important to know your salary expectations before heading into an interview. By doing your research ahead of time, you can feel more comfortable in asking for what you're worth without asking for too much or too little.
Salary Negotiation Tips
How do I determine how much money I want?
- Review the job description and quantify the number of qualifications the employer is seeking vs. what you have. This will help determine your desired salary. Example: If you have 9 out of 10 qualifications in a job description, you should feel confident asking for a higher number since you have 90% of what they are seeking.
- Also research the salary trends for your major, desired job title, and geographic location. Use at least 3 reputable resources to find this info.
What can I expect when I receive an offer?
- Typically, when you receive an offer, you will be expected to accept or reject the offer within a specified amount of time. Do not feel obligated to accept or reject on the spot, even if you feel pressure to do so!
- To protect yourself and ensure the company is serious about you, it’s important to get the offer in writing in a formal offer letter or email. You should expect an offer in writing and ask for it if they don’t automatically give it to you.
- A legitimate offer will never involve asking you for any form of payment. You do not need to provide your bank information or social security number in order to receive an offer.
How do I know if I should negotiate the salary that was offered to me?
- When an employer makes an offer, you will need to determine first whether you want the job.
- If you decide you want to accept the job, then decide whether you want to negotiate the pay and/or benefits. Ask yourself: “What factors are important to me as I decide if this is a good opportunity for me right now?”
- When a student negotiates, employers look at what the student brings to the table, including grades, projects, internships and engineering or non-engineering work experience.
What if I need more time to decide about the offer?
- If you need some time to consider an employer’s offer, you must ask for their deadline to get back to them with your answer.
- It’s okay to ask for more time to make your decision if you need more time.
Sample script to ask for a deadline extension:
“Thank you for extending this offer to me. In order to make an informed decision, I would like to have an additional [# OF DAYS] days to review and consider your offer. Would you be able to extend the offer until [DATE]?”
- Once you and the employer agree on a deadline, you must get back to them with an answer by that date.
- If you have questions about the offer, ask those questions as soon as possible. Try not to wait until the night before the deadline to ask them.
- NOTE: UIC does not impose any guidelines on employers regarding offer deadlines.
If I decide to negotiate, how do I do that?
- Create your list of reasons why you are asking for more money, back-up with documentation
- Know the market rate for your skills in the industry and location (find at least 3 resources to confirm it)
- Communicate your needs before the deadline given by the employer
- Most employers will need to get back to you with an answer; they need time to think too
- Ask if they have any flexibility. Provide your ideal salary as a fixed number, not a range. We recommend asking for no more than 5-10% more than the original offer.
- If additional salary is not possible, what else is negotiable?
- Do not negotiate a salary via email. Instead, call the employer on the phone. While it may be difficult to have this conversation over the phone, it will indicate to the employer that you’re interested in them and that you possess a high degree of professionalism.
- Practice negotiating over the phone (and not in the same room) with someone who can provide honest and useful criticism. Your ECC career coaches can help with this! Click here to make an appointment.
When I receive an offer, what can I do about other pending interviews that I've had?
- When you’ve received an offer, and before you accept it, you can tell the other employers you’ve been interviewing with (including phone interviews!) that you have a job offer and the deadline for accepting, but you’re not obligated to disclose any more details, especially the offer amount. You should do this even if you’re not in the final stages of those other interviews; letting the other companies know that you have an offer could potentially make those companies move quicker if they might want to hire you.
- If you are considering multiple offers at once, congratulations! Consider your values and weigh the pros and cons of each offer to make your decision. It’s not always just about the money.
- Remember that you can always ask the company for a deadline extension if you need more time to consider.
What if I want to back out of an offer that I've already accepted?
- When you say “yes” to an offer, the job search process is over. Hooray! Once you’ve accepted in writing and any pre-employment background checks and/or drug screens have cleared, inform other employers whom you’ve interviewed with (including phone interviews!) that you’ve accepted another offer so you’d like to withdraw yourself from consideration. But definitely connect with these employers on LinkedIn so you can stay in touch for future opportunities!
- In most cases, it is unethical to continue interviewing when you’ve already accepted an offer.
- Backing out on an offer that you’ve accepted it is called reneging; this practice damages your reputation in the industry and is generally frowned upon.