Q: What should I consider when reviewing an offer?

A: First off, great…you got an offer! Now, the short answer is that you should consider the entire package, not just salary! And, here is the longer answer:

1 – Review and understand what the employer is offering you and asking of you in return. This includes things such as salary, hours/work schedule, and benefits (vacation, holidays, insurance, covered/reimbursable expenses, etc.).

2 – Do your homework on competitive salaries and benefits in the industry and/or at the hiring employer. Note: You should be doing this throughout your job search and interview process. There is no need to wait until you receive an offer to conduct the research! 

You can use salary surveys provided by professional organizations, sites such as Glassdoor.com or Indeed.com, the Paylandia salary guide…but, the best place to get an understanding of this information is from professionals that you know in the field.

3 – Do you need an extension to make a decision?  Do you need to talk through how you compare multiple offers? MCS can help walk you through specific scenarios…schedule an appointment with me via Handshake @ Illinois to talk through your options!

4 – Decide what you want to negotiate. Even though it might feel uncomfortable, be prepared to negotiate as employers will expect you to come back to them with an “ask” and you will never know if they will give it to you unless you ASK!

As you are deciding on what to negotiate, take your homework into consideration because it will play a role in what a company might be able to offer. For example, an employer may be unable to budge on salary, but they may be able to work with you on Flextime, Place of Work, Vacation Days, or Reimbursement/Subsidies (student loans, relocation fees, gym membership, phone, etc.).

5 – When you begin your negotiation, keep these 4 things in mind:

A: Timing (after an offer, but before accepting it)
B: Do your homework and understand what they are offering
C: Know what you really want…and only negotiate on those things, as this is not a game!!!
D: Be reasonable and professional

6 – And, after you have completed the offer review and negotiations, you will decide to accept or decline the offer.  At this point, regardless of your decision, you should initially reach out with a phone call to the employer and follow up with a formal response in writing via email.

For tips and articles that dig deeper into offer negotiations, check our Twitter page, @Illinois MCS.

If you have questions or feedback on this topic or others, please write to us @IllinoisMCS or media-careerservices@illinois.edu.  

Q&A archives are here.