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Salary Negotiations, Accepting Job Offers, Rejecting Job Offers, and Beyond!

by Nolan Beck '22, Career Ambassador and Guest Contributor Tyler Bailey, Digital Forensics major at Bloomsburg University May 2, 2022

Once you have gotten through all parts of the job application and interview process, it is easy to relax and imagine that you have done all you need to do. After all, the initiative turns to the hiring employer to decide whether or not they will offer you the job. 

However, the tail end of the job search process is not always as straightforward as you may wish it to be. In this blog, we’re going to address some trickier situations that may arise, but are nonetheless of critical import to be prepared for.

Salary Negotiations

Negotiating a salary probably won’t be a part of every job you are hired for.  Nonetheless, sometimes you might apply for a job that is very attractive to you in terms of the role and responsibilities, but you may feel that the payment is not quite commensurate with the level of responsibilities you would have.  In a situation like this, negotiating for a more competitive salary will go a long way both in terms of your finances and in your attitude towards the company.

There are a couple of important considerations to be had when in the preliminary negotiation process:

  • You must first receive the job offer that includes the salary figure.  You can’t decide whether or not a salary is fair if you don’t know what it is.
  • You must next research what other workers make in that geographical area for similar roles.  You can use online resources such as Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and any other salient resources available.
  • Using that information, choose an amount that is specific, or a range that you’d be comfortable with, and can be backed up with those statistics which you found.  Be prepared to explain why you deserve more than your offer with specific ways in which you will contribute to the company.

After you have an idea of what you would like to ask for, it is time to set up a meeting to discuss.

  • To do that, contact Human Resources (or whichever employee sent you the job offer) and ask to discuss the position and the offer.
    • This is a good time to ask any other questions you might have before beginning negotiations.
    • Understand who you are negotiating with, as your approach should vary slightly depending on if it is HR or your future manager.  Some questions about the offer details are better left for HR instead of your potential boss.
  • Ask if the salary is negotiable.  If necessary, offer a rationale for why you believe more is deserved for the role.
  • Be sure to express that you are serious about wanting to work for the company.  If they think you are leaning towards other job offers, they may not consider your proposal.
  • Give your desired amount and/or range.
  • Be gracious but firm in this discussion.  After all, if you are looking to negotiate, you have already taken the time to demonstrate why it is deserved!

Keep in mind that some companies may be unable to change your salary offer.  If this is the case, you may consider negotiating for other items including sign-on bonuses, vacation time, and/or start date.  For more information on salary negotiation, see the Career Development Center’s resource linked here.

Accepting a Job Offer

Of these situations we are discussing, accepting a job offer is probably the easiest.  After all, you are merely confirming that which everyone wants to hear!  The employer has found and has secured a valuable new employee, and you have confirmed your job security in a favorable position.  So when accepting a job offer, just keep a few things in mind:

  • You should let the company’s hiring manager and any contacts you made know of your acceptance.  Be sure to reach out to each personally to thank them for speaking with you and helping you along in the hiring process.
  • If the job requires you to sign a contract, make sure to read it carefully to ensure the terms are the same as the ones you had previously agreed to.
  • Withdraw from applications you might have open with other companies.  Be tactful and respectful when turning down other opportunities, which brings us to...

Declining a Job Offer

Declining a job offer can be tough to do, especially when you like the people and company you are turning down.  This is why having multiple job offers can even feel overwhelming, because you don’t want to have to say “no” to anyone.  Nonetheless, if you have decided to decline an offer, then stay confident that you made the right decision!  You spent time thinking about the pros and cons, the financial and social implications of the position at hand, and you might have another offer lined up that is more favorable to you.  So the most important thing is to believe in your own ability to make the best decision for yourself.

When you have decided to decline an offer, there are a few things you can do to continue to represent yourself well:

  • Let the company’s hiring manager and any contacts you made know of your declination.  Be gracious,  thank them for their time, the opportunity to apply and interview, and the offer.
    • You don’t want to burn any bridges, so keep an attitude of professional courtesy.
    • At the same time, don’t feel like you have to go into exorbitant detail regarding your reasons for declining.  They may ask for more specifics, but only share what you feel comfortable with telling.
  • If they have an online contract system, be sure that you go in and hit the “Decline” button.

In all cases, use your best judgment when it comes to your etiquette.  Trust yourself to do the right thing!  For some examples of how to write a job acceptance or job declination email, see the Career Development Center’s resource linked here.

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