Saint Louis University

Negotiating and Evaluating Job Offers

Negotiations are meetings to discuss a subject with another individual in order to reach a mutually satisfying agreement

  • The goal is to produce a win-win scenario while avoiding ultimatums
  • Negotiations are your opportunity to discuss the terms of employment

The key to successful negotiation is recognizing the point at which you have the most power in the relationship

  • This period is after they have offered you the job and before you accept
  • Remember, anything at this point may be negotiable (start date, salary, vacation time, performance appraisals)

The foundation for your negotiations with employers is laid during the interview process. It is during this time when you need to assess the needs of the employer & communicate your skills and qualifications.

Preparation before negotiating is essential particularly concerning salary

  • How much am I worth? What do I need to survive?
  • What is the salary range at the national level? Local level?
  • Your goal is to determine if your floor (minimum salary accepted) is above their ceiling (maximum salary offered)

Believe it or not! When deciding between offers, it's not always about the money. Benefit packages (health insurance, paid time off, retirement, etc) can equal 20-30% of salary.

Other factors to consider when evaluating job offers:

  • Is flex time available? Are you expected to work overtime?
  • Have I established a good rapport with my potential supervisor?
  • How pleasant are my potential co-workers?
  • What advancement opportunities are available?
  • What type of commitment do they have to professional development?
  • Do they offer a sign-on bonus or retention incentives?
  • Do they offer loan forgiveness or tuition assistance?
  • If you are relocating, do they offer assistance?

Basic negotiating tips:

  • Practice your negotiation strategy with a friend
  • Do not discuss salary until after the interview & do not be the first to broach the topic
  • Allow yourself time to contemplate an offer (24-48 hours)
  • Do not accept an offer until it is in writing and draft an acceptance letter

Final thoughts on negotiating:

  • Do your research and understand what the company has flexibility in negotiating
  • Be positive and maintain a good attitude
  • Get feedback when deciding from family, friends, or career services staff
  • Be prepared to walk away from an offer if the company refuses to bend on a critical issue