It is often unclear whether the salary you are being offered is negotiable or not. To develop a successful negotiation strategy, it is important to understand what it’s appropriate to ask for.

How Much Time Do I Have to Evaluate an Offer?

When you receive an offer, you should not feel like you need to give the employer a final answer immediately, but you should acknowledge the offer with a response. Let the employer know you are very interested, and ask when you need to provide them with a decision.

Be sure that you have all the details of the offer, including

  • job description
  • salary
  • benefits package details
  • start date

Do your research and use our Evaluating Offers tipsheet to consider the factors relevant to your decision.

There is no standard amount of time that an organization is required to give you to make a decision. Some will allow a few weeks or more while others will need an answer within a day or two. Depending on the situation, it can be appropriate to ask for 1–2 weeks to make a decision, but the employer does not have to grant this request. 

Make sure that you do not accept or commit to the position verbally until you are ready to accept that offer. While a written offer will finalize your employment, be aware that accepting an offer verbally will also be considered a commitment to that employer.

Note: Participating in On-Campus Recruiting? Refer to CCE’s Policies and Procedures for this semester’s offer acceptance deadlines.

Negotiating Your Offer

If you are interested in the position but are not satisfied with one or more factors, you may choose to negotiate.

Contact the person hiring you, reiterate your interest in the position, and explain your desire to negotiate. Be prepared to discuss your reasoning on the spot, or schedule a time to speak or meet, depending on your contact’s schedule.

You should only negotiate with an employer whose offer you plan to accept if the negotiation goes well. It is unethical to negotiate with an employer whose offer you have no intent to accept even if your preferred terms are met. If you reach an acceptable compromise, it is assumed that you will accept the position.

Before your phone call or scheduled meeting, recap the following information from your research:

  • the elements that make up competitive offers for your industry and position
  • an accurate salary range for similar positions in your organization and industry

Make sure that your bottom line is within this range, and know what your goals are going into the meeting.

Not all companies will be willing to negotiate, but it is worth discussing options before accepting a position. You should be prepared to compromise if necessary or to turn down the offer if the employer cannot meet your expectations.

When negotiations are complete, be sure to get the final offer, with all details, in writing.