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Negotiating the Offer

An employer will typically reach out by phone to congratulate you, extend the offer, and share the terms of employment, though some employers may send an email. In the conversation, articulate your excitement and appreciation, but don’t accept the offer immediately. Ask the employer if and when you will receive an offer letter that contains the specific details for your consideration.

Once an offer is extended, the employer will often identify a preferred timeline for your decision. Timelines range from a day to more than three months; the most common is one to two weeks. If you feel pressured to make a decision, contact your NCA career adviser. If you need more time, be sure to ask in advance of the initial deadline and be prepared to share your reasons.

As you consider your decision, you will likely have additional questions. Most employers encourage these and will connect you with people who can answer them. Prepare for these exchanges by determining exactly what you need to know to thoroughly evaluate the offer.

negotiating salary options
Position  • Nature and variety of work
 • Client/customer engagement
 • Level of responsibility
 • Access to leadership
Employer  • Organizational culture
 • Location
 • Management style
 • Advancement opportunities
 • Professional development and training opportunities
 • Stability of organization
Lifestyle  • Work Hours
 • Travel
 • Commute

 • Salary
 • Benefits (healthcare, retirement, etc.)
 • Time off
 • Tuition reimbursement/loan repayment

Compensation and Salary Negotiation

Compensation is undoubtedly an important consideration. While it should be viewed holistically, not all components of compensation can be negotiated. Benefits, time off, and tuition reimbursement are normally dictated by organizational policy and not adaptable to an employee’s specific request.

People are often uncomfortable when it comes to negotiating their salaries. If you feel the offer is fair and competitive, you aren’t required to negotiate. Some employers will not be open to salary negotiation; this is most common when they are hiring large training classes. Outside of salary, you may inquire about a signing bonus or relocation assistance, when applicable. If an employer is not willing to negotiate, do not force the issue; instead consider the position’s benefits and drawbacks. 

If you want to negotiate your salary, you need to do so before you accept the offer. Schedule a time to speak with the person who extended the offer, either over the phone or in person.

To prepare for the conversation:

Steps for Responding to an Offer

  1. Upon receiving an offer by phone, ask the employer for written confirmation.
  2. Work with the employer to identify a decision deadline.
  3. Evaluate all components of the offer.
  4. Follow up with the employer for more information or to negotiate.
  5. Accept or Reject the offer.

Accepting the Offer

Once you decide to accept an offer, reach out to the person who extended it, preferably by phone.

  • Indicate that you will accept the offer.
  • Express your appreciation.
  • Share what you’re most excited about regarding the opportunity.
  • Ask about any additional steps you need to take to make this formal.
  • If the conversation is by phone, follow up with a formal written message reiterating your acceptance and completing any further steps indicated.
  • Communicate your decision to your network and extend appreciation for their support.

Rejecting the Offer

Although employers know that not all offers will be accepted, this doesn’t make it easier for you. When turning down an offer, reach out by phone to the person who extended the offer.

  • Express appreciation for the company’s investment in you as a candidate.
  • Indicate clearly that you will not accept the offer.
  • Be prepared to respond to any questions (why you’re declining the offer, where you’ll be working, etc.).
  • As a follow-up to the phone conversation, send a formal message declining the offer and again expressing your appreciation for the opportunity.
  • Communicate your decision to the people you connected with during the recruitment process.