To accept or not accept…that is the question

Job Yes No

Now that you have evaluated your job offer in terms of total compensation (salary + benefits), what’s next? Do you want to have a conversation with your potential employer about compensation? Are you expecting a competing offer and you need more time to decide? Or have you come to a decision? Here are some tips to help you navigate each of these situations…

How to explore flexibility with compensation
Entry-level positions typically have a limited salary range. The degree to which salary varies depends on the position and on your experience. If you have concerns about salary…
• Understand the market. What did last year’s Bentley graduates earn, on average? What are major competitors paying for comparable positions?
• Be able to concisely articulate your concern and reasoning. Quote market figures, prior work experience, relevant certifications, or competing offers. Be confident, but not arrogant.
• Have a number in mind. The employer may very well respond with “What did you have in mind?”, so be prepared to answer this question.
• Don’t play hardball. If the employer cannot or will not meet your desired salary, are you going to decline the offer? Or are you likely to accept the position regardless? Either way, you don’t want to make a negative impression.

How to ask for an extension on an offer
Call the employer: “I am calling in hopes that you might grant me an extension on my offer…” If the answer is “YES”, say thank you and let them know when they can expect to hear from you. If the employer has time constraints, they may suggest an alternate date that you will need to adhere to. If the answer is “NO”, say thank you and let them know that they can expect to hear from you prior to the original deadline. If the answer is “WHY?”, explain that you are currently interviewing with another organization and you would like to see the process through to completion. This conversation may be difficult, but remember, you will not be the first student who has made this request.

How to accept an offer
Call the employer by the deadline noted in your offer letter, and if applicable, “sign on the dotted line”. Don’t forget to make a copy of the signed offer letter, for your records.

How to decline an offer
This is hard to do…but it must be done timely, thoughtfully and professionally! Call the employer; do not leave a voicemail or send an email. Express appreciation to the employer contact, and briefly explain the factors that led to your decision.

Final Thoughts…
When considering an offer, don’t forget to think about location, cost of living, commute, professional development and training opportunities, company culture, and work-life balance. Don’t hesitate to come see your dedicated Career Advisor with offer-related questions…we are here to help you make informed decisions!

By MaryEllen Ryan
MaryEllen Ryan Senior Associate Director, Pulsifer Undergraduate Career Development Center MaryEllen Ryan