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Accept a Job

 

Factors to Consider When Evaluating Your Offers

Congratulations! You’ve found a job! Before signing an employer offer, make sure it is the right job for you. You’ll need to evaluate the offer (possibly comparing it to other offers) and negotiate, if necessary.
 
Work/ Lifestyle Values
  • Review what is important and fulfilling to you about work
  • Consider how you like to work and what you are looking for in a work environment
  • Do you want to work for a company that provides a flexible work schedule?
  • Is it important for you to know most of your colleagues?
  • What type of corporate culture are you seeking?
  • How does the organization support work/life balance?
  • Talk to current employees to gain an insider’s perspective on the organization
 
Industry/Organization
Before accepting an offer, research and address the following questions:
  • Has the company gone through significant layoffs lately?
  • How does the company’s financial stability look now?
  • What is their policy if more layoffs are needed?
  • If the company is a start up, are they confident in their financial backing past the initial phase?
 
The Job
When you receive a job offer, it is good to review the responsibilities and daily activities of the position
  • What are your daily activities?
  • Where will you spend most of your time?
  • What are your responsibilities?
  • Is there growth for your position?
  • Who is your supervisor and what type of supervision will be provided?
  • What types of professional development opportunities are offered?
 
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The Negotiation Process

When you receive a job offer you can either: accept it, reject it or negotiate for something else. The only reason to negotiate is to get fair market value for your skills, experience and knowledge. Therefore, it is unwise to negotiate for negotiation’s sake. For example, sometimes job seekers think a hiring manager expects them to negotiate, or that salaries should be negotiated as a general principle. Although organizations respect employees who can articulate the value they add, you (or anyone else) can quickly alienate potential employers if you are inappropriate and overzealous in your approach to negotiating a salary to "get a fair deal." If you decide to negotiate, you should consider:
 
Your Market Value
Your success in negotiating a higher compensation package (and the only reason you should be negotiating) is contingent on data you have which suggests your market value is higher than that reflected in the offer.

However, there are exceptions. The following are salary negotiation "positions of strength" for new college grads:
  • You have gained relevant work experience through internships or summer jobs which positively impacts your ability to do the job
  • You have a particular technical expertise which is in high demand
  • You have an advanced degree in a specific and sought-after area of expertise
  • You have a written offer from another company that states a higher salary
 
What You Want
In addition to knowing your market value, you also need to know what you want and where you are willing to compromise. Salary is only one part of a total compensation package. Some companies that can’t offer a higher salary may try to offset this by offering other "perks" such as extra vacation days. Although you may still choose to negotiate your salary, be familiar with your entire job offer before approaching an organization. A package might include any of the following:
  • base salary
  • stock or stock options
  • 401(K) or other retirement type plans
  • medical, dental, and vision benefits
  • life insurance, accidental death insurance and disability benefits
  • signing bonus
  • bonuses based on performance and/or profit sharing
  • vacation time and/or sabbaticals
  • education reimbursement
  • relocation costs
  • extras such as commuting allowance or company car, health club membership, technical equipment, pretax dollars for child or elder care

For some organizations the above items are not negotiable and the salary may be in a fixed classification scale. However, other organizations may be willing to negotiate on salary, bonuses, stock options, timing of salary review, relocation costs or extras.

During the process of evaluating job offers, some of these elements may not seem as important as annual income, but they can make a big difference to you in the long run. Clarify any questions you have about the benefits package before you make a decision.
 
How You’ll Contribute
Before you start negotiating, you want to be clear on how your skills benefit the organization. This can be difficult to assess if you don’t have a great deal of work experience. However, here is a technique that might help. Try to identify the needs of each person who interviews you and how you are a solution to their problems/challenges. Then, when you’re negotiating, you have specific data about how you will add value. You will be able to confidently state that you merit a higher salary because of your ability to create specific software, design the new manual, or write the necessary grant proposal.
 
What to Say and Do During a Negotiation
 
Step 1: Receive the Offer
Thank the person who extended the offer and express enthusiasm for the position. Reiterate how important this decision is and ask for some time to think it over. If it is a verbal offer only, ask when you can expect to receive the offer in writing.
 
Step 2: Evaluate the Offer
If you have any questions about salary, benefits, etc., ask to whom you should direct your questions for clarification. Evaluate the compensation package based on the elements listed above.
 
Step 3: Negotiate
After evaluating and researching the offer, you are ready to negotiate. It is important during this phase to:
  • ask questions about how the salary was determined
  • be realistic about what you want
  • state your evidence clearly and succinctly for why you feel your salary should be higher
  • listen
 
If the compensation is not negotiable, you have to make a decision based on the current offer, or request to negotiate a different aspect of the offer (such as a higher signing bonus, early performance review, etc.)
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Accepting and Rejecting Offers

If you and the company have come to a mutually satisfying agreement, ask for something in writing that reflects your mutual understanding. This usually will be in the form of an amended offer letter. When returning the amended offer letter, it is good to include a short job acceptance letter. If you have offers you need to reject or withdraw from, a formal written letter or email should be sent to the hiring contact. This may also be done after a personal call to the contact at the company, depending on how you have been communicating with them throughout the hiring process.
 
Sample Offer Rejection/Withdrawal/Acceptance Letters
 
Job Offer Rejection Letters
 
Sample 1 :
 
Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your employment offer to be an Assistant Director with XYZ, Inc. Unfortunately, I am writing to inform you that I am unable to accept the offer. After evaluating all opportunities available to me, I have decided to accept another position in a different field.

I truly enjoyed meeting and speaking with you and other representatives from XYZ, Inc. and learning firsthand about your experiences. Best wishes for the continued success of XYZ, Inc.

Thank you again for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Laura Craft
 
Sample 2 :
 
Dear Michelle,

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to inform you that I will not be accepting the offer of the position of Management Trainee, from ABC. I really appreciate the care and friendliness extended to me during this time. Foremost, I am grateful that ABC granted me an extension so that I could fully consider my options. At this time, I feel that ABC is not the best fit for me. It was an extremely difficult decision for me to make, as evident in my request for a month long extension. I again want to thank you and everyone else at ABC for this great opportunity and for your help and support through this time period.

Sincerely,
Irwin Jones
 
Withdrawal from Consideration Letter
 
Dear Mr. Cline,

I enjoyed meeting with you and your colleagues last week regarding the position of Assistant Researcher. Thank you for your time and consideration during this process.
While I am not sure where you are in the hiring process, I wanted to let you know that I would like to withdraw my application from consideration for this position. I have accepted a similar position at another organization.

Thank you again for you consideration and best of luck in your search.

Sincerely,
Anne Green
 
Job Acceptance Letters
 
Sample 1 :
 

Dear Mr. Smith,


It is with great excitement that I accept the offer for the position of Legal Assistant. I have included the signed offer letter.


I have been communicating with the relocation company and am currently in the process of moving to Seattle. I expect to be settled in by the end of the month and ready to start in early August.


I will contact you as my start date approaches. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to my new position at LMN.

Sincerely,
Mary Barton

 
Sample 2 :
 
Dear Jane,

Thank you for your employment offer for the position of Program Coordinator. I would like to reconfirm my acceptance of this position. I look forward to joining the ZZZ and am confident in the contributions I will make to your organization. I am excited to apply my passion and skills to this position.

Per our phone conversation, I will start work on Monday, August 22. I will be out of town until mid-July but can be reached by phone at (123) 456-7891. Thank you again for this opportunity.

Sincerely,
Jesse Lewis
 
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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I say if asked for my salary requirements before the organization makes a formal offer?
The rule of thumb is that you want the company to mention a salary amount first. Ideally you want to avoid discussing your specific requirements until a formal offer has been made. If you are asked about salary, reply with, "If it’s okay with you, I’d like to set that question aside for now and focus on the content of the work. I’m interested in knowing more about the specific duties and responsibilities of the job." If the hiring manager insists, you might say something like, "I assume a range has been established for this position and wonder what the organization had in mind?"
 
What do I do if all my requests are rejected in the negotiation process?
Your decision to accept or reject the offer must then be based on the original offer.
 
How committed am I to a job offer I have accepted? What if a better offer comes along?
First, if you are unsure about accepting a job offer, it is better to negotiate for more time to make your decision, than to accept the offer prematurely and later rescind your acceptance. Second, it is important to honor your commitment; backing out of the agreement is highly unprofessional and might later reflect negatively on you in your chosen field. Another consideration should be the job offer contract. If you were given a signing bonus, examine the contract for clauses that state you must pay back the full signing bonus if you leave the organization before the stated duration. The signing bonus amount that you receive will be the stated amount, minus taxes, but the amount you must repay will be the full amount of the bonus.
 
How do I request an offer in writing?
If a verbal offer is made, a response could be, "I’m very excited about the opportunity to work for you and this organization. Since this is such a significant decision for both of us, I’d be more comfortable if the offer was formalized in writing and I could look it over."
What if I don’t understand something on the employment offer letter?
Companies are usually happy to clarify or answer any questions about the job offer.
 
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Cost of Living Index

The following is a selection of cities where many graduating students accept offers. The cost of living index is based on the composite price of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, clothing and entertainment in each city listed. Use the calculation to compare salaries in different cities. For further information about the data below, please refer to http://www.bestplaces.net/html/col1.asp.
 
To compare information from other sources, you can refer to these Web sites:
http://www.salary.com
http://verticals.yahoo.com/cities/
http://www.homefair.com/homefair/calc/
 
Use the following equation to derive the equivalent of a salary in another city.
index
 
Average City, USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
 
Alabama
Birmingham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Montgomery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
 
Alaska
Anchorage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114
 
Arizona

Flagstaff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Phoenix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
Tucson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..95

 
Arkansas
Little Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
 
California
Fresno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Irvine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Los Angeles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Sacramento . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111
San Diego . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147
San Francisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187
San Jose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162
 
Colorado
Boulder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140
Colorado Springs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Denver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..105
 
Connecticut
Hartford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
New Haven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
Stamford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181
 
Delaware
Wilmington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
 
Florida
Miami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Orlando . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
 
Georgia
Atlanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
 
Hawaii
Honolulu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..178
 
Idaho
Boise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
 
Illinois
Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126
Springfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
 
Indiana
Bloomington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Indianapolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
South Bend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
 
Iowa
Des Moines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
Iowa City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
 
Kansas
Kansas City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
 
Kentucky
Lexington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
Louisville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
 
Louisiana
Baton Rouge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
New Orleans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
 
Maine
Portland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
 
Maryland

Baltimore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

 
Massachusetts
Boston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
 
Michigan
Ann Arbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Detroit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Lansing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72
 
Minnesota
Minneapolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
St. Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
 
Missouri
Kansas City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
St. Louis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
 
Montana
Billings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
 
Nebraska
Lincoln . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Omaha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
 

Nevada

Las Vegas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
 
New Jersey
Atlantic City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Princeton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Newark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
 
New Mexico
Albuquerque . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Santa Fe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
 
New York
Albany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Buffalo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
New York City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165
Syracuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
 
North Carolina
Chapel Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Charlotte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91
Raleigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..106
 
North Dakota
Fargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
 
Ohio
Cincinnati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Cleveland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Columbus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..86
Dayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
 
Oklahoma
Oklahoma City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Tulsa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78
 
Oregon
Portland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
 
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Pittsburgh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 84
 
South Carolina
Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Columbia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
 
South Dakota
Sioux Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
 
Tennessee
Chattanooga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82
Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Nashville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89
 
Texas
Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Dallas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Houston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......... 86
San Antonio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
 
Utah
Salt Lake City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Vermont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 99
Burlington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109
 
Virginia
Richmond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Virginia Beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
 
Washington
Seattle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Washington, DC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166
 
West Virginia
Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
 
Wisconsin
Madison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..93
Milwaukee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
 
Wyoming
Cheyenne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86
 
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