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After the Offer

The most important question to ask yourself is: Are you excited about this job and the salary? If you are not happy, you will not be a great employee, and you aren’t likely to have a good experience with the organization. But it’s also important to balance your excitement and passion for the field you’re entering with a realistic expectation for financial rewards.

Accepting an Offer

You’ve landed your first job. It’s good to be enthusiastic, but don’t lose your head. Find out when you start, what your salary is, what your hours are, and what the office dress code is. You may need to negotiate some of these things; make sure you’ve done your research so you can be a smart negotiator – especially regarding your salary.

  • Don’t accept the offer immediately. Ask the employer when they need your answer. This should not be a problem with most employers. (See MSU Employment Offer Policies for employers.)
  • Remember that an accepted offer should be honored. Don’t take an offer just because it’s your first – weigh your options carefully before accepting.
  • When you accept an offer, notify any other potential employers that you are no longer a candidate for a position. Let them know that you’ve accepted an offer and you’re no longer available for consideration. Don’t go to any plant visits or interviews after you’ve accepted an offer.
  • Change your Handshake profile status to show that you are no longer in job search mode.
  • Once you receive and accept a job offer, send your new employer a thank-you letter. This is an effective way to get a good start in forming a positive relationship with your new employer.

Rejecting an Offer

If you receive an offer for a job that you do not want or cannot accept, you need to let the employer know as soon as possible so they can continue looking for a candidate.

It’s important to be polite and sincere when you turn down an offer. If you think that you would hate working for a company or were totally unimpressed with what you saw during a tour, there’s no need to say that!

Instead, say “I’m sorry, but:

  • I don’t feel that your organization would be the best choice for me.”
  • I don’t think that I could fully meet all of your expectations.”
  • I just don’t think that your organization is the best fit for me at this time.”

If you withdraw from consideration for a position or turn down an offer, send a polite and positive thank-you letter which leaves the door open for future consideration.

Managing Multiple Offers

If you’ve been interviewing with several different employers, you may have more than one offer to consider. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for an extension while considering a job offer. This is true even if you are waiting for an offer from another employer, rather than considering an offer that’s already been made. It is much better to ask Employer A for an extension while you wait for Employer B’s offer, than to accept Employer A’s offer and wish you had waited. Or worse, decide that you want to accept Employer B’s offer after all. You should never accept a job offer, then turn it down for a better one. Once you accept a job, notify the other interviewers that you are no longer available. Please review our RENEGING POLICY
  • Don’t accept an offer immediately, even if you are sure you want the job. It is reasonable to ask for a few days to think it over; be wary of any employer who insists that you make a decision right away.
  • When dealing with more than one offer, make a list of pros and cons for each. This will help you see the differences more clearly and make a better decision.
  • Consider the long-term benefits of each job, not just the immediate ones. A hiring bonus is nice, but it’s a one-time benefit; a more attractive health insurance plan is worth more in the long run.
  • It’s acceptable to let an employer know if you are considering another offer, particularly if that is the reason you are unable to make a quick decision. Knowing that there is competition may encourage an employer to make a more attractive offer.
  • Don’t reveal specific details of your other offers. It’s fine to provide a salary range or mention extra benefits, but don’t get into details.
  • Mentioning additional offers is a negotiating tactic, not a threat. While any employer who makes an offer is obviously interested in hiring you, the way you handle salary and benefit negotiation will reflect on your potential as an employee just as much as the interview. Be professional, tactful, and well-prepared, just as you would in a work situation.

Negotiating Offers

The strongest tools to negotiate with are salary information for your industry and the value of the unique skills that you bring to the table. The industry’s economic climate and the location of your position will both have a major influence on your salary offer, even when compared to other candidates within the same company. New York City is not the same as Traverse City in cost of living. Try the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) salary calculator for information specific to your job location.

Benefits of Negotiating

  • By negotiating instead of taking the first offer, you may get a higher salary or a better benefits package.
  • Raises are often based on salary. A higher starting salary means that your raises will be based on larger figure.
  • If salary is non-negotiable, you may still be able to bargain your way to more vacation time, flexible hours, better health benefits, tuition reimbursement, or other non-cash extras.
  • If you feel you are being paid less than you are worth, chances are good that you won’t be happy in this job for long. It’s in everyone’s best interests for you to be satisfied with your job once you are hired; you don’t want to start the job search all over again, and employers don’t want to lose the financial investment they’ve made by recruiting, hiring, and training you.
  • If the company has made you an offer, they want to hire you. You have the upper hand at this point; so use it to your advantage.

Dos and Don’ts of Negotiating


  • Don’t be the first one to talk money.
  • Don’t talk about money at the first interview, before an offer is made, or at any time that the information can be used to screen you out of the application process.
  • Don’t tell an employer the minimum salary you need to live, e.g. “I have to make at least X amount.” If you give your lowest number, your employer may consider that a starting point from which to negotiate.
  • Don’t commit yourself to a specific number. Always leave yourself room to bargain by giving a salary range.
  • Don’t accept the first offer an employer makes. Repeat the amount offered, then hesitate. Those few moments of silence may be just the opening your interviewer needs to make a more attractive offer.


  • Express interest and excitement about the job. Make sure the employer knows you are interested in working for them before negotiating.
  • Be confident. You’ve done your research and know what you’re worth.
  • Have a salary range in mind before negotiations begin, based on your research into the field, geographic area, and company. Know your personal budget.