CAPD is here to help, online and in-person Recruiting Questions: Hiremit@mit.edu | General Questions: capd@mit.edu | MIT Covid Response Questions: now.mit.edu

Negotiate job offers

As a job seeker it may seem daunting, but fortunately, most employers are prepared to negotiate and shouldn’t be surprised when the notion arises. If done tactfully, negotiating a job offer can be very beneficial to you and help you start off on the right foot with your new employer.

What Can Be Negotiated?

Usually Negotiable Sometimes Negotiable Usually Non-Negotiable
Offer Deadline Telecommuting Vacation
Start Date Position Title Health Insurance
Salary Position Location Retirement Savings Plan
Signing Bonus Performance Review Timing/Frequency Non-Disclosure Agreements
Relocation Expenses Non-Compete Agreements Timeframe Other benefits that apply to all employees

 

Negotiation in 10 Steps

  1. Initially Respond. Respond gratefully even if the offer is below expectations. Ask to have some time to think about it, and agree on a response date.
  2. Understand the Offer. Review the terms of the offer, and ask questions about job components, compensation, career advancement opportunities, stock options, benefits, time off, start date, etc.
  3. Conduct Extensive Research. Know your market value–What are comparable salaries and positions? Learn more about pay equity.
  4. Determine and Prioritize Your Needs and Wants. Decide what is a need versus a want, and prioritize those most valuable to you. How well does the position as it stands meet your needs? Where are you flexible? Where are you not? What is the minimum you would accept for whatever element you are negotiating on? How much time do you need to make a decision on the offer? What is the lowest salary you will consider? How important is job security to you?
  5. Develop a Strategy. Plan a realistic course of action based on solid preparation and a review of all resources, including your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. Only negotiate if you are seriously considering the offer. If you have other offers with pending deadlines be sure to time your negotiations accordingly, and don’t wait until the last minute.
  6. Contact the Organization. Identify who is best to negotiate with — Human Resources? The hiring manager? Once you know, call the employer to present your items to be negotiated–be enthusiastic and reassure them of your interest in the position.
  7. Receive a Response to Your Offer. The employer will inform you what requests they can and can’t fulfill. Remember, the worst thing they can say is “No”.
  8. Renegotiate If Necessary. You may find it appropriate to conduct a second round of negotiation depending on the situation. Don’t be uncompromising or demanding–tact and reason are crucial in delicate circumstances such as this.
  9. Get Terms in Writing. Always make sure you have an offer in writing prior to accepting to confirm all parties are on the same page.
  10. Decide. Review your needs and goals to determine if the negotiated offer is the right fit. Ideally, you want to find a balance–the negotiation process will be a give-and-take scenario where each side (you and the employer) needs to feel the end result is win-win. Provide your response as soon as possible, especially if you decide to decline the offer.

 

Academic Job Offers

If you receive an academic job offer, express interest, and then take the time to carefully assess whether the offer is a good fit.  Make a plan to negotiate items of interest.  Consider the following:

Balance of research, teaching and …

Read more »

Professional Correspondence Samples

Writing professional emails and letters is different than the casual emailing and texting done with friends. View the sample cover letters, job acceptance letters, and offer decline letters to help you craft a professional message and leave a good impression.

Read more »

Non-compete Agreements

Non-compete laws and regulations vary by state. Students are encouraged to learn about the laws in the location of the internship or job to better understand their rights and what is allowable.

The recent Workforce Mobility Act of 2021 may …

Read more »

Choosing Between Job Offers Worksheet

Read more »

4 Ways to Boost Your Value and Get a Pay Raise in 2021

It can be debilitating to your self-esteem and motivation when you’re constantly overlooked for raises and promotions. It can also be easy to take this personally when you know you’re capable of and deserve much more. The truth is the …

By Jamie Carlstedt - Vault
Vault
A comprehensive resource for students and job seekers looking for career advice, job postings, company reviews from employees, and rankings of the best companies and industry employers.
Read more »

Featured Resources

View Graduate Student Professional Development Resources

If you receive an academic job offer, express interest, and then take the time to carefully assess whether the offer …

Writing professional emails and letters is different than the casual emailing and texting done with friends. View the sample cover …

Non-compete laws and regulations vary by state. Students are encouraged to learn about the laws in the location of the …