Making a Decision

You have an offer. Now what?

This is a good time to enlist assistance from OCS staff to help you sort through the different issues you need to weigh. Whether you talk with us or go through the process on your own/with the help of your family and friends, here are the steps to consider:

  • Understand the job, the offer, and the compensation package
  • Manage multiple offers
  • Evaluate an offer to see if it is a good fit for you
    • This is critical, especially if it is your only offer and you feel pressured to have a job or internship
  • Weigh whether to negotiate
  • Accept the offer in a professional manner
  • Decline the Offer

Understand the Job and the Offer

Get your offer in writing. If there are any aspects of the job offer and the work assignment that you're not sure of, now is the time for clarification. You need to know when you're expected to report for work, how long you'll be at that location, who your supervisor will be, how long you have to make a decision about acceptance, when salary/performance reviews occur, etc.

If you think you'll need more time to decide on a job offer, ask for it as soon as possible. Suggest a specific date by which you can let the employer know, and then follow up as you indicated; do not delay by even a day. ILR staff can guide you through the process of asking for an extension on the deadline by which you must let them know if you are accepting the offer. Come see us!

Understand Your Compensation Package

In addition to your base salary, your offer may include some of the following financial considerations:

  • Relocation stipend
  • Signing bonus
  • Vacation time
  • Health and other insurance coverage
  • Education benefits
  • Spousal assistance
  • Stock options
  • Performance-based compensation

These factors will have different value to different individuals, so you need to think about what is important in your situation.

While we cannot give you the answer as to whether the job is right for you, our career advisors are able to help guide you through the offer process, providing questions to ask, factors to consider, etc.

Offer Negotiation

If you decide that you need to request additional or different compensation, do your homework first. Especially in tough economic times you can't expect to negotiate a salary "just because." You need to have justifiable reasons for requesting a modification, and this means you must be prepared to

  • cite postgraduate information for mean and median salaries of graduates from the ILR School;
  • cite mean and median salaries from national survey information and know the cost of living estimates for the area where you're assigned; and
  • discuss your experiences and education that are above and beyond the "average" graduating student, especially as they relate to the particular job for which you're negotiating.

Not sure how to approach the negotiation? A career advisor would be happy to guide you.


It's a good idea to notify the hiring manager of your decision to accept an offer by telephone, and then follow up with a written confirmation of your acceptance. Once you've accepted an offer, don't look back. Notify all other employers you've been talking with of your decision, and cease all job-search activity at this point. It is not ethical behavior to continue negotiating with other employers or to renege on an offer after you've accepted a job.  If you believe you will want to keep looking even after you accept the role, that is a key indicator that you should not accept the position. Please come talk with a career advisor before you accept.

Keep in mind that your actions reflect not only on you, but on our office, the ILR School, and your peers. Taking a job you may not keep or intend to back out of takes a spot from an ILR student who may have been truly interested. It also leaves the employer in a bad position; by the time you back out, many students will have already accepted positions.


If you decide not to accept an offer, be sure to express your great appreciation for the opportunity that was extended to you. Explain why another offer you've received (or another career step you're taking) better matches your needs or desires at this point. Keep the door open for the future, and stay in touch by calling or writing every now and then.