Evaluating Offers & Negotiating Salary

Congratulations, you’ve received an offer! There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to accept an offer. Review these sections so you can make an informed decision.

Evaluating Offers

There are a few different areas you should think through when it comes to any offer you receive, whether you are evaluating and choosing between multiple options, or deciding if the one you’ve received is the right fit. 

The basics: 

  1. Make sure you understand the offer you have, and ask any clarifying questions of the recruiter. 
  2. Gather related information (notes from interviews, job description, offer letter).  

    Evaluate your fit based on several different areas: 

    1. The Job 
      • How will your work here make a difference? 
      • What about this job will hold your attention? 
      • What will this job lead to in terms of future opportunities? 
    2. The Company 
      • How is it competitive? 
      • How is it responsive or responsible? 
      • How is the company culture inclusive/a good match? 
    3. Growth Potential 
      • How will you be challenged? 
      • What skills will you gain? 
      • How will you be evaluated? 
      • What impact will your work have? 
    4. The People 
      • How will you be seen by peers, management? 
      • Where might you find a mentor? 
      • Where will you find diverse perspectives? 
    5. The Nuts and Bolts 
      • Is the salary competitive? (Do your research) 
      • Is the cost of living where the job is located affordable on this salary?  
      • Is the location a good fit for your preferences? 
      • What benefits are offered, and do they meet expected standards? What extra benefits might be on the table?  

    If you still don’t have clarity (and haven’t been given an opportunity to do so yet) ask your HR rep or recruiter if you can be connected with someone who has been working in the role you’ve been offered for 1-3 years. More than likely, they will be happy to oblige and you can get a first-hand perspective about their experience in the role. 

    Once you’ve gone through all these steps – at some point you’ll hit a point where you have to choose. Often, this may be without complete information on potential alternatives. Keep in mind that your first job or jobs may not be your ultimate “dream” job, but there are many paths to success and to landing the role you’ve envisioned for yourself down the road. Think about what you can learn, what about the role IS a good fit, and how you can grow into and ultimately build on the experience.  

    Manage Your Deadlines

    It is in a company’s best interest to give you a tight timeline in which to consider an offer – it allows less time for you to find potentially competing jobs, and helps them to hire the top talent they are seeking.

    It is in the candidate’s best interest to be able to consider all of their possible opportunities before making a decision. However, it is often very difficult to do this during an active job search. The best thing you can do is to be proactive in managing your offer deadlines by asking for deadline extensions or to expeditite your interview process as needed.

    As Georgia Tech students, you should also be aware of the Offer Guidelines for Employers recommended by the Career Center, and cite them as necessary to assist in your efforts to delay offer deadlines.

    Offer Guidelines for Employers

    Our goal is to create a positive outcome for our students and employers. We believe providing students with adequate time to make employment decisions helps to minimize offer reneges and improves retention. Students may accept offers before the offer guidelines below, but should not be obligated to respond sooner.

    If a student is requesting an unreasonably long time or is making unrealistic requests related to an offer, please contact our office so we may address the issue.

    Exploding offers (offers that will be retracted or expire in a very short time period) are not permitted by Georgia Tech.

    Georgia Tech prioritizes facilities and services for employers who honor our recruiting policies and philosophy.  Violations will likely diminish your brand on campus and may result in specific sanctions.

    Summer conversion offers* Fall offers** Spring offers***
    Timing of student decision October 16 October 16
    OR 3 weeks
    whichever is longer
    February 15
    OR 2 weeks
    whichever is longer

    * Summer conversion offers are full-time offers made to an intern or co-op student for an opportunity beginning after graduation.
    ** Fall offers refer to full-time, internship, or co-op offers made to students during the Fall recruiting season.
    *** Spring offers refer to full-time, internship, or co-op offers made to students during the Fall recruiting season.

    Requesting an Extension Email Example

    Dear Mr./Ms./Preferred Pronoun/Full Name _______,

    Thank you for offering me the [job title] position. I’m excited about the possibility of working with ____, and I would enjoy [share positive aspects of the position].

    In our previous conversation, you asked me to notify you of my final decision by [date], but I am still in the process of wrapping up some outstanding interviews. The Georgia Tech Career Center Recruiting Guidelines recommend employers wait until Oct. 16 for summer conversion offers and for fall offers Oct. 16 or 3 weeks to decide, whichever is longer. Would you be willing to let me have until [date] to follow up? This additional time will allow me the clarity needed to make a firm decision.

    Thank you for your consideration of my request. I am very interested in this opportunity and would appreciate the additional time if possible.

    Kind Regards,

    Your Name


    Georgia Institute of Technology

    Phone #


    LinkedIn link


    How to Research and Negotiate

    Negotiating your salary takes preparation and an understanding of what is reasonable to negotiate. Take the following steps to be sure you have collected all the needed information before you try to negotiate: 

    1. The average salary for that position. Go to Glassdoor and Salary.com to understand common salaries offered, and be sure to filter salaries by location. (Ex. Salaries offered in NY tend to be higher in Atlanta due to higher costs of living.) 
    2. Refer to these Salary Negotiation Resources.
    3. Use a cost of living calculator to better understand common costs you may encounter in that geographic location. CNN Money and Bankrate.com are good resources for making estimations.
    4. Examine the job description and identify how you match or exceed the qualifications listed. The more qualifications you meet and exceed, the easier it will be to advocate for a higher salary or other items. 

    For full-time positions, your range to negotiate for a higher average starting salary could be $1,000-$10,000. Typically, employers will have smaller salary bands of $5-$10,000 for an entry-level role. Your ability to negotiate increases as you gain more qualifications and years of experience. 

    Negotiations do not have to be adversarial, and we encourage you to speak in a friendly manner throughout the conversation. It is important to remember this is not the only time you can negotiate. You can negotiate after positive performance reviews, taking on additional responsibilities, and advancing into a new role. It is recommended you negotiate over the phone vs. email because tone can often be misread via email. 

    Do not do the following: 

    • Bring up another student or co-worker’s salary as a reason you should receive a higher offer. 
    • Negotiate if you do not want the position. 
    • Be unreasonable with your requests.  

    Common Scenarios 

    •  You received an offer, but they are not your first choice. 

    Step 1: Thank them, but do not accept the offer on the spot. Ask for how much time you can have before following up with your decision. It is common practice to give a student until Oct. 16th or 3 weeks to decide in the fall semester. In spring semesters, you may only be given 1-2 weeks to decide on an offer. 

    Step 2: Immediately contact all other employers to let them know you have received an offer.  

    Step 3: Ask if they can let you know where you stand in the process or could interview you earlier. 

    Step 4: Ask for an extension if you need to. The employer may give you additional time. 

    • You received multiple offers, but you do not know what to choose. 

    Step 1: Make a pro and con list.  

    Step 2: Rank order what is most important to you and see how many of your offers align with your top priorities. 

    Step 3: Understand the benefits, retirement options, healthcare, and other perks you are being offered.  

    Step 4: Reflect on the following questions: 

            1. Does this job speak to me? 
            2. Can I visualize myself doing this for a long period of time? 
            3. How does this relate to my long-term career goals? 
            4. Do the typical work activities sound interesting, and do they seem to be a good fit with my skills, interests, and abilities? 

    What can you negotiate? 

    • Base salary 
    • Bonus 
    • Start date 
    • Vacation  
    • Moving expenses 
    • Work hours
    • Hybrid schedule 

    We do not advise negotiating all items listed above. Pick one or two you would like to negotiate so you do not appear greedy or not excited about the position. 

    Salary & Negotiation Resources

    Effective negotiation is based on providing strong evidence to support your request. One (of many) types of evidence that you can utilize in your argument is comparative salary data for like-jobs and for similar candidates entering the talent marketplace. The more closely linked you are to the data you provide, the stronger your argument.

    Salary Resources

    Georgia Tech student/alum salary resources:

    • Review the most recent GT Career and Salary Survey (public view) for full-time only major-specific salary data.
    • The Career Center’s Employer Recruiting Guide provides helpful summary data including Co-op and internship pay as well as industry- and geography-specific salaries.

    Other salary resources:

    Sample Negotiation Language 

    • “I see that I would be doing A, B, and C in this position. Due to my related experience in A, B, and C, I believe I’m more qualified than my offer of $_____ reflects. Is there any flexibility with the base amount?” 
    • “Thank you for your offer of $_______. The work sounds like a great match for my interests and future career goals. However, based on my research into average starting salaries for the position [AND/OR starting salaries for other GT graduates in my major], they tend to fall in $_______ range. I’m interested in the position, but I believe my qualifications correspond with this level of compensation. Do you have the ability to increase the salary to $_____ amount?” 
    • Additional tips on how to navigate this conversation can be found here.

    Sample Negotiation Letter

    Though it is helpful to have a negotiation conversation by phone, it’s important to also provide your request in writing in case the HR rep needs to forward it on for approval. YOU are the best person to outline your case, so be sure to provide all the data in writing either before or after your phone conversation. See a sample letter below:

    Salary Negotiation SAMPLE

    Reneging Offers

    By definition, reneging means “backing out of a promise or contract”. If you renege on an offer you’ve accepted, you not only damage your reputation, but run the risk of damaging Georgia Tech’s reputation with that employer as well. When you back out, the employer now has to devote significant resources to filling your position, including – depending on timing – reposting the job, evaluating resumes, conducting interviews, and approving an additional offer. Employers take a renege very seriously, and the Career Center expects students to honor their employment commitments.


    We understand that accepting a job offer is often an exciting, yet also a complex decision, therefore, the Career Center has established a student renege policy to promote positive recruiting behaviors that we encourage students and employers to honor. 

    Georgia Tech expects students and employers to honor commitments made during the recruiting process – specifically related to offers of employment for full-time or co-op/internships. Reneges (backing out of or not honoring an agreement that you have entered into) are serious breaches of our recruiting policies. When these happen, it causes damage for the Career Center and Georgia Tech’s relationship with employers, and can affect future opportunities for other Georgia Tech students. 

    When these instances occur we will investigate the situation and determine the appropriate actions. There may be reasonable circumstances that could result in either students and/or employers altering their commitments. 

    Potential consequences of violations may include, the following: · 

    • A mandatory meeting with a Career Development Advisor/Educator explaining the reasons for your actions and steps you have taken to manage the situation. 
    • Formal letter(s) of apology to the employers impacted by the renege to explain the reasons for your actions. 
    • Removal of your resume from all Career Center Resume Books. 
    • Loss of access to all recruiting services for a specified time period. 
    • Registration for future co-op positions or internships positions (e.g., recommendation for CPT and Audit Course Permits) will not be approved until you have resolved any sanctions related to this process. 

    If dishonesty is involved, the behavior may be a violation of the Georgia Tech Honor Code and could be subject to additional penalties. 

    Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Confidentiality Agreements

    See below for information for Georgia Tech undergraduate, graduate students, and post-docs on Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Confidentiality Agreements (CDA) as they relate to student participation in an internship or other outside the classroom experience both on and off campus.  

    What is an NDA/CDA? 

    A non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement protects an organization in the event that one of its employees, staff, visitors, or interns shares proprietary or confidential information with people or entities outside of the organization. When conducting research, creating new products, or even coming up with original ideas, all of this information (often called intellectual property) has value to the organization where it was created, and thus can be protected under the law.  

    What does it mean to sign an NDA/CDA?  

    By signing an NDA or CDA you are agreeing to the terms listed in the contract. Those terms can vary significantly depending on the nature of your relationship with the organization and the confidentiality of the information that you may encounter.  

    For example, a company you are visiting for the day on a tour may ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement specifying that you cannot take photos of your tour and you will not share any information you learned during your visit with anyone for a specified amount of time. Alternatively, a company that you intern or co-op with may ask you to sign an NDA that not only prevents you from publicly sharing information about the projects from your role but does not allow you to work for a competitor within that industry for a number of years.  

    It is important that you carefully read and understand any NDA or CDA that you sign as part of your participation in an experiential learning opportunity (job, internship, co-op, research project) to understand the implications of the agreement and how it may limit your actions during and after the experience.  

    Noncompetition Agreements  

    A noncompetition agreement restricts your ability to work with your employers’ competitors.  


    • Read the fine print. Before you sign any documents, be sure to read them thoroughly.  
    • Ask questions. Once you’ve been offered a position, the organization wants YOU in the role. Asking questions will not jeopardize your hiring.  
    • Seek support. If you are not sure about something, reach out! 

      Common Elements of an NDA or CDA  

      Here is a list of clauses commonly found in an NDA or CDA agreement. Not all of these examples are included in every NDA/CDA and the language may vary depending on the nature and specificity of the agreement. 


      This section is a commitment that you will defend and compensate a party for any harm, loss, liability, etc. that you may cause if you disclose confidential information. The amount may be listed, sometimes not. It also may include lawyer fees and other compensations.  

      Example text: “Breach of this Agreement, including without limitation, the actual or threatened disclosure or unauthorized use of the Confidential Information without the prior express written consent of the Provider, an irreparable injury such that no remedy at law would adequately protect or appropriately compensate the Provider for such injury. Recipient agrees that the Provider shall have the right to equitable relief.”  


      This section indicates that you are liable if you disclose confidential information.  

      Example text: “Unauthorized use or disclosure of the Confidential Information without the prior express written consent of the Provider may cause irreparable harm. Recipient is liable for the unauthorized disclosure and shall adequately compensate the Provider.”  


      This section may state that all work, knowledge, products, techniques, intellectual property (patent, copyright, and trademark), etc. are the property of the internship site under confidentiality. In this instance, it is important to be aware of what information is confidential and who owns it.  

      Agreement Term  

      This section is generally the length of time the CDA/NDA is in place.  

      Example text: “Term. Unless mutually extended by written agreement signed by an authorized representative of both parties, the term of this Agreement will be one (1) year from the Effective Date.”  

      Survival or Term  

      This section indicates the ongoing responsibility of the agreement and terms.  

      Example text: “In the event of a termination or expiration of this Agreement, the obligations under this Agreement shall survive for five (5) years from the Effective Date.”  

      Governing Law and Venue  

      This is the location where the NDA/CDA will be enforced if it is breached.  

      Example text: “Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the state of Georgia. Any claim related in any manner to the Agreement shall be instituted and commenced in, and venue shall be Atlanta, GA.  

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