Evaluating and Negotiating Offers

Congratulations-- you’ve received an offer! Now it’s time to reflect and evaluate. The University Career Center is a resource to you as you consider your options. In addition to the online information, our career coaches are happy to help you process your decision through an appointment.


As you evaluate, consider the following elements:

  • Are you excited about the opportunity? Does it fit your goals?
  • Do you have any hesitations about the organization?
  • How does the package align with industry trends and your expectations? Consider:
    • Salary
    • Health Benefits
    • Vacation and Leave Policies
    • Retirement
    • Location and cost of living
    • Relocation Packages
    • Signing Bonus
    • Other Common Options: Stock options, Mentorship Programs, Professional Development opportunities, Parking/Transportation, Start Date

If some of these questions give you pause or if you are deciding between two or more offers, consider making an appointment with a career coach.


To assess the competitiveness of an offer, spend time researching typical salaries by job title in the geographic location you are considering. Here are a few tools to start with. None of them are perfect, but by looking at a variety of sources you can start to understand the trends.


When an offer is first extended, you do not need to respond during the initial conversation. It is appropriate to ask for time to evaluate the offer, and employers will often give between a few days to a couple of weeks for a student to think through their decision.


Sometimes students find that they need more time to evaluate an offer. Whether you have received a return offer from your internship site and would like to explore other options and/or you received an offer while in the midst of other interviews, it is appropriate to ask your employer for more time. Typically, the best approach is to reach out to your recruiter, explain why you are in need of an extension, and be specific about the extension you would like. Some employers will be able to accommodate, while others will have less flexibility.

We highly recommended that employers offering full-time positions to current/previous summer interns give students until November 30 to accept/decline the offer, as seen in our Recruitment Policies. Many students find that sharing the suggestion with their summer internship sites can be helpful as they ask for more time.


Formally accepting an offer for a job or internship is something you should only do in the good faith that you fully intend to honor that commitment. The University Career Center strongly condemns declining an offer after accepting and requests all efforts be made to avoid this.  These actions can have a negative impact on both an individual student and on the overall impression of the University of Michigan by recruiters.

Once an offer has been accepted, it is the University Career Center's expectation that a student would not continue to actively job search or participate in on-campus recruiting.

In instances where the University Career Center is informed by an employer that a student retracted a previously made commitment to a position, the University Career Center reserves the right to take actions to address this.


If, through your research and reflection, you have reason to believe that your full-time offer is below market value, it is appropriate to negotiate. In general, most successful negotiation conversations are backed by the data found during your research. While not all employers will be able to negotiate, there is generally no harm in engaging in the conversation if you are respectful and professional. We encourage this conversation to happen before the day the offer expires so both parties have time to assess the outcome. In general, most internships are unable to be negotiated around salary.


  1. Before you begin, decide what specifically you are seeking. Many employers have tight salary ranges if they are able to be flexible on salary, so assess what a reasonable request would be based on your research on salary and cost of living.
  2. Set up a time to talk with your recruiter. We recommend doing this on the phone.
  3. Begin with your enthusiasm for the offer. Explain what appealed to you during the interview process.
  4. Explain that you have looked over the offer, discuss the positives of the offer, and point out the concern you would like to discuss further.
    1. The key at this point is to ask the question: “Is this element of the offer negotiable?”
  5. Be ready for any reaction at this point:
    1. Yes? The ball is still in your court! At this point you will need to outline your specific ask as well as the research you used to generate the ask.
    2. No? If you have time on your offer, do not feel the need to accept/reject the offer on the phone if you need time to process this new information.
    3. Maybe? Often recruiters will need time to process the request. It’s common for employers to get back to you.
  6. End the call with gratitude for the offer, thank them for their time, and come to a consensus about when you will get back to them about your decision.

For more details, consider using this LinkedIn Learning Class, "Negotiating Your Salary". All U-M students, faculty, and staff have free access to LinkedIn Learning.