Job Negotiations: Asking for Time
The excitement of a job or internship offer can be a relief. After dozens of resumes and rounds of interviews, there’s finally an end in sight.
But what if you’re still waiting to hear back from another employer?
Let’s play out a hypothetical situation. You get a job/internship offer from Company ABC, and they’ve asked you to make a decision within a week. However, you’d rather work at XYZ, where you’re still in the process of interviewing.
If you’re hesitant to let ABC know you’re pursuing other opportunities, you can refer them to the iSchool’s recruitment policy, which stipulates how long employers should give students to respond to offers. Since many employers aren’t aware of the policy, passing it along would be a tactful way of letting them know you need more time to make a decision.
That being said, we generally advise transparency when working with employers. They’re aware students pursue numerous opportunities, so letting ABC know you’re waiting to hear back elsewhere shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
If you’re comfortable going this route, we recommend first telling XYZ you’ve received a competing offer but are still interested in their role, and are wondering if they could expedite your interview process. Assuming they have genuine interest in hiring you, making accommodations shouldn’t be an issue. Offering some flexibility on your end (i.e., interviewing at an off-hour, scheduling a Skype interview, etc.) can help.
Once you hear back, reach out to ABC. Demonstrate your appreciation, but be straightforward. Something like:
“Thank you for the opportunity to work as [position title] on your team. I’m excited by the prospect of doing such interesting, meaningful work. Before making a final decision, I wanted to let you know I’m in the process of interviewing with another company, and think it’s best that I consider all available opportunities. I’ve asked the other company if they could expedite the interview process and should be able to make a final decision regarding your offer by [date]*.”
*If XYZ has given you a specific date by which they’ll be able to give you an answer, add one or two days to be safe.
You may, however, not receive a specific date from XYZ. In that case, you can briefly mention the recruitment policy. Something like:
“I’ve asked the other company if they could expedite the interview process and will let you know as soon as I hear back. I did also want to mention that the Information School has a recruitment policy* that asks employers to give students until November 30 to make decisions on fall-quarter offers, and I was hoping ABC would honor this date.”
*Make sure to link to the recruitment policy page on the website.
Maintain contact with ABC as you’re finishing up with XYZ. Let them know if/when you’ve scheduled an interview and if you ultimately receive an offer. Continued communication will reflect your professionalism.
Should you end up with multiple offers, it’ll be time to weigh the pros and cons of either opportunity. Consider more than just salary — company culture, upward mobility, vacation, benefits, and stock options are also important factors, just to name a few. You can also negotiate with companies on these fronts, and will have additional leverage to do so with competing offers in hand.
Making the decision:
After you’ve evaluated your options and finished negotiating, it’s finally decision time. Accepting the job you’ve chosen is easy. For the one you’re declining, be honest and graceful in communicating your decision. Read here for advice on tastefully turning down an offer.
What to avoid:
Most importantly, do not accept an offer and continue interviewing elsewhere. This is unprofessional and could very well cost you the job you’ve accepted. Additionally, it reflects poorly on the iSchool, and might affect how willing that employer is to work with future students. You can find our recruitment policy for students here.
For more information on negotiating job offers, check out this recording from a past workshop, and be sure to attend TODAY’S workshop on the same subject. More information below.
(Please RSVP via iCareers for any iSchool event you plan to attend, unless otherwise noted.)
11/2: Negotiation Workshop; 12:30 – 1:20pm, BLD 070
Whether you already have a job or internship lined up, or anticipate getting one soon, negotiation skills are important to leverage. Check out this workshop so you can be prepared to negotiate when the conversation strikes.
11/8: Insight Data Science Panel Discussion; 12:30 – 2:00pm, MGH 258
Insight Data Science is an education start-up that helps graduating Ph.D. and postdocs in quantitative fields transition to careers in data science. They are hosting a panel discussion on campus, where alumni of Insight will talk about their fellowship program. All backgrounds welcome. Not listed on iCareers, email email@example.com for more information.
UW Career & Internship Center
11/2: Human Centered Design & Engineering Fair; 4:00 – 7:00pm, HUB North Ballroom
11/3: Getting Started: LinkedIn; 12:30 – 1:00pm, MGH 134
11/6: Getting Started: Job Search; 3:30 – 4:00pm, MGH 134
11/7: Internships for International Students; 12:30 – 1:20pm, MGH 134
11/8: Getting Started: Finding Internships; 3:30 – 4:00pm, MGH 134
Top job/internship opportunities
- UX Design Intern, Interactive, Apple; iCareers ID 6796
- Digital Engineering Analyst – Summer 2018 Undergraduate Internship, Best Buy; HuskyJobs ID 120511
- Data Analyst for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Highline Community College; iCareers ID 6816
- PwC Risk Assurance – Cybersecurity & Privacy Solutions Associate Fall 2018, PwC; HuskyJobs ID 120510
- Embedded Software Engineer, Sagetech Corporation; HuskyJobs ID 120561
- Library and Archives Paraprofessional 2, WA Office of the Secretary of State; iCareers ID 6801
- Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Idaho Library; iCareers ID 6784