Evaluating Offers

Receiving a job offer can be both exciting and stressful. There is a lot of information that needs to be considered, and it often feels like there is insufficient time to make a decision. The resources below identify potential components of a full-time job offer, ensuring you’re ready for the breadth of details within a typical job offer. It highlights aspects likely open to negotiation, as well as those that usually aren’t, enabling you to navigate discussions with your prospective employer effectively. We also offer practical tips and sample language to equip you for these conversations. Although our focus is primarily on full-time opportunities, we also include considerations for those exploring internship offers.


Congratulations on your offer! Taking the next steps in your professional endeavors is exciting but also challenging. In order to make the best decision for you, make sure you have considered the answers to these questions:

  • Where is the job located, and what is is like to live in that area?
  • What kind of work will I be doing?
  • How will this position fit in with my overall career goals?
  • How much time do I have to make a decision? Can I ask for an extension?
  • Do my values and lifestyle match the company’s culture?
  • What are the growth and trends of the industry and organization?

Additional considerations for internships/co-ops:

  • Is housing provided? Is it subsidized?
  • What options are available for transportation to the work site?
  • How will I be paired with a team?

When it comes to making a decision about accepting a job offer, base salary is just one factor to consider. Think about what is important to you and your career goals; understand the whole package. When an offer is presented to you, consider the items below when making a decision. Please note that the benefits listed below are examples and that not every offer will include all the items listed. There may also be benefits offered that are not listed.

Professional Development
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Opportunity for Career Growth
  • Collaboration Opportunities
  • Involvement in Professional
  • Leadership Tracks
  • Rotational Programs
Employee Benefits
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • 401K/403B Retirement Savings
  • Stock Options/Equity
  • Domestic Partner Coverage
  • Jury Duty
  • Maternity/Paternity
  • Relocation Assistance
  • Signing Bonus/Annual Bonus
Company Culture / Values
  • Professional Travel
  • Dress Code
  • Ability to Work from Home
  • Location(s)
  • Management Style
  • Office Space
  • Performance Reviews

During the offer evaluation phase, it is important to understand what aspects of an offer may be appropriate to negotiate, and which aspects of the offer are likely non-negotiable. Remember, every situation is unique, and the information below may vary accordingly.  Be sure to prioritize the most important aspects to you, as you should not negotiate all of these factors.

Potentially Negotiable
  • Notification Deadline
  • Start Date
    • Likely Exception: Leadership or Rotational programs may have more rigid start dates, as they often require candidates to start with a cohort of peers or adhere to a rotation schedule
  • Base Salary
  • Bonus (signing, stock, etc…)
  • Relocation Expenses
    • Many large companies will have well defined relocation packages, which are typically non-negotiable. However, other companies may not have well defined packages and may be open to negotiations.
Likely Non-Negotiable
  • Health benefits
  • Employer Retirement Contributions
  • Educational Support
  • Time Off
  • Disability / Life Insurance
  • Future Benefits, Bonuses, Profit Sharing or Incentives

If the offer does not fully meet your expectations, consider negotiating. Not every company will be willing to negotiate, but you can certainly try! When negotiating, be positive, polite, and reasonable. If you decide to negotiate, plan a strategy after speaking with a Career Advisor in the ECRC.

  • Do your homework before entering into a negotiation.
  • Plan your strategy around your research, your leveraging tools, and with whom you are communicating with.
    • We recommend negotiating with the company representative you have had the most contact with and are the most comfortable speaking to.
  • Practice before negotiating.
    • Practicing will decrease nervousness and increase your ability to articulate your desires.
  • ALWAYS maintain a positive and productive tone in the negotiation.
    • You do not want to jeopardize your reputation or your relationship with the employer.
  • The ECRC recommends a phone conversation when negotiating any aspect of an offer, including a deadline extension, whenever possible.


The most commonly negotiated aspect of a job offer is the notification deadline to accept or decline the offer. While not all employers will be able to provide a deadline extension, it is completely appropriate to seek one from an employer if you require additional time to consider the offer.

Michigan Engineering highly recommends that full-time and internship employment offers remain open until November 30 and for at least a period of three weeks. This recommendation extends to offers given to current/previous interns and co-ops. Visit the ECRC’s Guidelines for Employment Offers and Offer Deadlines to review this best practice recommendation for employers.

Express Appreciation:

I want to thank you for the opportunity to interview at (employer) and for the offer of the (name of position/ department).

Offer a positive experience about the process/position:

From the beginning I have been impressed with the team and the people that I would be working with. This offer is very appealing and I am excited to consider it.

Acknowledge deadline:

I understand the deadline for this offer is (date). (Refer briefly to why you might need the extra time, e.g.: exams, consult with family, other commitments, etc.

Respectfully request a deadline extension:

Example 1: If you have a specific notification date in mind
Given the importance of this decision for me, I am hoping you would allow me additional time to consider your offer. If you are in agreement, I would be happy to provide you with my decision by (date).

Example 2: If you want to cite Michigan Engineering’s best practice recommendations
I would be grateful if you could consider extending my deadline to November 30 in accordance with the University of Michigan’s Engineering Career Resource Center’s offer guidelines regarding internship and full-time employment.


Accepting an offer of employment, whether verbally or in writing, represents your good-faith commitment to join the employing organization. Once you have accepted an offer, discontinue all further interviewing and search activities, including withdrawing from previously scheduled interviews.

Many students will end up with multiple offers and it may be awkward to decline a position after investing time during the interview process. When declining an offer, state your appreciation for the opportunity and leave a positive impression on the recruiter – you never know when you may cross paths again!

Reneging, also known as going back on an accepted offer, can damage your reputation in the industry, as well as the reputation of Michigan Engineering. We expect all students to conduct themselves professionally and ethically in their job search. Please review the links below for more details regarding factors for consideration prior to reneging and the potential consequences of failing to honor a committed job offer acceptance.

Internship offers are significantly different from full-time offers of employment. Although every internship varies based on the employer, job, and candidate, many aspects of internship offers are typically non-negotiable. Employers typically have set compensation for their interns and policies on items such as housing and relocation assistance. However, there are some aspects of an offer that may be negotiable, such as:

  • Job Offer Notification Deadline
    • It is appropriate to request additional time to review an offer in order to give it the time and consideration it requires. Please note, however, that not all employers may be able to grant deadline extensions
  • Start Date
    • Some employers will have a set start date for all interns, but most will either have a selection of start date options for interns or be open to identifying a mutually beneficial start date
  • Unpaid Vacation Time
    • Interns should not expect to receive paid vacation time. However, it is reasonable for interns to request unpaid time off during for a variety of reasons such as medical appointments or short-term travel
  • Salary (in limited circumstances)
    • If the employer offers a wage significantly below market rate, then this may be a situation where you can request additional compensation
  • Focus on understanding the offer and don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions
  • Be a creative problem solver: For example, if a company doesn’t offer housing or relocation assistance, ask if they have affordable housing recommendations or offer a forum to connect interns to find roommates