Advice for Evaluating and Negotiating a Job Offer


When you receive a job offer, it's natural to feel excited and maybe even a little bit nervous. You want to make sure you're doing everything right, from negotiating your salary to gracefully navigating the end of the recruiting process with multiple companies.

It can be tricky to know how to act and what to say when you receive a job offer. After all, you want to seem professional and grateful, but you also don't want to miss out on any potential benefits or opportunities.

Here are some common job offer evaluation and negotiation questions, complete with answers from members of our Slack community who have experience navigating these conversations.

Should you mention you have received another offer?

“I'm waiting to hear back on a job offer that has to be signed by Friday and also have a final interview round with another company today. I'd want to compare and contrast both offers to see which one is superior. Do you think it's appropriate for me to mention that I have another offer after our meeting today?”

  • “Raising the fact that you have an offer is usually positive. It shows that you're hot in the market, and it puts pressure on them to improve your offer. If you're concerned that your employer will doubt your "commitment," bring it up at the end along the lines of keeping them in the loop.”
  • “Another approach is to respond by saying you're interested but would like to talk on the phone the week after to go through some specifics. There you have it: more time.”
  • The Commons mentor, Shane (Head of BizOps at KOHO), added that you should always share that you have another offer. “On the employment side, if I'm interested, I'd rather know that I'm about to lose you than find out later that you've already accepted another offer and I didn't get a chance.”

How should you evaluate an offer from an early-stage startup?

"I'm weighing two offers (one is a seed start-up, the other is a larger firm) - How would you go about making your decision/asking any questions about the start-up? My offer doesn’t include equity to start, but I was told that it can be revisited later."

  • “Since it's a seed-stage company, inquire about the financials and sign an NDA. They may say no but it's worth asking because even if they can't provide complete financials, ask them to share some information.”
  • “Do some outside research to learn more about each firm's prospects in the market. Also, inquire into staff turnover.”
  • “Always ask for equity at a seed-stage company. Regardless of your function at the seed stage, you will be working hard and crossing over domains, as well as taking on business continuity risk. And you don't want to be in a position where others around you are benefitting from the company’s success but you aren't.”

Can you pit offers against each other while negotiating?

Is it appropriate to bring up other job offers as a negotiating technique when dealing with a hiring manager? Is there an elegant solution to this problem?

  • “Yes, you can compare offers against one another if you haven't accepted an offer. Everyone understands that this is how the process works. As long as you approach things from a place of transparency there shouldn’t be any problem.”

Who should I ask for references if I am still in my first full-time job?

“Is it possible for anyone to give some guidance on how to deal with references? A firm I'm interviewing with requires a couple of references from supervisors. They requested references before my last round of interviews. Because this is my first job out of university, I don't have any other places to turn for recommendations”

  • “Unless you're highly trusting of them, I would be hesitant to ask anyone from your present workplace for references. You have the right to disclose this detail to your recruiter and seek an exception to their usual reference-checking procedure if need be.”
  • “I was once required to give references early in the interview process, and I requested that the recruiter not contact my current employer until after I gave them the go-ahead. They recognized the problem and waited until the last few days of my notice period to check my references.”
  • “If you recently graduated from university, supervisors from internships or even large club projects are valid references!” - Sybil, Strategy + Operations Sprint alum

When is it time to start the job search?

"How do you go about evaluating if it’s time to switch to a new opportunity?"

Community member, Ali, provided this easy to follow rule of thumb: “Earn, learn, or both. If none of them is happening, it's time to switch.” The weight of these two items is subjective. I typically return to asking which opportunity would help me advance my learning curve. As knowledge accrual and application are key factors in future success”

Want to tap into more advice like this? Join The Commons (by applying to a Sprint) and you'll unlock full access to the community.  

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Mentor Spotlight: Aritra Ghosh
Mentor Spotlight: Aritra Ghosh
Meet Aritra, Product Manager at Azure (Microsoft) and Product Mentor at The Commons!
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