Negotiating Offers

Congratulations! You have received that offer you have waited for. Now that you have it, your job is to think about what you will need and want to be happy.

Understand Negotiation

All offers should be in writing. With it in hand, your task is to separate needs from wants and present your case. You may wonder if negotiation is acceptable given the tight market and how long it seems you have waited. Rest assured that it is, as long as you negotiate wisely, logically and promptly.

Manage timing.

When you receive an offer, you may ask to get back to them in a few days or weeks — whatever you think you need. Just be clear. Clear communication wins all of the time.

If you can negotiate at the time of the offer, that is great. However, first you must be clear about the offer. If you are not 100%, set up a phone call or visit. 

What can be negotiated?

  • Time to make your decision
  • Tenure standards and what the department expects you to do
  • Teaching load, including number of classes or number of students
  • Research support, including released time, funding for travel, other resources or equipment
  • Additional opportunities for income, from consulting to summer courses
  • Employment assistance for your spouse or partner
  • Relocation assistance, housing support
  • Starting salary

Understand the limits.

Negotiation should be verbal. Some organizations offer no flexibility; others can accommodate several or all of your requests. Be clear what is really important to you, and focus your efforts there. 

Don't forget fit.

Really think about how you will fit into the department and what your position will be like. Joining a college or university is a major life decision, and should be carefully considered regardless of how tight the market is. You need to be happy to be successful.

Accept Your Offer

Once you have negotiated, ask for a summary of the items to be sent in writing. And always accept the offer in writing as well as verbally.