Students often feel pressured into accepting an offer early and in some cases may not take the time to review the offer carefully and determine whether the firm or position is an appropriate fit.
Very few college students are aware that they can negotiate some aspects of an offer of employment from a company. Many are fearful that a company will view their requests as evidence of a student’s lack of gratitude. In a few cases this is perhaps true but only when the request is outlandish or over the top. In most instances companies are receptive to counter offers from students particularly when the results can produce a win-win scenario. For many companies salaries are fixed and an employer will not shift or adjust their entry level pay no matter how accomplished a student. But the employer may be willing to offer a sign-on bonus.
In addition to bonuses, companies are usually receptive to providing students with extensions on the offer expiration deadline. However keep in mind that for highly competitive opportunities any hesitation will be deemed a lack of interest and some times the employer will simply move on to the next candidate on the list.
Review and become familiar with your schools offer policy and see what protection is offered. Some schools require that employers who wish to interview their students must provide students a minimum amount of time to consider full time and internship opportunities. When speaking with an employer refer to your schools guidelines and express that you hope the company will honor your school’s policy.
No matter where you are in your career be sure that you comprehend the terms and details of your offer. The best time to negotiate is BEFORE you accept. If a company extends an offer to, it is prudent to consider requesting a minimum of 24 hours before making a decision.