Offers & Negotiation

Recruiting Timelines

It’s important to know where you land in terms of the recruitment process as you start to weigh various internship and job offers. Most college recruitment, especially for technical majors, is in the fall of each year and then if employers are still in need of candidates, they’ll begin recruitment again in the spring semester. Many will try to get you to commit to offers early and even though Pitt’s Career Center has a policy suggesting they give you ample time to decide, they do not always do so. Know that if you wait until spring to secure an offer, you do not have nearly the same amount of leverage as you would in the fall.   

Weighing Options

It is next to impossible to time everything just right in the internship and job search. Keep in mind you are in college and have plenty of time to work for your dream company. You must make the best decision you can, given the number of offers you are provided and the timeframe to provide an answer. Since this is usually a time-sensitive decision, it is a great idea to meet with the SCI Career Consultant to discuss various pros and cons of each offer. The university has a strict policy regarding taking back agreed upon offers, so please avoid reneging on any offers. It can make you look bad, as well as Pitt. 

Salary Research

When it comes to weighing job offers, one of the deciding factors often comes down to salary. It’s important to understand the range you should be requesting based upon your unique skills and experiences. Your salary has nothing to do with how many student loans you have or your lifestyle. It is solely based on what the market is willing to offer you based on your background and the company’s hiring budget. Research each role you are applying to on, as well as its location, in order to come up with reasonable salary ranges. There are cost of living calculators that can also help you determine living expenses in each location here.  

Salary Negotiations

It is important that you get in the habit of asking if a salary is negotiable when you receive offers, as well as being prepared to discuss your target salary and acceptable range. If possible, you do not want to be the first person to name a number so that you have room to negotiate.  

If requested in applications:
Unless salary is a mandatory field, do not fill in a response. If it is mandatory and allows you to write in ‘flexible’ that is preferred, otherwise you’ll need to write in your target salary or range.  

If requested in the interview stage:
Try to deflect if possible and ask if they can provide you with more details regarding the responsibilities before you provide a range. It’s entirely possible they want to make sure you’re satisfied with the salary before they proceed, so you could always ask what salary they had in mind before offering your range.  

During the offer stage:
Salary will be a natural part of the offer discussion, so be prepared to ask to negotiate at some point even if you are pleased with the initial amount. Thank them for their offer and tell them you need some time to think about it – usually they’ll give you a deadline in which to respond. You do want to use this time to legitimately consider whether you want to accept the offer and what salary range you’re going to provide when you follow-up asking if the salary is negotiable. Again, try not to be the first person to name the number you’re thinking, but keep in mind most salaries are negotiable but usually not by more than $5,000-8,000 of the original amount. 

Salary Negotiation Training

The AAUW offers free salary negotiation training through their website here. Although it’s geared towards eliminating the gender pay gap, it’s suitable for all students. Big Interview also has some salary negotiation videos that might be helpful here