The key to receiving an offer is understanding the stages of the interview and offer process and preparing for each stage appropriately. The following is an example of a typical interview and offer process and what you can expect from each stage.
The Offer Process
The first interview is often the shortest in length and lacks in-depth questions. Employers are looking for a positive first impression and for a measure of “fit” with their organization. The employer’s questions are often behavioral in nature, and you should come prepared with several questions to ask the employer.
This interview is often more in-depth. You may travel on-site to the company and meet with multiple people during the interview. Tours, meals, and networking events may also be included along with a more traditional interview. Employers with virtual interviews may also schedule multiple people. Some employers will also incorporate a technical or case component into this stage of the interview process. Before the interview is over, ask for next steps, and be prepared to wait two weeks or more for an answer.
Receive an Offer
Employers will often call with an offer rather than email. Be ready for the phone call and make sure to return a missed call immediately. If you receive an offer and you accept immediately over the phone, you are accepting the initial terms of the offer and may not negotiate. You may NOT negotiate after you have accepted an offer. If you would like to negotiate, do so before you provide a final answer to the employer. See the negotiation process webpage for more guidance. If you would like some time to evaluate the offer, which is perfectly acceptable, be sure to express your appreciation and ask for a date by which you need to provide them with your final answer. Be sure to ask for a copy of a formal written offer so you can evaluate all the components of the offer, including salary, benefits, 401k, vacation policy, etc.
Feel free to schedule an appointment with a career advisor if you would like to talk through your offer. As a general rule, employers are expected to give students a reasonable amount of time to make a decision. Exploding offers (offers that require students to accept an offer within a very short time frame, such as 48 hours) are unacceptable, and you should notify our office if an employer makes an exploding offer or exerts undue pressure on you to make a quick decision.
Accept or Decline Offer
Be sure to accept or decline the offer in the requested time frame. Once you have accepted an offer verbally or in writing for a full-time position or internship, it is ethically wrong to continue to interview, send letters of application, and conduct other job search activities for opportunities with similar or competing start dates as the accepted offer.
Reneging on Job Offers
Reneging is a serious offense. Accepting a job or internship offer after you have already accepted an offer with a different employer or internship is defined as “reneging” and is considered dishonest, unprofessional, and unethical. By accepting a job offer verbally or in writing, you are making a formal commitment to the employer. Reneging on an offer is unacceptable and not only damages your personal credibility and professional reputation, but also reflects badly on the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. In addition, the employer may decide to discontinue recruiting at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, thus jeopardizing opportunities for future students.