As teachers around the Seattle area gradually reach agreements with their school districts and head back into classrooms to start the school year, you may find yourself starting to consider what it is that you want and need in your own career. As a job seeker, you will find yourself looking at compensation packages and questioning if you should accept immediately or try your hand at negotiating for a better offer. Balancing the desire to ask for more and the fear of setting the wrong tone at a new job can be tricky.

If you are stuck staring at an offer and debating which course of action to take, read the following to determine if you should accept, ask for more, or shut the door.


Accept if…

  • You are comfortable with the offer. If the offer that is presented is solid, take it. Attempting to negotiate a better offer just to see how much you can get out of them will earn you a negative reputation before you have even started your new job.
  • You see room for growth. If the offer on the table is only slightly lower than what you were expecting, find out what their policies regarding raises and promotions are rather than jumping into negotiations. If you are new to the industry, the role, or you have recently entered the workforce after college and are still looking to gain concrete work experience, you may need to put in some time with the company before they feel comfortable with a higher compensation package.
  • You have already accepted the offer. If you have indicated acceptance of an offer (verbal or written), do not go back and try to negotiate. Demonstrate your character by staying true to your word and negotiate further once you have shown your worth.

Ask for more if…

  • You have an offer in hand. Do not start negotiations of any kind until you have an actual offer in hand. Don’t be off-putting and presumptuous, let them pitch you their offer before you start making demands. In other words, don’t get ahead of yourself.
  • You have done your research. Have you done your research? Do you know the industry comps in your area? If you don’t, hold back on initiating a negotiation until you have done so. You need to go into the process with this knowledge; otherwise, you will not be taken seriously.
  • You are ready to pitch. In addition to knowing how much to ask for during negotiations, you need to be ready to pitch yourself to them. During your interview you were pitching yourself in the hopes of landing a job. Now that you have received an offer, it’s time to pitch your worth in the company. Explain to them why you command the salary and benefits that you are asking for.
  • You are going to regret taking the job. If you are already feeling resentful towards the company because the compensation package you were offered was lackluster, don’t accept until you negotiate. If you are harboring negative feelings now, you will likely move on as soon as a better opportunity presents itself.

Shut the door if…

  • You do not like the compensation package or the company. There are times that a job offer is impressive enough to off put your misgivings about the company, or the company culture is so impressive that you are swayed to accept an otherwise low offer. However, if neither the company or the compensation is what you are looking for, shut the door (politely) and move forward with other opportunities.
  • Their best offer just isn’t good enough. Occasionally, an employer will give you a disclaimer that they are presenting their best offer upfront. If they tell you that their first offer is their best offer, respect their limitations and decline if it simply isn’t enough for you.


Although it is rarely a comfortable conversation, employers understand that the right compensation package is crucial to job satisfaction and retention. As you are deciding if you want to enter into a negotiation conversation, review this list and determine if you should just accept, negotiate or shut the door and move on.