I am in the fortunate position of having an offer in hand. However, the university wishes to have a verbal commitment before any formal documents would be drafted and sent out. I wonder how common it is for places to require verbal commitments before a written offer is presented and what this means for the offer? Can they back out of the offer? Change the details of the offer? A lot of advice I am getting is to do nothing until you have it in writing and this sort of conflicts w/ that.
Date: 29 Jan 2011 14:41
Number of posts: 17
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Apple, good post. I'm curious about this too— have a TT position currently, and will be very particular about negotiations this time around. Last time I gave a verbal acknowledgment to the Dean over the phone that I would drop of out of discussions with other schools, to accept their offer.
This time, however, I would think a statement of strong interest but not committal "I am definitely leaning toward it, but am very interested in examining the details of the offer" would be the way to go. This gives the Dean/search committee something, but also provides you a way to wiggle out if the negotiations/ not accept the offer if things don't progress as you would like.
I'd love to hear other suggestions though…
I have been told that it is not official until I have it in writing. Therefore, I am continuing to interview and apply for positions until an official offer has been made. Things can change…..
I don't have any personal experience with this, but that is how I would proceed. I think it sounds reasonable to give the dean/search chair (whomever your communicating with) a verbal indication that you are very interested, but how can you really accept the offer until you know what it entails? Even a verbal acceptance means little more than that, in my opintion. You're simply saying you're likely to accept given everything turns out the way they've discussed.
"you're likely to accept given everything turns out the way they've discussed"
I think this would be my approach as well. You can't officially accept what hasn't officially been offered, so I would just tell them you really want the job.
In regards to the negotiation process… anyone else having the experience that negotiations are feeling a little more like asking for stuff and getting denied? It is the economy? Is it just me?
I got everything I asked for and they even threw in stuff I didn't. I think a lot depends on the school…whether they have a good endowment or are a state school.
in response to ignorant: Yes. I tried to negotiate starting salary (the salary seems low to me compared to friends' offers at similar types of universities) and the answer was no. The most frustrating thing is that I have to decide on this offer before I will hear back from other schools I've interviewed at, so I won't have another offer to try and negotiate with.
That sucks. Can you call the places you've interviewed at for an update? Sometimes, places will cough up more information (like, whether you're #2 on their list and #1 is waffling around… or you're #2 but #1 has given a verbal agreement to take the job) if you're being forced to make a fast decision.
Apple, how did the negociation turned out?
I am in a similar position. I had a phone call from the university and they made me an offer by phone. They asked me to confirm my acceptation by email. We did not discuss the details but they gave me an idea about the starting salary. I want to negotiate an increase but I don't know how and when. Should I just confirm my interest and then wait for the contract to negotiate the salary and start-up amount and the lab space or should I start negotiating right away.
Thanks a lot
You can say you are interested, pending successful negotiation. Or you can say that there are some details you would like to discuss before you accept the offer.
When I negotiated, the contract came AFTER terms were finalized and the discussion was over. I had, in essence, pre-accepted it before it arrived. You should be having discussions about what the contract should contain prior to the contract being drafted, as far as I understand it.
Agree with anon! anon! You should negotiate before you accept. They should give a verbal offer, then a written letter outlining the details. They may ask you for your list of requested start up and/or salary before this, though. Either way, you should see the info before you formally agree. This is the only time you have any leverage, so you might as well use in it a polite way.
comet, once you have something written (it doesn't have to be a contract, but an offer letter/email will work too), you may a a few days to think about the salary and start you want. then, draft a letter/email to the chair that you are very close to saying yes but hope that he/she can fulfill your request. in your list, make sure you have EVRYTHING you want; i don't think going back and forth for multiple times make you look good. like writting a good essay, write your requests with support (e.g., i need 3 computers for my lab because…). i would start with a high but reasonable salary/startup package. the worst thing you would hear is no, or a cheaper package. so start higher, i would say above the 90th percentile of the APA report. Best of luck with your negotiation!!!
I wrote a letter with all my requests and actually it went pretty well. I almost had all I requested and I have the feeling that I am starting on a positive note. I don't have the contract yet but I am very excited about this new start.
The APA report was very helpful and a good argument to negotiate my salary.
Thanks again for your help
APA does annual surveys of faculty salaries. Here is a link to the 2010-2011 Faculty Salaries in Graduate Departments of Psychology.
These surveys can be helpful for salary negotiations. For example, Table 26 indicates the average starting salaries for 2010-2011 and the expected starting salaries for 2011-2012.