The Software Engineer’s Script for Receiving A Job Offer

You really want to work at DataPoodle. They are the hot new company on BreakoutList. You’ve had the phone screen with the recruiter, the technical phone screen, the 4 hour onsite, the 10 hour onsite, the CTO met with you, and now the recruiter wants a few minutes to speak with you on the phone.

Congrats! A surprising amount of stuff can happen on the job offer phone call — saying the right thing can help you get a big raise. Saying the wrong thing can cost you time and money. Here’s a script you can follow to handle this first call well.

Before The Call

Prepare for the call by taking 10 minutes to calm down and put yourself in a positive mindset.

Suggestions include listening to music, or watching goats prance in pajamas.


A good recruiter will put you at ease. The goal here is to connect and show your positive mindset. The wrong way to greet is to be presumptuous or cut to the chase.

Recruiter: “Hi Alex! How are you? Did you have fun last weekend on your ski trip?”
Ugly Response: “Hi. So I got the job?!”
Neutral Response: “Hi! Great to hear from you.”
Great Response: “Hi! Great to hear from you. I got down my first bunny slope. I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you!”

The Team Really Liked You

In the spirit of maintaining momentum and energy, the recruiter will start talking about how well you were liked by the team, and why they want you. Reciprocating this builds on that same energy, and can convey your interest well.

Recruiter: “The team loved you. Everyone was really impressed, they can’t wait to have you on board.”
Ugly Response: “Great to hear. I enjoyed seeing the office and lunch was delicious.”
Neutral Response: “I really enjoyed speaking with everyone too, and hearing more about the company!”
Great Response: “I really enjoyed speaking with everyone! I can see myself working well together with the team, helping solve the Ruby scaling challenges.

The Details

This is important — How you address the number they give can either cost you money, or give you great leverage. A good tactic is to refer to the compensation simply as “interesting”, and be extremely positive about the team, project, and everything else.

Recruiter: “We would like to extend you an offer, the details of which are… [base salary], [equity], [terms of the equity].”
Ugly Response: “Wow! That’s amazing. Thank you! This is far beyond anything I could have imagined.”
Neutral Response: “Thanks! That’s a really interesting number!”
Great Response: “Thanks for taking the time to put this offer together! I had a couple of outstanding questions about the role, and would love to come in and talk with ManagerBot next week. I’ll also follow-up over email about the terms of the equity package as well.”

The Sell

Recruiters enjoy selling — they’ll talk about why the company is wonderful, the benefits are amazing, and why they themselves love the company. Continuing to be positive about everything except the offer will keep things positive, without compromising leverage.

Recruiter: “The benefits are amazing… [401k, health care, parental leave, etc.] [food, too], plus the company is on a high growth trajectory.
Ugly Response: “Regarding the unlimited vacation policy, how much time off is too much time?”
Neutral Response: “Thanks for the additional information!”
Great Response: “Thanks! It’s great that you offer benefits. I’ve always felt that benefits accurately reflect a company’s culture.

The Deadline

Deadlines are illusory, and exploding offers are bullshit. We’ve seen zero offers rescinded or modified for taking a month or more. If you control nothing else, control the timetable. Be enthusiastic, and don’t ask for time — claim it. Ignore deadlines, and/or state your own.

Recruiter: We have a standard deadline of three days. Let us know if you have anymore questions. What are your thoughts?
Ugly Response: “This is such a generous offer. I have an onsite with DataDragons tomorrow, and am considering an offer from DataPoodle as well. But yours is my favorite, and I’ll probably accept soon.”
Bad Response: “Thank you so much for extending the offer! Can I have another week to think about it?”
Good Response: “I really appreciate the time you took to call. I’ll have to take some time to think over the opportunity. I’ll be in touch. Speak soon!”
Great Response: “Receiving an offer from DataPoodle really made my week! I am so excited about the data team, the data problems, and the company’s future in data. I like to be thoughtful and judicious when I make major decisions, and will need time to think. I’d love to reach out soon with additional questions.

Overall, stay upbeat and incredibly positive about the company, the team, and the culture. Get some practice to avoid sharing your feelings on the offer (good or bad). Role-playing with a friend, or talking to yourself in a mirror are great techniques. Avoid mentioning other companies specifically. If you want to make sure you’re doing it right, let us know — We are happy to help!

Disclaimer: Each negotiation process is unique. Please use your best judgement in executing any advice we provide.

Michelle Lai is a Career Advisor at OfferLetter. Book a time to speak about your career in tech or specific offer(s) you need help negotiating. Our goal is to use our experience and knowledge of the current job offer landscape to help you get what you’re worth.

Are you an engineer beginning your job search? Deciding between offers?OfferLetter advisors can help you understand your worth and negotiate for a fair offer. Get started today by reading our blog, or join OfferDrive for an assessment of how fairly you are paid.

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