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How to Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer

What to do & What NOT to do

How to Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer

The most common mistake people make after being offered a job is not negotiating their salary, which is perfectly understandable for fear of jeopardizing the job offer and ending up leaving the interview room empty-handed. However, what many job seekers are not aware of is the fact that most companies actually create some negotiation room for the compensation and benefits that they provide.



Only about a third of people actually do negotiate their salary after a job offer. It may seem harmless but if we look more closely at a newly-hired worker who could’ve earned $1,000 more a month had he negotiated, he would have made an additional $12,000 more on the first year. Then, considering possible pay raises, the amount could be much higher.

About 42% of employers or almost half of the total number are open to negotiating the salary for entry-level positions. With the knowledge that salary is not the only thing that can be negotiated, another 75% of employers are willing to negotiate non-salary items for entry-level positions usually part of the employee’s benefits package.

Employment start date, flexible working hours, and continuing education sponsorships tend to be privileges that employers are willing to negotiate. The key is to know when to and when not to negotiate salary after receiving a job offer.


When to negotiate salary

Let us talk about the times or instances when negotiating salary is okay.


#1 When you have an offer letter

According to recruiters, a common mistake of candidates for a job is that they try and negotiate before they are assured a job offer. The key here is to make sure that a written offer is already in place before negotiating. One must be sure first that the employers indeed want them which is evidenced by a written offer. If the approval is only verbal, a salary negotiation should be put on hold.


#2 When one can clearly quantify their contribution to the company

An applicant’s monthly expenses are not the most important consideration employers make when deciding on a salary, but rather the significance of the job for the company. So, an employee who is ready to clearly state how much he can offer to the company and can convince that he is worth the extra thousand dollars can definitely negotiate.


#3 When the job entails a lot of work and extra hours in the office

Admittedly, there are certain jobs that are more demanding than others, and it is just right that people who do these jobs are justly compensated. A new hire should look into himself and imagine how he would be feeling about his salary in the coming months. Chances are if at the beginning the salary doesn’t feel enough, then it would be no different in the next months.


When NOT to negotiate

Meanwhile, the following instances require new hires to think hard before making a salary negotiation.


#1 When the deal is on

Let us say that a new hire received the offer letter and got too excited that just thinking about the figures there excited him so much he immediately said yes and signed the letter. On the way home, he calls a friend who also happens to work the same job at a different company and learns that his salary is $10,000 lower than that of his friend. Without a doubt, a negotiation would no longer be proper and doing so might put the employee in a bad light.


#2 When they have given their best offer

Every company has a budget that they have to always stay within. If they want a particular applicant for the job, they will already give their best offer and may not be open to negotiating anymore.


#3 When there is no reason to negotiate

Before coming to a job interview, a responsible applicant will already have researched the rates in the industry. When the offer is just right or within that range, then a salary negotiation is no longer necessary.


How to negotiate salary

Now comes how one should negotiate salary without compromising his chances of getting the job.


#1 Be ready

As mentioned above, a responsible applicant will not come to the interview date without having the knowledge or background of what to expect salary-wise. Research will greatly help as there are a lot of websites that indicate the ideal salary for various positions in different cities.


#2 Be vague about salary expectation and history

It is common for employers to ask about an applicant’s salary history and expectations after they have offered the job. It can be an embarrassing situation to be in but answering it can also be risky as it may turn off the employer if the figures given are too high. So, to be on the safe side, an employee can say that it would be better if he knew first what the job entails so that the salary can then be discussed.


#3 Don’t jump right into the first offer

The fact is especially true if the first offer doesn’t seem high enough. We already mentioned at the beginning that salaries are raised based on the previous rate. With that, an employee can carefully ask what the company’s ceiling salary rate is and then go from there.


#4 Don’t only negotiate salary

Though salary is the greatest motivation in doing one’s job, it is not the only thing that can compensate for hard work. For example, a new hire can ask for a more flexible working environment or schedule or for a professional organization membership. The outcomes of the non-salary benefits cannot be underestimated.


Final thoughts

It is every new hire’s right to a salary negotiation and employers are very well aware of it. It just needs the right tools to be successful at it. So, a salary negotiation shouldn’t be scary but only a challenge for a great compensation and job.


Additional resources

CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)
  • Stock-based Compensation
  • How to Write a Resignation Letter (with Template)
  • CFI’s Most Popular Courses

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