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How To Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer


If you’re contemplating whether to negotiate your salary for a new job offer, consider this: a recent study found that those who negotiated their starting salaries increased them by an average of $5,000.

But there’s more to negotiation than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of negotiation psychology, equipping you with the skills to not only boost your earnings but also excel in any negotiation scenario.

Let’s dive in and make you a negotiation pro.

A graphic showing how $5,000 is the average salary increase granted after negotiating
[Source: Journal of Organizational Behavior]

How To Negotiate Salary in 5 Steps

Negotiating your salary can be as difficult as asking about your pay in an interview—but it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s a skill you need to learn if you want to maximize your earning potential.

These five steps should help you navigate the intricacies of salary negotiation after getting that job offer with a higher level of success.

1. Research and Prepare

Start by digging into the specifics. Research industry standards, the company’s salary practices and average pay for your role in your area.

One way to do this is to browse through job openings and salary trends in your area for the same role or ask around friends or acquaintances working in the same industry.

Now that you have a good understanding of the usual pay for your role, it’s time to look inward. Review what you have to offer and consider the following:

  • Your experience
  • Your skills and qualifications
  • Your current or previous salary

If you have impressive credentials or a standout track record in any of these areas, use them to your advantage during negotiations. These strengths will be your key assets in securing the compensation package that reflects your true worth.

Even if you don’t have what you consider “impressive” credentials in these areas, recognize your own value. Everyone brings something unique to the table.

Think about how your experiences and skills have contributed positively to your career and your potential contributions to the company. Instead, emphasize your enthusiasm, willingness to learn and dedication to the role.

Settle on a specific figure: Before you finalize that number, keep in mind that it’s essential to consider tax deductions. Your net income after taxes is what truly matters.

OysterLink paycheck calculators automatically provide an estimate of your take-home pay, factoring in all relevant tax deductions depending on the state you reside in. This tool should simplify the process for you and help you determine a practical and tax-smart compensation package.

Paycheck Calculator
Pay breakdown
Your estimated take home pay:
Total Tax Net pay
Salary 0
Federal Income Tax 0
State Income Tax 0
Take Home 0

Disclaimer: Please note that this paycheck calculator is designed to provide an estimate and should not be considered as professional tax advice. The actual withholding amounts and taxes owed may vary depending on individual circumstances and other factors. For accurate and personalized tax advice, we recommend consulting with a tax professional.

If your gross pay is 0 per - in the state of F, your net pay (or take home pay) will be $1,343.17 after tax deductions of 0% (or $ 156.83). Deductions include a total of [1] 0% (or $0.00) for the federal income tax, [2] 0% (or $0.00) for the state income tax, [3] 6.20% (or $0.00) for the social security tax and [4] 1.45% (or $0.00) for Medicare.

The Federal Income Tax is collected by the government and is consistent across all U.S. regions. In contrast, the State Income Tax is levied by the state of residence and work, leading to substantial variations. The Social Security Tax is used to fund Social Security, which benefits retirees, persons with disabilities and survivors of deceased workers. Medicare involves a federal payroll tax designated for the Medicare insurance program. As of 2022, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming do not levy a state income tax.

Lastly, keep in mind that it’s not only about the money. Consider the complete compensation package, which may include benefits like paid time off (PTO), a 401(k) plan, employee discounts and opportunities for career advancement.

These elements are integral to your overall job satisfaction and should also factor into your negotiation strategy.

2. Initiate the Salary Negotiation With Confidence

So you have a number in mind. Now, it’s time to let your potential employer know about it.

First, you’d be happy to know that a survey found that 84% of employers always expect applicants to negotiate their salary—and a whopping 87% said that negotiating never affected the applicants’ chances of getting the job.

Compose a confident negotiating salary email to kick off the conversation professionally. Here’s a template to get started. Make sure you approach your potential employer with clarity and respect.

Subject: Salary Discussion for [Job Title] Position – [Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name or HR Representative’s Name],

I am thrilled about the opportunity to join [Company Name] as a [Job Title]. I have carefully reviewed the offer, and I’d like to discuss the compensation package.

Considering my experience and industry standards, I propose a salary adjustment to [Your Desired Salary]. This aligns with market rates in [Your Area] and reflects my commitment to delivering top-notch results.

I also value [Company Name]’s benefits and culture. Could we discuss other aspects of the compensation package, such as [mention specific benefits or perks you’d like to negotiate]?

Feel free to reply to this email, or you can reach me directly at [Phone Number].

I’m eager to contribute to [Company Name]’s success and look forward to finding a mutually beneficial solution.

Thank you for your understanding and consideration.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

This email works well because it strikes a friendly and professional tone while clearly stating your intention to talk about compensation. It shows that you know what you’re talking about, and that you’re open to chatting about other parts of the compensation package.

Your positive vibe and straightforward approach make it easy for a productive conversation, and sharing contact details ensures swift responses and continued discussion, making it a practical and convincing request.

While we’re here, here’s a reminder: have everything in writing—from your negotiating salary email to subsequent counteroffers and final confirmation.

This practice ensures clarity and avoids potential misunderstandings as you navigate the negotiation process.

3. Be Open and Flexible

Negotiation is a dynamic process that often requires flexibility. Keep in mind that both you and your potential employer aim for an agreement that benefits both parties.

When you receive a counteroffer from your prospective employer, it’s a sign that they are open to the negotiation process. While it’s a positive development, it’s crucial to respond thoughtfully.

Carefully review the offer to ensure that it accurately reflects the terms you’ve negotiated. Pay close attention to the specifics, such as the salary figure, benefits and any additional commitments or expectations from both parties.

Express appreciation for their willingness to engage and carefully consider their counteroffer. If their offer doesn’t align with your expectations, politely reiterate your key points and reasons for your initial proposal.

Here’s a sample template:

Subject: Re: Reaching a Mutual Agreement for [Job Title] Compensation – [Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name or HR Rep’s Name],

Thank you for your prompt response and your flexibility in our ongoing discussion.

I have reviewed your counteroffer thoroughly, and I am eager to work toward a solution that aligns with both my expectations and your budget. Let us aim for a balanced compromise that benefits us both.

I am genuinely excited about the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]’s success and remain committed to the role. Please feel free to reach me at [Phone Number] or respond to this email to continue our conversation.

Looking forward to finalizing the details collaboratively.


[Your Full Name]

This email works because it maintains a balanced and professional tone while expressing gratitude for the counteroffer.

It conveys your ongoing enthusiasm for the role and the company, reaffirming your commitment. By proposing a middle ground and inviting further discussion, it showcases a cooperative and flexible attitude.

4. If They Say “No”—Weigh Your Options

If the offered compensation still falls short of your financial needs or industry standards, consider whether the other aspects of the job—company benefits, work-life balance and growth opportunities—compensate for this gap.

Know that this is a good time to reflect on whether the negotiation process has revealed any concerning dynamics or red flags within the company culture. If the employer appears dismissive of your valid concerns, this may foreshadow future interactions and working conditions.

Ultimately, if the offer remains far from your financial goals and doesn’t align with your broader career aspirations, learn to walk away. While such a decision can be challenging, it can open doors to better-suited opportunities that align with your long-term objectives.

5. If They Say “Yes”—Seal the Deal

Good news—they’ve agreed to your counteroffer. You’re almost there. Now, let’s make sure everything is in place for a smooth transition.

Start by expressing your thanks for their cooperation and willingness to find common ground. Recognize their flexibility and commitment to meeting your needs, which sets a positive tone for your future working relationship.

Here’s a template you can follow:

Subject: Re: Salary Discussion – Ready to Make It Official!

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name or HR Representative’s Name],

I wanted to extend my sincere appreciation for your flexibility and cooperation in our discussions.

I am thrilled to confirm my acceptance of the terms we’ve discussed. To move forward, would it be possible to provide a formal offer letter or an updated contract?

I am eager to delve into the details, and I cannot wait to become an official part of the [Company Name] team and contribute to its success.

Thank you once again for your support and understanding throughout this process.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

It’s crucial to ask for a formal offer letter outlining all the terms you’ve both agreed upon. This should cover your salary, benefits, start date and other important details.

Take your time to carefully review this document, making sure it accurately reflects what you discussed during the negotiation. This is why it literally pays to have everything in writing.

Once you’re satisfied with the offer letter, promptly take care of any required signatures or paperwork. This efficient communication will help simplify the onboarding process, bringing you closer to officially joining the team.

With the agreement now settled, you can look forward to starting this new chapter in your career with confidence. Your efforts during the negotiation process have led to terms that align with your needs and expectations. Great job!

A graphic showing the 5 steps to negotiate salary

How To Negotiate Salary With Multiple Job Offers

When you find yourself with multiple job offers, you need to evaluate each offer carefully. Beyond just the salary figure, consider the entire compensation package, including benefits, bonuses and perks.

Also, examine the company culture, potential for growth and work-life balance. Prioritize what matters most to you.

Having multiple offers can also be advantageous in negotiations. If you receive a second offer that’s more favorable, you can leverage it to negotiate better terms with your preferred employer.

Salary Negotiation Tips: Dos and Don’ts

Now that you know how to negotiate salary, here are some quick reminders before getting to it. Remember that this process is not just about securing a paycheck; it’s about ensuring that your compensation reflects your true worth in the job market.

Salary Negotiation Dos:

  • Research pay brackets: Start by researching the salary range for similar positions in your industry. Understanding the market rate is essential for setting realistic expectations.
  • Be confident: Confidence is key. When negotiating, maintain a calm and assertive demeanor. Believe in your value.
  • Use positive wording: Frame your requests in a positive light. Instead of saying, “I can’t accept this,” say, “I was hoping for something closer to…”
  • Embrace silence: Don’t be afraid of silence during negotiations. Allow the other party time to consider your proposal. Follow up if needed.
  • Ask for advice: Seek advice from mentors or industry peers who have experience with salary negotiations.

Salary Negotiation Don’ts:

  • Show up unprepared: Always come prepared with research and a clear understanding of your own worth.
  • Apologize: Avoid apologizing for negotiating. It’s a standard part of the hiring process.
  • Say “no” right away: Instead of outright rejecting an offer, try to find common ground and negotiate for a better deal.
  • Rush the conversation: Take your time during negotiations. Rushing can lead to poor decisions.
  • Lie about earnings: Honesty is key. Don’t inflate or deflate your current earnings.

A graphic explaining the dos and don'ts in salary negotiations

6 Common Salary Negotiation Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Salary negotiations can be fraught with challenges, but armed with the right strategies and mindset, you can overcome them successfully. Here are some of the common obstacles that job seekers often encounter during salary negotiations.

1. Fear of Rejection

Challenge: Many job seekers fear that negotiating their salary might result in a job offer being rescinded or create tension with potential employers.

Strategy: Remember that salary negotiation is a standard part of the hiring process, and most employers expect it. Instead of fearing rejection, approach negotiation as a chance to demonstrate your value and commitment to the role.

Be respectful and professional in your communication and emphasize your enthusiasm for the position. This approach can often lead to a mutually beneficial outcome.

2. Lack of Information

Challenge: Job seekers may find it challenging to gather accurate salary information for their industry, role and geographic location, making it difficult to determine a fair salary expectation.

Strategy: Research is your ally here. Use online resources like industry-specific salary surveys and job websites, and network with professionals in your field.

Leverage your research to establish a reasonable salary range based on your qualifications and experience. This data will empower you to negotiate confidently.

3. Uncertainty About When To Start Negotiating

Challenge: Job seekers often wonder when to initiate salary discussions. Should it be during the initial interview, after receiving an offer or at some other point in the process?

Strategy: The general rule is to wait until you’ve received a formal job offer before discussing salary. This timing ensures that the employer is genuinely interested in hiring you.

However, if the topic comes up earlier, you can politely deflect by saying you’d prefer to discuss it when an offer is extended.

4. Handling Difficult Conversations

Challenge: Engaging in a salary negotiation conversation can be nerve-wracking, especially if you anticipate resistance or pushback from the employer.

Strategy: Approach these conversations with a solution-oriented mindset. Clearly articulate your value, emphasizing how your skills and experience align with the position’s requirements.

Be open to compromise and focus on reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. Practice your responses to potential objections or questions beforehand to build your confidence.

5. Balancing Confidence and Respect

Challenge: Striking the right balance between assertiveness and professionalism during salary negotiations can be challenging.

Strategy: Confidence is key, but it should be paired with respect and courtesy. Use positive language, such as “I believe my skills and experience warrant a higher salary in the range of…” instead of making demands.

Maintain a friendly and collaborative tone throughout the negotiation process, reinforcing your interest in contributing to the company’s success.

6. Coping With Inflexible Employers

Challenge: Some employers have strict salary structures and may be less open to negotiation.

Strategy: If you encounter resistance, focus on nonmonetary aspects of the compensation package, such as additional vacation days, remote work options, professional development opportunities or performance-based bonuses.

Highlight your interest in contributing to the company’s growth and success, which can make you a more appealing candidate despite salary constraints.

By addressing these common challenges and applying effective negotiation strategies, you can navigate salary discussions with confidence, increase your earning potential and set the stage for a successful career move.

Remember that negotiation is a skill that improves with practice, so embrace each opportunity as a chance to refine your abilities.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Negotiate Salary

How do you politely make a counteroffer when negotiating salary?

When making a counteroffer during salary negotiations, it’s essential to maintain professionalism and politeness. You can do this by expressing gratitude for the initial offer and then gently conveying your desired salary.

For instance, in an email, you might say:

“Thank you for the offer. I appreciate the opportunity to join [company name]. However, I was hoping for a slightly higher salary, around [your desired amount].

This figure is in line with industry standards for someone with my experience and qualifications. Is there room for discussion?”

How do you respond to a low-salary offer?

Responding to a low salary offer requires diplomacy and a willingness to engage in a constructive conversation. You can say something like:

“I want to express my gratitude for the offer. However, upon review, I noticed that the proposed salary is lower than what I was anticipating. I was aiming for [Your Desired Figure].

This amount is more aligned with my skills, experience and industry standards. I believe in the value I can bring to [Company Name] and hope we can explore options to adjust the salary to reflect my qualifications better.”

Should I accept the first salary offer?

Accepting the initial salary offer is perfectly fine if it aligns with your financial requirements and meets your expectations. However, it’s often a good idea to explore the option of negotiation.

Negotiating can open doors to a more attractive compensation package, potentially securing a higher salary, improved benefits or additional perks.

Who should mention the salary first?

Ideally, it’s best for the employer to mention the salary first. This allows you to gauge their initial offer and respond accordingly.

During interviews, if asked about your salary expectations, you can politely deflect by saying:

“I’m eager to learn more about the role and its responsibilities. Once we establish a formal offer, I’d be happy to discuss compensation in more detail.”

This approach helps ensure you have a better understanding of the job’s requirements before discussing salary.

How would I know if a salary is acceptable?

You can determine if a salary is acceptable by comparing it to industry standards, your financial needs and the job’s responsibilities. If it (closely) meets your financial goals and aligns with market rates, it’s likely acceptable.

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