Receiving a job offer is exciting unless the starting salary isn't what you were hoping for. In this scenario, you might consider making a counter-offer, where you negotiate your salary or employment terms. Establishing a good relationship with your prospective employer is crucial to increasing your chances of success. So, we suggest that you maintain a professional and friendly tone throughout the conversation.

What is a counter-offer?

Suppose you receive a job offer that doesn't list a salary that meets your experience level or industry average. In that case, you can request a different amount verbally or through email - this is a counter-offer. The hiring manager will then decide whether to accept, decline, or negotiate.

Alternatively, counter-offers are often used to entice candidates who have rejected an initial job offer from reconsidering. A potential employer typically offers the worker a counter-offer that is slightly higher in salary, more benefits, or other terms than what was originally offered.

How to Negotiate

Salary negotiations may seem quite daunting, but they can be an essential part of a job offer. Negotiating your offer will help you get the best terms for you and increase your potential to be successful in your new position. We've listed the following steps to guide you when countering a job offer.

1. Ask for time to think about your decision

Thank your potential employer for the job offer and ask for some time to think it over. They might want a response by a specific date. However, if they do not specify, we suggest setting a timeline yourself. Try not to go beyond four days to give them a response.

2. Research

Whenever you negotiate a salary offer, you need to prove why it's reasonable. Go through your network and see if there's anyone you can ask about your position's average salary, or use a salary calculator - let this be a benchmark for what you should ask.

Additionally, go through your experience and what differentiates you from other potential candidates, such as specific accomplishments or results in previous positions. This, along with research about the industry average, can make a compelling argument for your counter-offer.

3. Go through the initial offer

Take a step back and evaluate the original job offer against the research you found. Take a look at the benefits package you were presented, and determine whether the additional benefits compensate for the original salary offer.

If the benefits or the salary do not meet your expectations, you can mention both areas when negotiating. Certain companies may provide additional work benefits, such as health insurance, car allowance, bonuses, or a flexible work schedule, instead of a higher salary.

4. Put together your counter-offer

Determine the salary you would like to counter-offer with and submit. Consider asking for a slightly higher salary than what you desired, in case the employer negotiates. We suggest that you do not provide a range but have enough confidence to ask for an exact amount. Remember to go back to your research, experience and qualifications to prove that what you ask is reasonable.

5. Prepare for different scenarios

Before submitting your counter-offer, it would be best to go through all the possible outcomes and how you would respond to them if need be. Planning will help you feel more confident during the actual negotiation. For example, suppose the employer is not willing to increase your salary. In that case, you might be willing to negotiate the benefits instead or think about whether you would still take the offer despite the outcome. Alternatively, you can request a guaranteed raise six months into the job if you meet specific goals. This way you can prove your value to your employer.

6. Submit your counter-offer

There are different ways you can submit your counter-offer - you can do this during a meeting with your potential employer or over the phone. Alternatively, you can write up a formal email to explain your counter-offer and ask to set up an appointment if negotiating is necessary. We suggest negotiating face-to-face, if possible, to reduce the endless back and forth by email. Furthermore, once you finalise the agreement, make sure that you get it all in writing.

Start the conversation by thanking them for their previous offer and continue to express interest in the opportunity. Add that you respect their request; however, believe that yours would be more appropriate and state the reasons why you think it to be so. For example, you can show that their initial offer is well below the industry or position average. Pitch yourself - mention your strongest attributes, past successes and emphasise why you're exactly what the company needs.

Be firm throughout the conversation, but show that you can be flexible. Remember, the employer might not be able to increase your salary but might be able to add additional benefits or compensation methods. What's most important throughout the conversation is to remain respectful, no matter the outcome.


  • 'Thank you for offering me a starting salary of €30,000; however, I'd like to note that this is the same as my current salary, and if I were to stay at my current position, I would start earning €35,000 next year. I'd appreciate it if you could kindly reconsider the salary on offer.'
  • 'Thank you for this exciting offer, I would be delighted to accept this position, but I'd like to mention that if I were to stay at my current role, I would make 10% more in the year due to an upcoming raise. Would it be possible to revise the offer from your end?'

7. Make your decision

It's now time to evaluate whether you will be accepting or rejecting the job. If you manage to agree, your decision will most likely be an easy one. However, it could be that you were still not fully satisfied with the final offer. At this point, you need to determine whether the job is worth taking or if you can afford to let it go.

Whatever you decide, be sure to be respectful to the employer - thank them for their time and consideration.