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Counter-Offering a Job Offer

Congratulations – you’ve received a job offer!

Ideally, brief discussions of a proposed salary would have been discussed in a job interview; but often that is not the case.  If a job has been offered but the proposed salary is not what the candidate was looking for, often potential candidates try to negotiate a new higher wage.

Negotiating a higher wage can be dangerous – the employer may retract an offer all together!  That being said, many employees have been extremely successful in negotiating higher wages, longer vacation times, better benefits, or even substantial pay increases down the road into job offers.  Some job sites go as far as to say negotiating a wage is expected.

So what do I say?  Don’t do it.  Unless you have obviously been given a low-ball offer, don’t risk losing the job offer all together.  I live in Niagara, currently one of Canada’s worst locations to live in employment-wise according to Huffington Post ( and I strongly advise my local clients to be reasonable in their job expectations considering the low supply of jobs and the high demand of unemployed workers (approximately 100 applicants for each job).

If you choose to negotiate a higher wage or benefits, here are some practical tips to use along the way – be prepared, there is some work involved!

Step 1 – Don’t seem too eager

If you have been given an offer, hesitate when receiving it and tell the employer you would like to think about the offer.  Ensure the employer knows you are interested in the position available but that you need time to consider the whole employment package being offered.

Step 2 – Know what’s being offered

Take the time to review all the aspects of the offer being presented including the wage, benefits, vacation time, etc and decide what you are going to negotiate for.  If the offer is $2000 below what you were hoping for but you would be entitled to an additional week of vacation each year – weigh out the benefits of each!  And if possible, discreetly get to know the company in ways such as promotional opportunities in the future, cost of living allowances, etc.  A job offer from 2 companies for the same starting wage may not be equal!

Step 3 – Do a wage study and know what you’re worth

Investigate what other companies are offering as starting-experienced salaries for the same job and same skill requirements, and determine whether your skills are below, equal to, or are better than what is required for the position.  This will help you prove your case if you are highly experienced and skilled and they are offering you an entry-level salary.  A few great sites I recommend are: and

Step 4 – Speak to or write a counter-offer to the hiring manager

Confidence is key, but don’t be arrogant or rude.  Have a clear plan of what you would like to achieve, what you are willing to compromise to, and know your own worth!  (See a future blog post on actually writing the letter)

Step 5 – Negotiating time

Although you could go with an “all or nothing” approach, I recommend compromising with the employer if they counter-offer your offer.  They obviously see you as a good fit for the company if they have already given you an offer, and they may not have the authority to grant excess vacation or salary.  Often times it is better to walk away with what you had initially or a little bit more than nothing at all – at least that’s my “hard economic times” mind speaking…


So what do you think?  Do you have more questions, need help writing a letter, or have any ideas for a future blog topic?  Please comment below or message me, I would be happy to hear from you!

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