New Era HR Solutions

You survived several rounds of interviews and then the day finally comes when you get that much-anticipated offer letter…but, there’s a problem…

The proposed salary isn’t what you wanted, expected, or needed it to be. So, what happens now? What can you do to “fix” this situation? The answer: Make a counteroffer.

A counteroffer is when a candidate responds to a prospective employer after an initial, unacceptable offer has been made. However, the likelihood of success in this pursuit is all in a candidate’s ability to master the art of the counteroffer. So, how does one become a master of the counteroffer?

The Pre-Counteroffer Phase: Research and Soul Searching Required

Research Your Market Value

First and foremost, it is essential for all job seekers to know their worth in the marketplace. It is important not to assume your current salary is what you are actually worth. This common misconception traps many workers into being paid less than they deserve when they move on to the next job. Thus, for any job seeker, it is necessary to research what peers are being paid. Sites such as Glassdoor can provide this information. However, be careful when comparing peer salaries, and be sure to factor in some critical considerations. Factors such as geography (yes, a worker will be paid more in NYC than Green Bay, WI), size of the company (large firms can pay more than small companies), and specific skills (in-demand programming languages will drive up a professional’s value) all can account for considerable variation in salaries.

Consider the Entire Compensation Package

When looking at total compensation, it is vital to look at the ENTIRE package. While your salary may not be what you had hoped, does the employer provide excellent health insurance (with low premiums), generous paid leave, or flexible work situations (work-from-home possibilities)?

While these items may not be part of the paycheck you receive, they can be very valuable by saving you money (low health insurance premiums) or providing better work-life balance (generous paid leave/work-from-home opportunities). Thus, a candidate will need to do a little soul searching to determine if these positive benefits outweigh the negatives of a lower than expected proposed salary.

It’s Time to Negotiate: The Counteroffer

In cases where a candidate has done their research and some soul-searching, but still feels the proposed salary in their offer letter is too low, it is time to discuss the issue with the prospective employer. While this prospect may be very uncomfortable, it is necessary if a candidate wants to try to make the situation work. However, there are several items to consider when making a counteroffer.

Inquire About “Flexibility” in the Offer

The easiest way to approach a prospective employer about a counteroffer is to ask if there is any “flexibility.” Recruiters and hiring managers know what this phrase means. If they indicate there may be some wiggle room, it is time to put your market research to work.

Present Your Market Research

Always begin compensation conversations with your research on market value for the position. Again, remember your examples must be geographically accurate.

Don’t Get Personal: This Is a Business Transaction

After you present your research, let them speak. More than likely, they will say they need to discuss this matter with management. Don’t take their non-answer personally. It is important to remember this a business transaction and not a reflection on you personally. Be polite, considerate, and professional at all times.

Don’t Issue Timelines or Ultimatums

Once you have made your position known, don’t issue timelines or ultimatums. These decisions take time, and these tactics can cause a candidate to come off as difficult to work with and unprofessional. Yes, the wait can be nerve-racking, but using “strongarm” negotiation tactics will ultimately get you nowhere.

Reaching the End

If, after some back and forth, you and a prospective employer can work out an offer that works for all parties, that is fantastic news. However, if you can’t come to satisfactory terms, it may be time to walk away. At this point, the ball is in your court, and the only person who can make that decision is you.

Moving Forward

For job seekers, counteroffers can be uncomfortable. However, by conducting some research, evaluating the entire offer, and approaching a prospective employer properly, this process can be made a little easier.

Are you a job seeker looking for new opportunities?

If so, it is time to call in the staffing experts. At New Era HR Solutions, we are recruitment specialists who are skilled in both candidate placement and the art of the counteroffer. We guide our candidates through the counteroffer process and ensure their interests are at the heart of all negotiations. Contact our top Washington recruiters today to learn more!

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