When you’ve received a job offer, it’s natural to wonder if you can lose the job offer by negotiating salary.
The short answer is maybe.
The long answer is yes, but probably not in the way that you think. Negotiating salary can be part of a healthy workplace relationship. If your tactics are on point, give it a try and go for it—but there are several things to consider along the way.
Let’s take a look at what you should know before jumping in.
It’s unlikely you’ll lose a job offer by negotiating salary, but not impossible—so tread lightly.
Hopefully, the recruiter did well on their part when they first reached out to you to find out your salary requirements. That way, they’ll know if they can afford you or if you’re too expensive.
Even with the step above completed, companies expect candidates to negotiate their job offers before accepting an offer. Therefore, it’s rarely a surprise when candidates try for more money than what’s initially offered. The problem usually comes when there’s too much of a delta between your expectations and the salary for the role. And no amount of negotiating you do can bridge the gap.
Assuming this isn’t the case and you’re within range, negotiate away, but approach with the understanding of what’s possible.
If you ask for too much, or are unreasonable, you can easily hurt your chances of solidifying your offer.
However, you interviewed for the job and got an offer so obviously you’re the person for the role. They want you! Because of this, rarely will a company rescind an offer due to negotiations going south.
They will leave the ball in your court to simply decline the final offer—which may not be what you’re looking for.
So what can lead to a rescinded offer?
Aside from the more common things like an unsatisfactory background check, or failed drug test—which are the quickest ways to lose an offer, salary negotiation is somewhat low on the list.
As I’ve mentioned before, they found a great prospective employee in you and they want to hire you. This is what gives you power during the negotiation phase. But it can be slippery slope if you aren’t careful.
Avoid the following:
- Negotiating in piecemeal — meaning you ask for something, the company says yes, and you ask for a new item, over and over. Why? It becomes difficult to look at the full picture of your offer when dealing in one-offs. Collect everything you want to discuss and try not to go back to the table more than two times with new or separate requests.
- Greediness — if you signed an offer letter or verbally accepted an offer, you’ve committed. If you need to negotiate after this point, read this.
- Not approaching from knowledgeable place — if salary is your concern, do research to figure out market ranges for your role. Don’t ask for more than they are willing or able to offer. It’s important to have an idea of what you’re worth. Before negotiating salary, do some research and find out what other people in similar positions are making. You can use salary surveys, job boards, or other resources to get an idea of what you should be making.
- Not being open minded, and flexible — the company is looking at this as a full picture, you should as well. So they may say no on one item, but be flexible elsewhere. In other words, if you don’t try to meet them halfway, it doesn’t send a good signal.
Think about why you want to negotiate and what you’re willing to do for it.
The first step to negotiating salary is to think about why you want to do it.
Why are you asking for more money? Are you asking because the market rate for your position is higher than what they’re offering, or do you feel like the company can afford to pay more? Do they have an established track record of paying employees well above market rates for their positions? If so, then it might be worth asking for a higher salary. If not, consider whether there are other factors that could impact whether or not this job offer would be a good fit for your career goals anyway.
Once you’ve decided on a strategy and have made up your mind about negotiating salary, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally before approaching HR or whoever else handles compensation.
If possible, talk through how much money will change hands with someone else who has done this before–it’s easier than trying figure out on your own.
If the company can’t pay you what you want, there are other ways to accomplish your goal.
Negotiate other benefits, perks, or offerings that are valuable and meaningful to you.
You can discuss vacation time, a signing bonus, training opportunities, and even a better title or position. If all else fails and they still won’t budge on salary, then maybe it’s time to start looking elsewhere, or consider other offers if you have them. There are plenty of companies out there who will be happy to pay what you think you’re worth—assuming you’re being fair and reasonable.
Your negotiation tactics should be on point.
Negotiating salary is a delicate dance.
It’s not just about knowing how much money you want, but also understanding what you’re willing to do for it. The stakes can be high. If you walk away from an offer, there’s no guarantee that another employer will come along with a better one.
It’s important to remember that when negotiating your salary, the other person has power over whether or not they want to hire you. However, you’re most powerful after an offer has been extended, but before you accept it.
Your negotiation strategy should be defined yet adaptable. Know what your non-negotiables are and prioritize your asks.
It’s okay to negotiate your salary, but be prepared for pushback.
Negotiating your salary is a process, and it’s important to be prepared for pushback.
You’ll want to respect the other person’s negotiating position, so don’t get frustrated if they say no to your first offer, or ask for more information about why you think what you’re asking for makes sense. It’s also okay for them not to agree with everything on your wishlist. If this happens, re-approach from a different prospective for the same request.
You can always walk away from an offer if it doesn’t seem like an appropriate fit for both parties involved. And remember that there are other jobs out there if this one doesn’t work out.
There’s no hard and fast rule about whether or not it’s a good idea to negotiate salary.
Negotiating salary is a personal decision, and it’s not for everyone.
If you’re not comfortable negotiating, then don’t do it. But, if negotiation is something that interests you and fits with your personality, there’s no harm in giving it a try.
Regardless, negotiation can be a valuable skill to have in the workplace–and beyond. It can help you get what you want out of an employer, whether that means better benefits or more flexible hours. And while salary negotiation may seem intimidating at first glance because of its association with money and power dynamics between employers and employees, once again: don’t let anyone tell you what’s right or wrong for your needs–only you know what those are.
So can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary? Sure it’s possible, but not likely.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some insight into whether or not negotiating salary is right for you. If you feel confident in your ability to negotiate and have a good reason for doing so, then go ahead. Just remember these tip to show that what you’re bringing to the table is valuable and worth the effort of securing you.