Negotiating. Some of us are better at it than others. Admittedly, I have only ever proposed one counter offer over the course of my career and it was not an easy task. On one hand I felt unsure of even proposing a counter offer and nervous the offer may get rescinded but on the other hand I was confident and prepared to walk away if not given more than what was initially offered to me. I’d also like to point out that “more” doesn’t always mean more money. It could refer to a variety of perks related to the new position such as work from home possibilities or a flexible work schedule. In my particular case, it came down to salary.

I’ll be honest, I had never been a fan of counteroffers which is probably why it was hard for me to propose one. As a recruiter, I was always slightly aggravated when a candidate came back to me asking for more. Selfishly, counter offers required more work from me in terms of going back to my sometimes stingy managers and when I was a commission based recruiter it resulted in a direct hit to my payout.

While there is no surefire way that I can guarantee that you, as a candidate, get everything you want I can equip you with some tips when it comes to evaluating a job offer you aren’t totally satisfied with.

Do it Right the First Time

  • In initial salary conversations make sure you propose a range (usually I provide a 5K range) that realistically aligns with what you’d be looking for from a salary standpoint only. Also add that you may be negotiable (if you really are) depending on the full offer package which would include taking things into consideration like vacation time, bonus structure, work environment, commute time, etc. Avoid throwing out your current salary because employers will often use this as a point of reference when deciding what to offer you. (Believe it or not, in California, it’s actually illegal to ask what people currently make.) A good way to answer the question around compensation expectations may be: “Based on what I am currently making, in order for this to be a viable move I would have to be at XX,XXX to consider this role…..” By asking for something realistic the first time and maintaining transparency with your prospective employer this will avoid the need to counteroffer down the road.

Understand Your Current Position

  • Know that what you currently make is more than what you currently make. In order to effectively compare a new offer with your current offer you need to know the specifics of the current boat you are in. Take into account more than your annual salary. At my current employer we have a “Total Rewards” statement which informs you of how much the company compensates you outside of just your base salary for example the company Employee Profit Sharing Contribution, HSA contribution, and Annual bonus. Taking these numbers into account in addition to your salary will give you an idea on how much the company is “paying” you which allows you to better understand what to ask for in your next role. For example: If you make 40,000 and receive an additional pay of 15% between profit sharing/annual bonus your total pay from the company would be $46,000. If your new offer was $45,000 with no other guaranteed pay, this would actually be a pay decrease from your current situation.

Compare Apples to Apples

  • Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. While I have mainly focused on monetary compensation alone until this point there are other tangible things to consider. Take a look at the example in the table below:

Current Job

Job Offer

Annual Salary



Other Guaranteed Pay

$6,000 (profit sharing and annual bonus)


Vacation Time/ Sick Time

10 Days PTO + 6 Sick Days

30 Days PTO

Medical Benefits

Cost $40/month

Cost: $100/month

So after looking at the above information which of the situations do you think is better? The answer is…..there is no right answer. Every person is different when it comes to what is important to them. By looking at the information side by side it allows you to have a better idea on which things you’d like to negotiate on. For the example above, there may not be much a company can do in regards to changing the cost of benefits but you may be able to negotiate into your new offer the following: a raise from your total comp package of $46,000 + an additional $720 to cover the new cost of benefits for it to be a true increase from your current employer. Again, you may not get exactly what you want but at least you’re approaching it realistically and further analyzing the information vs. comparing only salaries at face value. If you’d like to get really granular you can also consider things like commute/cost of gas associated with changing jobs, etc.

Intangibles Matter Too

  • If you’re a numbers person the above tactic is a great way for you to line things up side by side to see what you’re getting yourself into but remember that intangibles matter too! Aside from getting an offer that looks good on paper, take into account some of the other work perks that may matter to you before sending in your proposition. These could be things like a flexible work environment, a fun atmosphere, company performance/growth, industry, etc. Glassdoor is a great starting point to piece together the information you need to make an informed counteroffer and gain perspective on some of the intangibles.

When drafting your counter, be sure to state specific reasons as to why you think your candidacy warrants more so the employer understands where you are coming from. Likely whomever you are proposing this counter offer to will not be the final decision maker on the subject. They will have to get approval from the hiring manager so arming them with as much information as you can is the best thing you can do to position yourself to get what you want.

Now I bet you’re wondering how my counteroffer panned out. I am happy to say that my first and hopefully only counteroffer I’ll have to give panned out in my favor. I never wavered from my initial ask, was able to provide specific facts as to why their offer was a lateral move from my current compensation, and I was prepared to walk away in the event that I was told no. Again, I can’t guarantee that you too will get what you ask for but hopefully you’re better prepared to face the situation on offer compensation.

Happy Hunting! 



Hey Money