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Sample counter offer
September 14, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 4 comments

If you need help with your Counter Offer Job Letter you will find this article to be very helpful. Use our sample letter below as a guide in creating your letters, and.

What Is a Counteroffer?

A counteroffer is a response given to an initial offer. A counteroffer means the original offer was rejected and replaced with another one. The counteroffer gives the original offerer three options: accept the counteroffer, reject it, or make another offer.

There is typically no binding contract between the parties involved until one accepts the other's offer. Counteroffers are prevalent in many types of business negotiations, transactions, and private deals between two individuals. You may find them in real estate deals, employment negotiations, and car sales.

Understanding Counteroffers

When two parties get together to negotiate a transaction or business deal, one may put an offer on the table. A counteroffer is a reply to that original offer and may change the terms of the deal including the price. The price may be greater or less than what was originally quoted depending on who makes it. So if the person receiving the original offer doesn't accept or reject it, he may decide to renegotiate with a counteroffer.

Here's an example. Ms. X decides to put her house on the market for $300,000. Mr. Y views it and makes an offer of $285,000 instead. Ms. X decides to make a counteroffer of $295,000 instead, thus putting the onus on Mr. Y to accept, reject, or counter that offer and continue negotiations again.

There is no limit to the number of times each party can counter during negotiations. When countering back and forth, each offer should present a price less than the previous offer. This conveys to the seller that the buyer is nearing his final offer.

Neither party is obligated to settle until they agree on a contract, which occurs once the counteroffer is accepted. This is when a binding contract is formed. The contract is enforceable against either party. The counteroffer voids a previous offer, and the entity that presented that offer is no longer legally responsible for it.

[Important: When negotiating, never let emotions affect negotiations—instead, ask questions, do your research, and ask for additional time to consider the new offer.]

Terms of the Counteroffer

A counteroffer may include explanations of the terms of the offer or requests for supplementary information. Finalizing counteroffer negotiations requires the buyer and offeror to accept the terms without any additional conditions or modifications.

A counteroffer is generally conditional. When the seller receives a low offer, he can counter with a price he feels is reasonable. The buyer can either accept that offer or counter again. The seller can counter the offer. The person receiving the counteroffer does not have to accept it.

For example, a seller wants to sell a vehicle for $20,000. A buyer arrives and offers $15,000 for the vehicle. The offeror provides a counteroffer, asking for $16,000 with the objective of obtaining a higher price. If the offeree declines, the offeror cannot force the buyer to purchase the vehicle at $15,000, even though the buyer suggested that price.

Key Takeaways

  • A counteroffer is the response given to an offer, meaning the original offer was rejected and replaced with another one.
  • Counteroffers give the original offerer three options: accept it, reject it, or make another offer and continue negotiations.
  • Parties are not obligated by a contract until one accepts the other's offer.
  • Counteroffers are common in business negotiations and transactions, such as real estate deals, car sales, and employment contracts.

Here is a sample counter offer letter. It should be written in formal business style and sent by certified mail, so the claimant has proof of the date.

Search Legal Terms and Definitions

sample counter offer

If you’ve received a job offer that doesn’t quite hit the mark, it’s time to counter it. And if you don’t feel like negotiating the salary in person, you can opt for writing a counter proposal letter.

A counter proposal letter is your ability to respond to the job offer in a written format. It will help you outline your reasons for continuing negotiations and making your case for a specific, more acceptable job offer.

This guide will help you write a counter proposal letter that gets results. The guide consist of the following sections:

  • Taking your time to consider the offer
  • Doing your research to support your counter proposal
  • Consider non-salary items as part of your request
  • Focusing on your value in the letter
  • Suggesting the right figure
  • Talking about the offer in style
  • Showcasing enthusiasm
  • Using the right kind of language

At the end of the guide, you’ll find a template and an example letter to help you with your writing.

So, let’s get started!

TAKE YOUR TIME TO CONSIDER THE OFFER

Before you start writing your counter proposal, it’s important to step back for a moment and consider. You don’t want to make hasty decisions when it comes to something as important as this.

When you receive an offer, the most important thing is to ask for time to review it and to ponder your options. By taking this time to analyse and consider your options, you allow yourself to better respond to it. Your response will end up being more coherent and thorough. This will be key to getting what you want with these negotiations.

Taking time will also send a message to the employer and show them you’re not in a rush to accept. They will know you won’t just accept whatever they throw your way – you take the crucial step of highlighting that you understand your worth and you are looking to negotiate.

So, when you receive an offer, you’re first response should just be to thank the organization and ask if it’s OK for you to review it over the next few days. You can do this in person or in writing. The key is to mention the following:

  • Thank for the offer
  • Re-iterate the main points of the offer (especially if not in writing)
  • Say you’ll be reviewing the offer over the next two days (never ask for over a week) and responding to it after

Remember to then use the time to actually think about the offer. Be specific about the parts that disappoint you and those that might not. You want to sleep on your decisions to make sure you listen to your heart and your head.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

You’ll then need to move on to conducting research. Research is an important part of negotiating your salary because you won’t know whether an offer is worth accepting or not if you don’t know your worth.

You can’t ask for more money just because you ‘feel’ like it or you ‘need’ more. The reason for your rejection must be based on facts. You can’t ask for more without having something to back your argument.

You need to focus your research on the following points:

  • What are your particular skills and experience worth?
  • What are the averages for the role and the industry?
  • What kind of financial situation is the company in and what are the typical salaries for its employees?

To learn more about all those three points, you should use online resources to your advantage. Here are a few websites that offer free information and salary calculators for you to use:

You also want to study the company slightly and check if they’ve been in the news lately or if they are hiring a lot. Your counter proposal must be realistic and therefore, if you find the company is in debt and has laid off multiple people recently, you probably won’t be able to expect a huge improvement to your salary (but you might be able to negotiate other perks!).

Then, once you’ve done the research, you can examine the offer and how it matches your findings. Since you’ve found the job offer to be too low, compare it with your findings. Is it low compared to industry standards? Is it low in the terms of the location average? Is it low in terms of your experience?

When you know the answer and you have an idea of just how ‘low’ the offer is, you can start thinking about the next steps. You should use the research to:

  • Determine the acceptable range, and consider the averages in the role and your unique skills and experience.
  • Gather facts to support your counter proposal.

So, instead of just figuring a counter proposal figure, you can use the information to support your argument. You won’t need to write your proposal with you just asking a random figure that’s more than they offered. You can say with evidence why you think their offer is too low and you want more.

What this research does is help you write things like:

“According to my market research, the average salaries for the position fall between $100k-140k. Therefore, the proposed $80k falls short and I would be happier to discuss a salary closer to $110k.”

CONSIDER ACCEPTABLE NON-SALARY ITEMS

When you’re considering the proposal, it’s important to focus on other benefits and perks aside from the salary. Even if the offer is too low in terms of the salary, you might be able to negotiate other perks that make the offer slightly more appealing to you.

Non-salary items can be a good way of making a job more enjoyable and motivating. They can be good things to add to your counter proposal because they show the employer you are willing to negotiate beyond just the salary. You showcase the all-important negotiating tactic: the ability to compromise.

The non-salary items might not always be the most important at the start. But you definitely want to keep in them in mind and especially if you encounter the moment where the employer says, they just can’t increase the salary.

The non-salary items that many people negotiate include things like:

  • Flexible work arrangements, including working from home or choosing your own work hours
  • Holiday perks such as paid vacation time
  • Employee benefits such as free parking, food vouchers, gym memberships and so on
  • Bonuses and benefit schemes, like commissions and pension plans
  • Insurance options such as health insurance, life insurance and so on

Another great benefit to consider is development schemes. It can be a good tactic to ask the employer to pay for training and development in the near future – this shows your enthusiasm for the role and it can allow you to develop your skillset for the future.

If you have to relocate to the role, you should also consider negotiating relocation packages as part of your job offer. If you choose to do that, always remember to back it up with research and data. For example, explain that you have to move from the other side of the country, your living costs will increase due to the relocation and so on.

You can do living standard research online. Check out the following tools and calculators:

FOCUS ON YOUR VALUE

The focus of your counter offer letter should be in highlighting your value. It’s important to state to the employer you would be a valuable addition to the organization. And not just say it but also show it.

You should go over the requirements for the role one more time, writing down the reasons you match those requirements. You can simply use a format like this for now:

The skill needed for the role:My supporting argument for having it:

Use a conversational tone when writing your example arguments. For instance, if the role requires good communication skill, write about your experience of running a helpline for five years.

Then you can narrow it down to two-three sentences that highlight your skills and match the best. These should be the key things you think will drive up performance and help you shine.

Of course, you want to showcase how you are even better than what the company was looking for. So, make sure you remind yourself of the ways you’d add value to the organization. The extra talent, skills and experience you would bring.

You can think of this as your Unique Selling Point (USP). What is the one reason the company should hire you? You might already have this prepared for the interview. If you don’t, just think about it and write it down.

The idea here is to make sure you can show why you are worth a specific amount of money. Your counter proposal shouldn’t just be to argue what you want but what the company is going to get by hiring you.

You’ll need to have around four sentences of your value to the organization prepared for the letter.

SUGGEST A FIGURE SLIGHTLY HIGHER SALARY THAN YOU’D ACCEPT

If you’ve received a job offer that’s too low, you shouldn’t make your counter offer exactly what you’d accept as the minimum. The company is already undervaluing you and it’s likely that they will either:

  • Accept the low counter offer you make outright, or
  • Try negotiating it even lower.

Therefore, the figure you suggest should always be slightly higher than what you’d accept as the bare minimum. This gives you more room to negotiate and guarantees you don’t have to settle for something less than you deserve.

Your earlier research will help you at this point. It’s important to remember here that your figure must reflect your worth but also be realistic in terms of what the employer can pay. So just asking for the moon and the stars is not beneficial or practical.

Since you are making a counter offer, you shouldn’t try dancing around the subject. You want to go to the point and present the organization with an actual figure you’d like to negotiate. They’ve already offered a figure so now it’s your time to do the same – no one wants this process to last forever!

Let’s say the employer has offered you $100k but you find the average salaries in the role to vary between $105k to $120k. You’ve done your research and it shows your specific skills and experience puts you to a $105k to $110k range. You then calculate that your red line is the lowest average pay, which is $105k. This is acceptable to you and your living standards, considering the role. But it’s not quite your ideal.

Now, you don’t want to ask for this but your counter proposal should be closer to $108k. This is still not too high considering the initial offer but it also gives more room to negotiate.

Of course, this all depends on how low the initial offer has been. If it’s clearly lower (+10-20%), then you have to consider whether it’s best to just tell the employer you find the offer rather disappointing and ask them for an altogether new offer.

If it’s just slightly amiss, then you can offer a higher counter offer. You generally want to ask around 5% more if the job offer is too low – if it’s above your red line.

TALK ABOUT THE ACCEPTABLE AND NON-ACCEPTABLE PARTS OF THE JOB OFFER

It would help your cause and negotiations to find something good about the offer. It’s always easier to continue negotiations if you can agree on something. So, go over the proposal and think if there areacceptable parts to itand get serious about the things that aren’t.

You then want to take note of those things you don’t agree and which you want to negotiate further. This gives you the core of your letter.

The things you should go over are:

  • What is the proposed salary?
  • Are there annual bonuses or commission?
  • When is the salary review? Does it include an automatic increase if you hit targets?
  • Do you have a relocation package?
  • What are the other benefits?

Your counter proposal should go over each of those points the employee offered and proposed. This has two functions. It will:

  • Re-iterate the proposal and make sure you both are talking about the same issues.
  • Help you focus on the pain points and the acceptable parts of the offer, giving you space to counter them.

So, in your letter you want to outline each point and clearly state if you accept it or if you’d like to talk about it further. When you are pointing out things that are non-acceptable for you, the key is to back your reasoning and counter proposal with evidence.

You can write down your thoughts on a chart like this:

The job offer perk (such as salary):Acceptable or not?If not, what to offer and why?

DON’T FORGET TO SHOW ENTHUSIASM

Your letter should have an enthusiastic and positive tone. Surely, you are disappointed at the offer you’ve been handed but you don’t want to show this disappointment to the employer. Furthermore, even if you are not happy with the salary, you still want to make it clear that you are excited about the role.

If you make it just about the money, the employer is likely to want to negotiate. They don’t want to hire someone who is there just for the paycheck. They want someone motivated and hardworking.

On the other hand, if your counter proposal letter highlights your enthusiasm and genuine interest for the position, the employer will feel more positive about negotiating further. They understand you’re serious about the role and they will listen to your concerns and arguments regarding the pay.

Therefore, you have to start by thanking the employer for the opportunity and outlining your reasons for wanting the job. After you’ve done that, you can move onto the more serious issues regarding the pay.

In addition, you should always conclude your counter proposal letter with another two things you’re most looking forward to in the role.

Here are a few phrases that show enthusiasm and are, therefore, great to add to a counter proposal letter:

I’m excited by the opportunity to work together/with you/in the organization.

I’m eager to start working/beginning a project/implementing a new strategy.

I’d be honored to be part of the team/organization.

DON’T USE DEMANDING OR CONFRONTATIONAL LANGUAGE

Just as you want to maintain an enthusiastic language, you also have to avoid getting confrontational about the pay. Even though you didn’t like the offer, you don’t want to come across demanding and rude.

A good way of doing this is to avoid making demands. You don’t want to be asking for something but rather raising questions regarding the pay. Here are a few examples on how to do this (and what not to say):

Good things to sayBad things to say
  • Based on the current market, I’d be happier with a salary closer to X.
  • I feel that a salary of X would better represent the value I can bring to your organization.
  • I would like to negotiate the salary further, as it currently doesn’t reflect my talent, considering the current market conditions.
  • I need to have X amount.
  • I can’t accept anything other than X.
  • You either pay me X or I’ll reject this.

Your letter shouldn’t read like a ransom note. Instead, you want it to be a conversation mover – something that doesn’t stall or end the negotiations but takes them from point A to point B.

Above all, throughout your letter, your language must be respectful and polite. This isn’t the place for insults or ultimatums, no matter how much you hated the offer.

After all, if you are respectful and nice, back your claims and request with evidence, then you are more likely to get a good response. And if the employer doesn’t agree, then you can just respectfully decline and move on to better job offers!

When you’re writing your letter, you should also focus on avoiding phrases like “I know” and “Let me point out”. They feel confrontational. Instead, when you’re voicing a disagreement, say that “I understand” and “I can see where you’re coming from”. They show empathy and a real desire to compromise.

AN EXAMPLE COUNTER OFFER LETTER

You know have all the tools to create a good counter proposal letter that gets results. Here are the final tips and an example letter to guide you in this mission.

The template to use

First, when you are writing your counter offer letter, you want to organise your letter in the following format:

Introduction
  • Emphasize your interest in the company and the role.
  • Include two to three reasons you’re the ideal candidate.
Body of the letter
  • Reminder of the proposal on the table with clear mentions of the points you agree/accept and those you don’t.
  • Clear statements of your counter offer and reasoning for it, backed with evidence.
Conclusion
  • Emphasize interest in the role again.
  • Mention why your proposal is reasonable and the value you can bring.
  • Offer to meet the employer/tell the employer can contact you.

An example letter

With that in mind, here is an example letter to help you write your own proposal letter. While you shouldn’t copy it, you can use it as inspiration and guidance when writing.

Dear Mrs Smith,

I appreciate your offer of the position of Account Manager at the XYZ Company in New York. The opportunity to work in an exciting work environment is enticing. I believe my strong background in startup management and communications will help me improve your organization’s Accounts department. I hope to reach those sales goals we discussed during the interview!

I found many parts of your offer acceptable but I would like to go over some of the points that I think need refining. Your suggested starting salary of $88k is 5% lower than I was expecting. The industry average also falls 5% higher and so I would like to propose an increase of 2.5%. I found your relocation offer of reimbursing all transport and property hunt related costs to be generous and I would like to accept them. However, I’m slightly concerned about the lack of credible pension plan option. I would like to discuss this with you further before accepting the job offer. Your proposed starting date was on the 22nd September but I wonder if this could be pushed further back by a week, considering we’re still negotiating the total compensation package.

I’m looking forward to joining the team. I believe I can add value to the team through my 5 years of management experience. You can contact me at 123 321 to continue our discussion or, alternatively, reply to this e-mail.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best regards,
Mark Matson

SUCCEEDING WITH YOUR COUNTER PROPOSAL LETTER

The above points and strategies will help you write a counter proposal letter that gets success. The points guarantee you focus on the right issues, conduct proper research to back your requests and use a language that gets results.

So take the tips and board and write a counter proposal letter that’ll help you get your dream job and the right compensation!

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Negotiating Over Email? Here’s Exactly What to Write to Get Top Dollar

sample counter offer

by Josh Doody

You have a job offer, which means you successfully navigated the tricky job interview process. Congrats!

You know you should probably negotiate your salary, and that means starting with a counter offer. But how do you reply to an offer letter or verbal job offer to begin negotiating your salary? What do you say? Should you send a counter offer email or negotiate on the phone?

The brief phase of the negotiation between the time you get a job offer and when you make your counter offer sets the table for the entire salary negotiation and will have a substantial impact on your final compensation.

This guide will show you how to negotiate your salary over email with a step-by-step process. First, we’ll discuss why you should bother negotiating your salary at all. Then you’ll learn whether the best way to negotiate your job offer is through email or on the phone. Then you’ll get a detailed example of a counter offer letter along with a simple process to build your case and write your own counter offer email.

In this article, you’ll learn how to…

Just in case you’re not convinced that you can or should negotiate a higher salary after a job offer, let’s start with a few common questions about the process.

Should you negotiate your job offer? Even if it’s already pretty good?

Yes.

But you were probably looking for a little more information, weren’t you? 😉

Yes, because there might be room to negotiate.

If you interviewed well and avoided sharing your current or expected salary, then the company’s offer is designed to convince you to join their team (as opposed to being the minimum they think you’ll accept).

But most job offers—even strong ones—have some wiggle room in case you decide to negotiate, so you should counter offer to see if there’s wiggle room and how much wiggle room there might be.

Yes, negotiating your starting salary is a good way to get paid what you’re worth. Yes, negotiating will give you the best opportunity to get other additional benefits like vacation time or signing bonuses.

But the best reason to negotiate is that you could literally be leaving money on the table if you don’t test the company to see if there’s room to negotiate.

Should you negotiate your salary through email or a phone call?

I recommend negotiating salary over email as long as you can, but you’ll end up negotiating over the phone by the end of the process.

Sending a counter offer email is better for you because you can be more deliberate with every word, you can carefully articulate your counter offer and make your case, and because emails can be circulated internally among the decision makers who might need to approve a higher salary for you.

When you counter offer on the phone, you’re more likely to make mistakes due to nervousness or a simple lack of familiarity with the negotiation process. It’s also difficult to succinctly state your case for why you’re an exceptional candidate for the position when you’re nervous and feeling rushed on a phone call.

And even if you articulate your case well, then you’re at the mercy of the recruiter to clearly communicate your case to the other decision makers. You’re literally playing “The Telephone Game” with your salary negotiation, miscommunications during a salary negotiation aren’t nearly as funny.

Hopefully you’re convinced that you should negotiate your salary and that a counter offer email is the way to go.

Where to begin? The first thing you should do is ask for some time to consider the job offer so that you can regroup and use this article to write a compelling salary negotiation email.

Your job offer will probably be of the informal variety, and you’ll either be told the details on a phone call with a hiring manager or recruiter, or the details will be emailed to you.

Here’s what to say to get some time to consider your job offer when it’s shared over the phone:

Thank you so much for your job offer. Do you mind if I take a couple of days to consider your offer and discuss this opportunity with my family?

They’ll almost certainly say, “Sure! I look forward to hearing what you think, and please let me know if you have any questions.”

And now you’ve moved the conversation off of the phone and into email.

Sometimes, you’ll get the job offer via email and you can just respond to that email and ask for more time. You can also respond with an email to a verbal offer made by the hiring manager or recruiter with an email.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to your job offer.

Evaluate the job offer

There are many components to most job offers, but base salary is usually far more important than all of the others. Base salary is what you can use to set your budget, pay your mortgage, make your car payment, and put food on your table while you work for this company.

Base salary is also the gift that keeps on giving: You’ll get that salary every year and your raises, promotions, performance bonuses, and stock grants will usually be based on this number. You also get paid vacation time every year, but that doesn’t tend to affect your raises or bonuses. Signing bonuses are nice, but they’re a one-time thing.

Because it’s so important, we’ll primarily focus your counter offer on the base salary component.

Does the base salary component meet your minimum requirements?

Now that you’ve gotten a job offer and asked for time to think it over, you should… think it over.

Specifically, you need to determine if the offer is close enough to your minimum acceptable salary to negotiate as-is, or if it’s too low to work with.

As a general rule of thumb, if the job offer is more than 20% below your minimum acceptable salary, the offer is too low to negotiate using a standard approach. I call these “lowball” job offers.

Negotiating a lowball job offer

If you’ve gotten a lowball job offer, it’s possible you won’t be able to salvage it, and you may end up simply telling the company what your minimum requirements are to see if they can meet them.

But first, you can use a technique that may encourage them to revise their offer and try again. The technique is pretty simple: tell the recruiter or hiring manager that the offer is disappointing and ask whether they can make any improvements.

Essentially, you’re trying to get them to negotiate against themselves to improve the offer before you counter offer. This will often induce the company to improve your job offer and try again, hopefully with a base salary that’s closer to or even above your minimum acceptable salary.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to a lowball job offer.

Now it’s time to counter offer. Here’s how to write a counter offer email.

Salary negotiation email sample—the baseline template

The best way to counter offer is with an email. Not only does an email give you time to carefully outline your reasons for counter offering, but an email can be circulated within the company in the event that they need to use the financial approval process to allocate additional funds to grant your request.

Here’s a standard counter offer template, based on a real counter offer letter used in a real salary negotiation. I’ve changed the names and numbers, but otherwise it’s copied and pasted from my Sent email folder.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to your job offer.

Let’s review the essential components of a strong baseline sample counter offer letter section by section. Then we’ll look at variations on the baseline template for specific situations.

Open with a greeting

You’ll usuall address your counter offer email to the recruiter you’ve been working with throughout the hiring process, not the hiring manager who extended the verbal job offer. Ultimately, you’ll address it to whoever has been your primary point of contact throughout the job interview process because you will probably negotiate with that same person as well.

Including a personal comment like “I hope you had a great weekend!” can help build rapport with the recruiter. That could be beneficial later when you need them to go to bat for you.

Suggest that you want to counter offer, but do not name the amount yet

Then cut to the chase quickly so that this section shows up in the email preview pane if possible: You’re pretty happy with the job offer, but you want to talk about the base salary component. In other words: you want to counter offer.

Don’t state your counter offer yet because because you want to make your case before you make a specific ask.

Make your case

Now you’ll write the longest paragraph in the email: your case to justify your counter offer.

Why spend all this time making your case instead of just getting to the point and making your counter offer? There are two main reasons:

1. Makes your counter offer more compelling and easier to accept

By making your case before your counter offer, you’re reinforcing the fact that you will add significant value to the company in this role. The better your case, the more reasonable your counter offer will seem.

This is the longest paragraph in the entire email because sometimes a wall of text can work in your favor. After one or two sentences, it should be pretty obvious that this is a long list of compelling reasons that you’re a good fit for the company. It’s one of the few times it’s a good thing if the recruiter doesn’t read the entire paragraph. This paragraph is specifically designed so the recruiter will eventually think, “Ok, I get it! You’re the perfect candidate for this job! 🙄 What’s it going to cost to bring you on board?”

Don’t go overboard here, but it’s ok if this paragraph is a little long. Six or seven reasons that you’re a good fit for the role should do it.

2. Gives the recruiter a written case to circulate internally

Sometimes, the recruiter will have an approved salary range they can accommodate and they’ll have authority to negotiate with you directly without further approval. Other times, they’ll need run your counter offer up the approval chain to see what’s possible.

When they need further approval, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to make a strong case to justify the additional salary. You could state your case verbally—on a phone call—but then you’re counting on them to remember everything and convey it to Finance or whoever can approve additional budget for your salary.

Instead, give them a well-written counter offer email that they can circulate along with their request for additional budget. You will make your own case much better than they will, so giving them your case in writing allows you to make your best case to whoever needs to approve your final salary.

How to write a compelling case to support your counter offer

Ask yourself, “What are five or six ways I can contribute to this team and make an impact right away?” Then write the answers down as bullet points or sentence fragments. All you need is the ideas to start with.

Once you have five or six good bullets, turn those bullets into sentences. Then turn those sentences into a paragraph and make sure it makes sense by reading it aloud. Once you can read it aloud and it makes sense, you’re all set.

Re-state the job offer

Briefly summarize the job offer so there’s no confusion or miscommunication. If you received a verbal job offer, you want to be sure the recruiter is aware of that offer and that it matches what they were told by the hiring manager. If you received a written job offer letter, then summarizing the job offer is just a formality, but it’s still useful.

If there has been any miscommunication around your job offer, now is the time to find out.

State your counter offer (finally!)

State your counter offer in a firm but neutral way. “I would be more comfortable if we can settle on $56,000.” is a good way to phrase your counter offer. It’s not combative, but it is firm and makes it easy for the recruiter to simply reply with “Ok, we can do that.” if it’s within the approved salary range.

“Are you sure you can’t do any better?” is not firm or neutral. That makes it very easy for the recruiter to simply say, “I’m sorry, we can’t.” By stating the actual amount along with “…I would be more comfortable…”, you’re forcing the recruiter to acknowledge the amount you counter offered and respond to that specific amount while making it tougher to simply say “No.”

Immediately after your counter offer, summarize your case in a single sentence, just to remind them of the great case you made earlier.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to your job offer.

Confirm or request next steps

If you haven’t already set your next meeting time or discussed other next steps, be sure to ask about them. “Thanks for your time, and please let me know our next steps.”

In this example, I had already scheduled a follow up call to discuss my job offer with the recruiter on Monday at 10:30 AM, so I simply confirmed that meeting time.

Salary negotiation email samples—special cases and unique situations

The baseline sample salary negotiation letter we reviewed above will work for most situations, but there are a few unique circumstances that might require a slightly modified version of the template.

Counter offering with your minimum acceptable salary

Sometimes, the lowball technique will result in an improved job offer that you can negotiate with a standard counter offer. But sometimes the company will stand pat, indicating their offer is already about as strong as they’re comfortable with.

This usually means you won’t take the job because the offer is so far below your minimum acceptable salary that you can’t negotiate up to your minimum using standard techniques. Still, it can’t hurt to give them one last opportunity to meet your minimum acceptable salary by explicitly telling them what it will take to bring you onto their team.

When you’re countering with your minimum, it’s important to be sure you counter in a way that makes it clear you cannot accept the opportunity if they are unable to meet your minimum requirements. You would typically send this after you have gotten a response to the lowball technique described earlier in this article.

The wording in this version of your salary negotiation letter will be much less collaborative and more firm: “…the base salary needs to be…” as opposed to “…I would be more comfortable if we could settle on…”

That so you can be absolutely sure the recruiter understands that this number is no longer negotiable.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to your job offer.

Counter offering and letting the company know you are considering other offers

One of the most common questions my coaching clients ask about negotiating salary is whether they should get multiple job offers and use them as leverage in their salary negotiation with the company they really want to work with.

In general, I don’t think that’s a good tactic. But! This moment in the salary negotiation—when you’re delivering your counter offer—is the perfect time to alert the company that you’re considering multiple job offers so they are incentivized to improve their offer to convince you to join their team.

It doesn’t take much, and you can do this very subtly.

Before your signature, include a note that you’re considering other opportunities. This will send a strong signal to the recruiter that they not only need to make you a strong offer, but that it needs to be strong enough to compel you to accept their offer over the other company’s.

You don’t need to tell them which companies have made you offers or share the details of those offers at this stage. You might share those details later if you’re strongly leaning toward accepting another company’s offer and you would consider working for this company if they can meet or exceed that other offer.

When you’re negotiating salary over email, simply mentioning competing offers is sufficient. No need to go into great detail.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to your job offer.

Send your draft counter offer email to someone you trust for review

After you use the counter offer letter sample above to write your own email, send it to a couple friends or family members for review. They might find typos or suggest some ways you can tighten it up or make it better. You can always remove the specific details of your job offer and counter offer if you’re not comfortable sharing them.

Following up on your counter offer email

As soon as you hit Send on your counter offer email, you’ll breathe a small sigh of relief because your work is done. Then about 30 minutes later, you’ll feel nervous and think, “Why haven’t they replied yet?!” It’s normal to feel this way, and it’s normal for the recruiter to take a while to get back to you.

Most recruiters are communicating with several candidates at any given time. They’re very, very busy. So it could be a few hours before they even see your counter offer, and then they’ll likely need to compare it to the approved salary range for the job you’re pursuing, and possibly go talk to Finance or the Hiring Manager about your counter offer to see how much they can accommodate you.

These things all take time.

Of course, you’re focused on this particular offer and it’s extremely important to you because it will literally affect the next several years of your life in many ways. You care so much that you read a long article on how to negotiate your salary over email, carefully selected the right counter offer for your situation, wrote and edited your own counter offer email, sent it to friends or family to get feedback, edited it, and finally sent it back to the recruiter.

You’re laser focused on this one negotiation, whereas the recruiter is bouncing from offer to offer, just trying to keep up.

All that to say: Be patient and give it some time. They’ll get back to you eventually because their job is to fill the role you’re interviewing for.

But if you haven’t heard back from them after two or three business days (weekends don’t count!), it might help to send a short email to touch base, move your negotiation to the top of their list, and make sure you didn’t miss an email or phone call at some point.

You don’t need to akd how they feel about your counter offer, whether they can accommodate it, or anything like that. You don’t want them to know you’re sweating the negotiation—you’re just casually checking in to make sure they’re not waiting on you.

Get a detailed counter offer email template to respond to your job offer.

What happens next?

Once you send your counter offer email, there may be a short delay—typically less than 24 hours—and the recruiter or hiring manager will respond with something like, “Thanks for considering our offer. Do you have some time later today or early tomorrow to talk?” They want to move the conversation to the phone because it’s faster and because it favors them—they’re a lot more comfortable having this conversation than you are.

So as soon as you send your salary negotiation email, you need to prepare for your Final Discussion. This is what most people mean when they say “salary negotiation”. It’s a very short call—usually only 3–5 minutes—where they’ll respond to your counter offer and you’ll hash out all the final details of your compensation package.

Conclusion

You should negotiate your job offer even if it already seems pretty good. The best way to begin the salary negotiation is by sending a counter offer email. Eventually, the negotiation will move to the phone, but it’s best to negotiate over email as long as you can because it’s easier to manage the process and avoid mistakes.

The first thing you should do when you get a job offer is ask for some time to think it over using this template.

Then, evaluate your job offer relative to your minimum acceptable salary to determine if you can negotiate using standard techniques or if you’ve received a lowball offer that might benefit from a unique tactic you can employ with this template.

Once you’re ready to counter offer, use the salary negotiation email sample to build your case and send your counter offer. There are also a couple of minor variations that may come in handy if your situation is unique.

If you don’t hear back after a few days, you might want to follow-up to make sure you’re still on the recruiter’s radar and that you didn’t miss any emails or phone calls. This template will help you check in.

Then it’s time to prepare for your Final Discussion, where you’ll hash out all the final details of your compensation package.


If you're pressing forward, here are a few tips and strategies to help you get closer to the compensation you want by writing a solid counteroffer email.

11 Words and Phrases to Use in Salary Negotiations

sample counter offer

First, congratulations. You’ve received an offer! Now, the more difficult news: the job search process isn’t quite over yet. It’s time to think over the offer, compare it with your other options, and most importantly: negotiate.

If you’ve just received a job offer, especially if it was over email, crafting a quick message is a way to strike while the iron is hot for a salary negotiation. To get the inside scoop on getting top dollar through an email negotiation, we reached out to Lewis C. Lin, CEO of Impact Interview, an executive coaching practice that provides interview coaching for job seekers.

As a general matter, Lin advises “it’s best to keep your salary negotiation emails polite, professional, and direct. You want to demonstrate that you are thoughtful and organized, and you want to respect your supervisor’s time.” He also recommends striking a tone of thankfulness for the opportunity you’ve been given, and avoiding taking a pushy or entitled tone.

“It’s best to keep your salary negotiation emails, polite, professional, and direct,” Lin says.

As to the specifics – here’s exactly how to respond to the offer you’ve received:

Step 1: Thank the employer for the offer

The hiring manager needs to know that you’re genuinely excited and grateful to take this offer. The language most appropriate to use in this part email is phrases about working together. You are excited about working together at this company. You are also looking forward to working together to find a salary and benefits package that is suitable for both of you. You can even restate the offer in the terms they put it, using a sentence like “I am very grateful for your offer of [salary], but…”

How to Negotiate Your Salary (eBook)

Step 2: State your counter-offer

The number you state in the email is the jumping off point for negotiations, and not necessarily the number you expect will ultimately be offered to you. For this part of the email, Lin recommends striking a tone that is “respectful, polite, and professional,” adding that “it’s also important to remember that the majority of employers expect that job applications will negotiate starting salary.” Lin advises using the following phrases to help keep that respectful and professional tone while getting your point across, as well as some to avoid:

Effective Phrases

  • “Is there any wiggle room?”
  • “If it’s not too sensitive, do you mind if I ask you what the salary range is for this role?”
  • “Can we discuss the other components of the compensation plan?”
  • “How willing are you to…”

Ineffective Phrases

  • “I will not accept anything less than X”
  • “I need a higher salary to pay my bills”

Step 3: Back yourself up

The number you ask for doesn’t mean much if you can’t back it up with research and justification. In fact, research is one of the most important things you can do in order to make your salary negotiation a success. Tools like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth can help you get a sense of what the average salary range is for someone with your experience, in your industry, in your city. Always try to cite your sources, especially if you’re relying on numerical information to backup your ask. “Candidates often forget to explain the reasons why they want or deserve a higher salary,” says Lin. “Researchers have found that negotiators that include a reason why they deserve something are 20+ percent more effective than those who don’t.”

Lin recommends using the following template as a jumping-off point for your salary negotiation email. According to Lin, this template is ideal because it’s brief and to the point, which fits the needs of busy recruiters and hiring managers, along with being polite, clear, and direct.

Dear Hiring Manager,

Thank you for offering me the position. I am excited about the opportunity, and I can’t wait to start.

For starting salary, I am looking for something closer to [insert specific number]. The reason why is [specific reason].

Is there wiggle room?

Remember, this is a jumping off point, and further negotiations may come later. But by putting in the work of research now, and distilling your ask into short, sweet terms, you are well on your way to getting the top dollar salary that you are asking for.

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WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: 3 Things You MUST Know About COUNTER OFFERS!

So if the person receiving the original offer doesn't accept or reject it, he may decide to renegotiate with a counteroffer. Here's an example.

sample counter offer
Written by Zulmaran
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