Can You Lose a Job Offer by Negotiating Salary

We asked career and business experts if you can lose a job offer by negotiating salary.

Here are their insights:

Paul French

Paul French

Managing Director, Intrinsic Search

As long as your ask is reasonable and well-informed, you should not hold back on advocating for yourself

Based on my experience as a recruiter, the majority of employers will not rescind a job offer simply because you asked for more money. As long as your ask is reasonable and well-informed and your conduct is professional, you should not hold back on advocating for yourself.

That said, there is a tact to negotiating salary to ensure that you arrive at a win-win situation. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

Read the room

Most times, the recruiter or hiring manager will tell you upfront if there is wiggle room for negotiating the offer. In the same vein, they will also be straightforward when what they are offering you is the best offer.

If you are told that the offer on the table is the absolute best that the company can afford, it is best not to push for a higher salary. Doing so will make you seem insensitive, difficult, and lacking self-awareness, which is not the best traits to bring to a team.

Refusing to pick up cues and continuing to push can cause you to lose a job offer.

Know your market value

It goes without saying that to make your case for a higher salary than is being offered, you need to justify your ask with solid facts and figures.

Don’t just say, “That number is too low; I feel that I deserve (whatever amount).”

A better approach would be something like: “I wonder if we can explore a higher salary of $75,000 given my specific skill set. Based on my market research, it showed that equally positioned employees in the industry earn this much on average.”

There are many scenarios where employers have taken back a job offer because the prospective employee counteroffered with a wild figure that was two or three times above the company’s budget.

The best way to avoid such wild swings is to do your research about your market worth and know how to communicate the value you bring to the table to justify your counteroffer.

Think thrice before accepting an initial offer

Another mistake that I see with candidates that makes them easily lose the job offer is that they try to negotiate the salary after accepting the initial offer.

This big turn-off will immediately put you in a bad light. No employer will be comfortable hiring someone who changes their mind at the last minute. Also, chances are good that if you are unhappy with the salary, you will not stay at the company, which is an added cost to your prospective employer.

They will figure out that they are better off going back to the drawing table to find someone who is comfortable with the offer and is wholeheartedly excited to join the team.

Matthew A. Dolman

Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Attorney | Managing Partner, Sibley Dolman Gipe

Generally speaking, I welcome an applicant’s discussion regarding their salary. The willingness to broach the conversation is an opportunity to show the kind of confidence, courage, and negotiation skills I might not otherwise get to see at the interview stage.

Salary negotiation situations in which you could lose the job position

However, there are some situations in which that discussion could lose them the position.

The applicant’s ask is far outside of the typical salary range

If an applicant’s ask is far outside of the typical salary range, it can definitely hurt their chances of getting the job. When this happens, I assume it means one of three things: either the applicant hasn’t done their homework:

  • They’re trying to take advantage of me
  • They don’t care about the job enough to come up with a reasonable ask.

Whatever the case, it’s a red flag.

The applicant tries to negotiate their salary on the basis of their personal needs

It’s also a bad look when an applicant tries to negotiate their salary on the basis of their personal needs. Bringing up the basic cost of living in our area is acceptable.

However, using their personal dramas as a reason why I should raise their salary can definitely hurt their chances of getting the job. It makes me feel put on the spot, but more importantly, it raises doubts about their ability to maintain proper work/life boundaries.

Getting combative in salary negotiations is a deal-breaker

Finally, it should go without saying that getting combative in salary negotiations is a deal-breaker. I appreciate when an applicant advocates for themselves. But raised voices or general argumentativeness sends a clear message of disrespect and poor judgment.

Cindy Deuser

Cindy Deuser

HR Director, Thrive Agency

Yes, you can lose in any negotiation

Negotiation is an art, not a skill, and requires excellent knowledge of your “adversary” and the entire situation. One also needs to understand the full limits and range of all of the points under negotiation.

For example, when negotiating for a job, most people think that one only negotiates a salary.

Actually, what should be considered is negotiating the full range of compensation package. For any position, there is a salary range that the prospective employee may or may not know and so may exceed what is structurally impossible for the company.

However, one can negotiate PTO, work flexibility (remoting), period of review (accelerate), etc., that may be less constrained by policy or structure. Also, one needs to understand whether or not you’re in a position to negotiate.

Just because you’re offered a job doesn’t mean you’re a star to them; it just means you’re their lead candidate at the moment (one or better candidates may have already been offered the job and declined).

Most candidates have an inflated sense of self, especially early-career candidates, and so fail in a negotiation because they think they’re special when they’re just ordinary.

Finally, most people enter a negotiation not meeting the fundamental requirement of negotiation: if you can’t walk away, you’re not negotiating.

For a prospective employee, this means you’re willing to keep looking for a job, which is possible only if you’re currently employed, have money in the bank to live on, or have another job offer that’s a lock.

Dusan Stanar

Dusan Stanar

Founder & CEO, VSS Monitoring

As a hiring manager and CEO of my company, I have worked with the business and my recruiters to define a salary range that I am willing to accept long before making an offer.

My best recruiters interview applicants to learn about their aspirations and then work with me to see if we can increase the pay a little if possible. In most cases, we don’t even schedule a formal interview until we’ve checked that the candidate’s compensation fits within our budget.

When I make an offer, it goes through approvals (more on that later), and I make the best offer I can given my budget and the candidate’s requirements.

As a result, if a candidate asks for less than I am willing to pay, I am ecstatic, and I usually offer substantially more than the asking price (unless I feel the candidate is a superstar and is for some reason underselling themselves).

I do have a ceiling figure I can consider due to business limitations and market conditions.

HR also restricts my compensation options. For example:

  • We advise our customers that a specific position requires X years of experience and a Y degree.
  • If an applicant lacks such credentials, I am unable to pay them more than HR allows.

My approvals include company sign-off (a formality provided that I kept them informed during the hiring, interviewing, and negotiating process) and HR approval (sometimes trickier if the perfect candidate lacks needed formal qualifications).

Although I can normally convince both to agree to last-minute changes, I will move on to the next candidate if a candidate asks too much. But, of course, my recruiters will inform the candidate that we will not be able to increase the bid, and it will be up to the candidate to accept or decline.

Finally, if I receive an acceptance, but the applicant accepts a far lower salary than he or she desired, I would be worried that he or she may be looking for a new job rather than focusing on the job I hired him or her to do, and I will be hesitant to hire as a result.

Damian Birkel

Damian Birkel

Founder & Executive Director, Professionals In Transition

Most companies expect negotiation from savvy job seekers. However, close to 90% of those in a job interview do not negotiate.

Any company worth working for expects a negotiation process, but he or she that speaks first loses. I always recommend that you delay salary negotiation for as long as possible.

At Professionals In Transition, we talk about the “Damian Dance.” (that is, how to dance around the salary question for as long as possible) When the question: “How much will it take for you to join us?”

Here are the responses to delay salary discussion:

  • “I would rather delay discussing salary until we are a little farther along in the process.”
  • “I’m not sure the salary I am currently making applies to this position. Will you please tell me more about it?”
  • “You are a fair person, and I am too. I am confident that when you have decided that I am the right person, we can talk about salary.”
  • “I’m sure you have a salary range for this position. What is it?”
  • “I’m sure I will fit within the salary range for this position, and when we are a little farther along, we can talk about it.”
  • “Well, if you must know, my salary falls in the range of from A to B. (the range between should be large).”

Believe it or not, the strongest time to negotiate is after you have received the offer in writing. This is because they have already informed your competitors that you got the job.

But there is a fine line between additional prudent negotiation and being a pig. Be careful and always keep the conversation friendly and the outcome “win-win.”

You can end up negotiating too much whereby you change the employer’s perception of you

This is a very interesting question, and it’s one I’m sure lots of people will be interested in hearing the answer to.

Some job seekers mistakenly believe that a job offer from a company or organization cannot be negotiated. But many times, you are able to discuss the terms and have changes made to the original offer. Salary is one of the terms job seekers will attempt to negotiate.

But here’s the thing every job seeker needs to understand: You can end up negotiating so hard or too much whereby you change the employer’s perception of you from being positive to negative.

If this happens, then yes, you could have your job offer rescinded.

For example, the company negotiates with you in good faith and makes some concessions. But no matter how much the company concedes, you still want more. It’s possible the employer will now see you as extremely difficult to work with.

Because of this new perception, they may just cancel your job offer and decide to hire somebody else who’s less combative or inflexible. So your overly aggressive negotiation tactics might backfire.

Thus, when negotiating your job offer, you want to make sure the employer will continue to perceive you in a positive and professional light. You want to come across as knowing your value yet also realizing there are some things a business or organization may not be able to do.

Lastly, we have job seekers who think that money is the only thing that an employer can give them. But there are some perks that an employer might offer in lieu of money.

So in cases where an employer might be reluctant to pay you beyond a certain point, it’s possible you might be able to negotiate some other kind of perk to make up for that salary shortfall.

For example, maybe a better vacation package.

Thus, some job seekers will lose their job offers by failing to realize that salary, which may be the most important thing to them, is not the only benefit or perk that an employer can offer. To employers, non-salary benefits might be more attractive and easier to swallow.

So when negotiating a job offer, be sure to carefully weigh the full benefits, like working conditions or hours, pay, vacation, retirement benefits, etc. Showing more flexibility on your part goes a very long way to making employers more willing to negotiate.

Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC

Debra Wheatman

President, Careers Done Write, Inc.

The odds of an offer being revoked are low

For job seekers, the aspect of negotiating the salary is one that is filled with anxiety. Many people become anxious about reviewing the offer and then going back to the hiring manager to ask for more. It’s an understandable concern.

The reality is that the odds of an offer being revoked are low. Employers expect that a candidate will negotiate. As long as the negotiations are handled professionally, it is unlikely that you will jeopardize the job offer.

It is a normal business practice to negotiate.

No employer is expecting that you are going to accept the first offer you are given. While the hiring manager might let you know that there will be no movement on the offer, it is highly unlikely that they will revoke the offer simply because you asked for additional compensation.

If a hiring manager has an unreasonable response or otherwise highly emotional reaction to the request, this might cause you to take a deeper look at the company. That might be a red flag.

Serving as an advocate for yourself is acceptable. It should not cause a heated overreaction. You should also consider how other requests will be treated once you join, including future requests for increases.

Handle your negotiations professionally.

Avoid being overly aggressive in tone or rude about the ask. You should share that you are appreciative of the offer, you are very interested in joining the company, and know you would make a positive and sustainable contribution.

You can follow this with your understanding of the role and level of commitment required to make an impact, with the goal being that you want to structure the compensation to meet the needs of both parties.

  • Make sure you are engaged throughout the process.
  • Don’t take days to respond to an email or voicemail message.
  • Take a proactive and enthusiastic approach to the negotiation process.
  • Do not try to negotiate a salary that is widely out of the range of the position.

Before entering any negotiation, you should have done your research of the industry and the same (or similar) positions to have a clear understanding of the market.

You don’t want to send a message that the offer (if you accept) is one that is unsatisfactory; this will send the message that you are unhappy walking in the door and will not set a positive tone or feeling.

If an offer were to be rescinded, it would be under that circumstance in which the salary expectations are so far afield from any previous discussions or market rate that moving forward would cause the employer undue risk by hiring you.

It is always easier to get the money as a new hire vs. when you are already employed. The bottom line is to do your research, approach the process with a positive and proactive mindset with realistic expectations.

Randi Roberts, MBA, PCC

Randi Roberts

Executive and Career-Life Coach | President, Corlin Roberts Coaching, LLC

Yes, you can lose a job offer by negotiating the salary, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it

There are a number of factors to consider in determining whether to negotiate salary when offered a job. Some factors are job or market-related. Those include:

  • What is the salary range for this job?
  • Is there a huge talent pool for a job like this, or are qualified applicants scarce?

Some of these factors are personal such as:

  • How much do you want the job?
  • How much do you need the job?
  • How important is money in the decision whether or not you’ll accept?
  • And do a gut-check on how comfortable you are asking for more.

But maybe the biggest question I suggest you ask yourself is: What do I have to lose?

I often speak with my coaching clients about advocating for themselves, and it seems to work to run any possible request through three filters:

  • Is your request reasonable? Asking for $10k more in base salary is not on the scale with asking for a $1M signing bonus.
  • Are you asking for reasons that you are comfortable admitting? Asking because you believe the offer is below market rate is different than wanting to out-earn your college roommate.
  • Are you willing to take “no” for an answer? This is essentially the difference between a request and a demand.

If your request makes it through these filters, I say ask. My corporate career was in Pharmaceuticals, leading large sales and marketing teams. Every position that I held and nearly every position in my organization required the ability to negotiate in some way, contract terms, deadlines, resource requests, etc.

The way I see it is if success on the job requires some form of negotiation, then I want to see it in action. If you aren’t willing or able to advocate on your own behalf, it’s hard for me to imagine you doing it on behalf of the business.

And if your request passed the filters and you lose the job for negotiating, it may not be a company or boss worth working for.

Tony Giacobbe

Tony Giacobbe

HR and Talent Acquisition Leader, Amica Senior Lifestyles

It is possible to lose a job offer as a result of an unsuccessful and ill-planned salary negotiation

That’s why we advise prospective recruits to spend time researching and planning before coming to the negotiation table. It’s worth finding out the standard industry rates and considering the level of finance that you can reasonably expect.

You should avoid the negotiation of salary in the following instances:

  • When you’ve already agreed to the salary offer
  • When the employer tells you that this is their best and final offer
  • When you aren’t able to give valid reasons for increased salary demands

You should only enter the negotiation once a formal employment offer has been made. This will mean that you can enter the discussion with confidence that the employer appreciates the value you will add.

However, you should still set out realistic salary expectations, ensuring that there aren’t any second thoughts about your employment.

It’s important to recognize that every employment situation is unique. There should be some consideration of the pros and cons. Think carefully about the suitability of the job and look for cues in terms of openness to negotiation.

Daniel Kalish

Daniel Kalish

Trial Lawyer and Managing Partner, HKM Employment Attorneys LLP

You’re an at-will employee, in almost all states, and the company has no legal obligation to hire you

For the most part, yes, you can lose a job offer by negotiating the salary for your offer. This is because in almost all states, you are an at-will employee, and the company has no legal obligation to hire you. That being said, exceptions exist.

The exceptions:

You are negotiating as part of a group of individuals

For example, if you are negotiating as part of a group of individuals, then not offering you the job because you acted in tandem with others to negotiate better working conditions could violate the National Labor Relations Act.

You are negotiating your salary to ask for equal pay as others in the company

Further, if you are a member of a protected class, and you are negotiating your salary to ask for equal pay as others in the company, then not hiring you because of your negotiations could constitute illegal discrimination.

However, in my experience, a company rarely revokes a job offer just because applicants negotiate their salary. This is especially true if you are professional and honest in your interactions with the company and politely explain why you should get a higher salary.

Brenda Neckvatal

Brenda Neckvatal

International Award-Winning HR Professional, brendathehrlady

Being too aggressive in the negotiation process will reduce the ability to earn more faster

The prospect of landing a great new job is exciting, and in today’s market, talent comes at a premium. However, to become that premium talent, it takes time, experience, and capability – all things employers are willing to invest in.

Some job seekers are at risk of making the career killer mistake by overestimating the value of their talent early on in their career and then losing during the salary negotiation process by being too ambitious.

It’s important to aim for the fences and achieve the best wage for your abilities, but job seekers also must know when to take a step back and honestly evaluate their worth and not price themselves out of a great opportunity.

Identifying a reasonable range that not only falls within the current market trends but honestly reflects your true abilities is a solid strategy. Don’t just go for the big number.

It’s also important in today’s employment landscape to research the company and industry you are employed in or interested in. COVID has now become endemic, and in its wake are both struggling businesses and ones that reached a new level of success.

As a job seeker, if you do not understand the economic impact 2020 has made on your desired industry, you could price yourself out of a good opportunity.

Having the ability to be part of a rising company’s success is a great achievement and will impact you in countless ways. However, if your salary expectations are too high for a fledgling company attempting to keep its doors open, and you persist on reaching only for your desired salary without looking at the opportunity to be part of a company’s recovery, you will be forced to seek another opportunity.

Sometimes the fortune is in the experience, not always in the paycheck.

A great job will provide many years of development and growth with an organization, and when done correctly, the compensation to match. Being too aggressive in the negotiation process will reduce the ability to earn more faster, and if you change jobs often to get the earning you’re dreaming of, hopping around can also damage your credibility.

Kate Dixon

Kate Dixon

Salary Negotiation Coach | Author, “Pay Up! Unlocking Insider Secrets of Salary Negotiation

As long as you negotiate respectfully, it’s unlikely that your offer will be rescinded

Salary negotiations aren’t a cage match with one winner and one loser. They’re a collaboration, with you and your prospective employer both aiming for the same thing: a solution that will work for both of you.

As long as you treat the person you’re negotiating with respectfully and keep your shared goal in mind, it’s extremely unlikely that your offer will be rescinded.

In fact, in all of my years in the field, I’ve never seen an offer be rescinded for negotiating.

Joe Mullings

Joe Mullings

Founder and CEO, The Mullings Group

You can absolutely lose a job offer by mishandling offer negotiations

The interview process and the ultimate negotiation of a compensation package provide insight to your future employer on how you might collaborate with the team at large.

The most successful pathway to negotiating a salary includes a few key components that define success in relationships. Those are:

  • Self-awareness
  • Clarity in communication
  • Education
  • Patience

One of the first things you need to do is to let the person(s) know that you want the role and that you’re looking forward to joining the team. This dramatically changes the negotiations to a “teammate” mindset versus an “us versus them” mindset.

The second is to understand how you might educate your future potential employer “why” you are requesting the specifics of the offer package. If it is money, make a cogent and evidence-based case for the increase which may include:

  • Added commute
  • Cost of living differential
  • Added responsibility
  • The money you may be leaving on the table with your current employer

You should follow up each discussion with an email thanking the person(s) you are having your discussions with for their understanding and considerations for your requests. This is a critical practice to ensure that both parties are clear with the details as the negotiations move along.

Be patient; no need to be a tough guy in the negotiations, you can only go down a one-way street once, and in salary negotiations, it generally does not work out well.

Finally, how do you think that you are appearing to your new teammates? Are you clear, patient, detail-oriented, and mindful of how you’re coming across to every person in the process? Nice people do finish first.

David B. Morse

David B. Morse

President and Lead, Listening For Success: Partnership Negotiation

Think ahead and shape the negotiation course and speed

The most critical point in your negotiation for a job will come before you ever focus on salary. Your guideposts are your goals. What are you looking for, in addition to salary? What is your alternative, such as staying in your current job?

Perhaps work flexibility is important to you, or commuting distance. Few of us ever get in a car without considering our destination.

The other step before departing on your negotiation is considering how the company sees its situation. What problem could they be trying to solve? What other people and skills might address their needs, other than you?

Find a perspective that combines your view with theirs. (Indeed, come up with a couple!) How you describe the mutual vantage point is as important as the objective view.

Skillful bargainers think about goals and pathways well in advance because they shape the negotiation course and speed. There are many routes and many destinations, each with its plusses and minuses.

Ask more questions than make statements

Negotiating with a company can seem oversized, rather like David vs. Goliath. But negotiation is between people, not things. And with uniquely familiar ease, people talk.

Engage with the company representative as a person with all sorts of exciting ideas. Imagine them as distant relatives, unknown but due respect. Ask more questions than making statements. Listen.

Confident, respectful discussions with listening build social trust. You will need rapport to learn the company’s hidden interests underneath their visible positions (like a salary offer).

Before delving into the win-lose tradeoffs of salary, understand what motivates that distant relative. Seek out and look for surprising connections between you.

Partnership is better than compromise

So do your homework and talk like you would with a professional colleague. If you lose a job offer over salary, that might be the best outcome. Success is often not in winning the highest starting salary. It is in creating a valuable, long-lasting partnership.

Clay Burnett

Clay Burnett

President and Executive Recruiter, Clay Burnett Group

You can lose a job if your bottom line is above their top line

Of course, you can lose a job if your bottom line is above their top line, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful in moving the needle during negotiations.

First of all, accept the reality that sometimes employers have a rigid expectation about what they are willing to pay for a particular job description, and you may not be able to change their plans.

However, your attitude and your ability to sell yourself as an attractive package deal may be successful.

You will need to speak confidently about your experience and strong desire to do a good job. It’s important to be relevant. Speak to the job outline and how you specifically fit into it. If you have more education and specific work experience than the minimum requirements listed, explain how you will be able to hit the ground running.

Don’t go overboard on this because you don’t want to imply that you are ready to leapfrog ahead, but explain that you can bring value to the table.

In all negotiations, it’s wise to rely on your recruiter if you are working with one. Recruiters know the salary ranges paid for particular job descriptions, and they can coach you through the interview process and help you achieve your goals.

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell

Former Recruiter | Director, StandOut CV

It’s quite common for job-seekers to worry that the negotiation of salary could lead to the loss of a job offer. There’s a concern that asking for too much money could anger the recruiter and cause them to deem you unsuitable.

This fear may be enough to prompt the immediate acceptance of a salary that doesn’t meet initial expectations. However, such a response could lead to resentment and a lack of commitment to the job.

Is negotiation an option?

There’s undoubtedly more to be lost in the avoidance of negotiation than the failure to come to a salary agreement. If the employer is willing to come to the negotiation table at all, then they recognize the contribution that you will be able to make to their business.

They are particularly keen to draw on your expertise, over and above the expertise of other applicants. This means that you are able to negotiate from a position of strength and confidence.

Negotiation is likely not an option if you are asking for an increased salary right at the end of the process. This will appear disingenuous to the recruiters and not paint you in the best light.

Negotiation will rarely cause offence

It’s very unlikely that you will miss out on a job because you’ve stated your salary expectations. The employer will want to begin the relationship on a positive footing, ensuring your satisfaction wherever possible so that you remain committed to the business.

If you’ve taken the time to make a valid case for your projected salary, then there’s every chance of coming to a mutual agreement.

Ultimately, if you are asking for anything outside of what is being advertised, you need to have good reasons and evidence as to why. This can apply to your own experience and what the rest of the industry is offering.

Nicole Case

Nicole Case

Former HR Professional | Career and Leadership Coach for Women Corporate Leaders

You could lose a job offer because of how you are behaving during the negotiation

You cannot lose a job offer just because you are negotiating. You could, however, lose a job offer because of how you are behaving during the negotiation.

Being rude, threatening, or insulting is not going to endear yourself to anyone. Be factual, firm, and understanding. Remember, there is another human being on the other side of the negotiation table.

Behaving poorly during the negotiation process will send red flags up to the hiring manager and question if you are behaving this way now how might that show up once you are hired? How would you treat your peers or customers?

Negotiation is a compromise and a collaboration meant to be a win-win. In the case of job offers, employees solve a problem for a business in exchange for money. That’s it!

The worst thing that can happen is they say no to your request. Then you decide if you are going to walk away, continue to try and negotiate, or take the original offer.

Women are paid 82 cents to the dollar a man makes. There are several systemic reasons for this, but one is women negotiate less often than men. 60% of women say they have never negotiated before!

Men are making more than women because they were confident enough to ask. If a company does rescind an offer just because you negotiated, then you don’t want to work there anyway.

Susan Norton

Susan Norton

Senior Director of Human Resources, LiveCareer

You have to accept that you won’t get 100% of what you want

Salary negotiation is not only an essential part of your job search; it also evolves with your career development and the experience you get by talking to different employers.

While it’s crucial to know your value and clearly express your salary expectations, salary negotiation is also about compromise. You have to accept that you won’t get 100% of what you want.

The key to success lies in finding the right balance between your needs and what your future employer can give you.

My advice is to define for yourself what salary range you can accept. After that, think of other benefits you’d consider even if the actual salary is on the lower side of your requirements. Maybe your yearly salary can be slightly lower if you can work remotely after the pandemic or have a commute time counted in your working hours?

Everyone is different and needs various things to be happy at their job. Don’t focus solely on money, as there might be factors like growth opportunities or other perks that significantly impact your job satisfaction.

Whatever you decide, don’t gamble.

Compare your salary expectations with industry averages, and consider the constraints of a specific company you’re talking to. A start-up just launching its first product will most likely have less money to offer than one of the big five companies.

Know your minimum salary expectations but also be open to other solutions your potential employer can offer.

Lauri Kinkar

Lauri Kinkar

CEO, Messente

I believe you could lose more if you don’t negotiating your job offer

No, you can’t lose your job for negotiating your job offer. I believe you could lose more if you don’t. You may think that thinking of negotiating alone can jeopardize your job, but accepting a salary you’re pleased with can help you in your career for the long term.

If you accept a salary that’s not ok with you, you could feel resentment toward your work in the long run. Also, it can affect your lifetime earnings since the basis for future pay is your prior salary.

However, negotiating your salary should be done carefully and professionally. You don’t want to annoy your manager for being inappropriately aggressive. While you should prepare to explain what value you could offer the company, using a pleasant and collaborative tone is crucial.

Be reasonable about the salary increase you are asking for based on your skillset and the average market worth of people in the same industry as you.

Keep the negotiation value-oriented. The manager doesn’t care if you still have a car to pay or whatever it is that you need additional money for. What your manager needs to know is how much value you can bring to the table.

Jessica Lim

Jessica Lim

HR Manager, MyPerfectResume

You could lose the job offer when you don’t know how to justify your salary expectations

It’s very easy to sound entitled or clueless when negotiating your salary. This becomes apparent when you don’t know how to justify your salary expectations, leading you to lose the job offer.

It’s very important to do a bit of research before negotiating your salary. Not only should you look at wages in similar roles, same industry, and location, but you should also factor in annual raises and the benefits the company offers.

A lower salary might be the right choice in exchange for comprehensive insurance benefits, but getting less money for a gym membership or free fruits doesn’t sound like a smart idea.

Someone that is prepared and knowledgeable about the company, industry, and all other factors that determine this person’s salary has a better chance of getting the amount they want against someone who came up with a random number without any justification.

Caroline Vernon

Caroline Vernon

Career Transition Practice Leader, Intoo USA

Errors that may get your offer rescinded

An offer negotiation is a regular part of the interview process, and so it’s rare to lose an offer by trying to negotiate. However, there are instances when it can happen.

When you attempt to ask for more

One is if you’ve already stated your salary requirements but then attempt to ask for more. If you attempt to negotiate a second time after they’ve already agreed to your first negotiation, it’s almost certain they’ll rescind the offer.

The job posting specifically lists the salary and states that it’s firm

Another way to lose an offer is if the job posting specifically lists the salary and states that it’s firm. In this case, asking for more could imply that you ignored or didn’t carefully read the posting. However, most companies are reasonable, and barring these errors, will listen and thoughtfully respond to negotiation.

The exception to this is if you find out that there are more responsibilities to the job that you were not aware of prior and those changes or responsibilities change the scope of the role.

Negotiating a higher salary that commensurate with the added responsibilities would be in order and most likely expected.

Erika Rykun

Erika Rykun

Content Manager,

There is a considerably low chance of losing a job offer while negotiating a salary

However, you can lose in any negotiation. The chance keeps low only if you negotiate reasonably and professionally. The money issue vividly discloses your values and intentions.

If they do not match company values declining a job offer is much easier for an employer than employing the wrong person.

Here are reasonable cases when salary negotiation is unacceptable and won’t do you any good:

Clear understanding of the price

If you are not sure how much exactly you want to earn, there is no chance you’ll win the negotiation. The value you can bring to the company must adequately correspond to the salary amount.

Lower number acceptance

In case you got excited by the job offer and accepted without paying attention to the salary, there is no chance for you to fix the situation.

If you’ve already agreed to one offer and now are trying to negotiate it – it might leave an impression of you being a shifty character, and no one wants to work with such people.

If this is the case – negotiations might really lead to losing your job.

Mark Hayes

Mark Hayes

Head of Marketing, Kintell

No job worth having will drop your offer because of a salary negotiation

Negotiating your salary is a perfectly normal part of the job application experience. It ensures that both the hiring manager and the employee are satisfied with the terms of the agreement and that the working relationship starts off strong.

If you negotiate your salary and lose the job offer altogether, it’s virtually a guarantee that the employer was never on your side.

Negotiation is not a conflict; it’s a collaboration to solve a common problem

That common problem is equity – a promise that both parties will be treated fairly, make good on their promise, and receive what they’re looking for. But by dropping your application at the very first hurdle, it shows that the hiring manager was never interested in this equity in the first place.

Consider it a bullet dodged, and never be afraid to negotiate.

Daniel Hale

Daniel Hale

CEO and Director, Pulse Recruitment

Employers generally oblige if you keep your negotiation balanced

The simple answer to this one is a resounding YES… but it also depends on several factors such as:

  1. Is there a second choice candidate that can be offered the role at a lower rate if you won’t budge on the higher expectation?
  2. Is your negotiation style alienating the employer and making them think that money is the only reason you are taking the role?
  3. Are you aiming way too high at an unrealistic figure?
  4. Are you breaking an earlier commitment about what your salary expectation actually is?

In short, negotiating a salary is an art, not a science.

However, if you have the leverage and the amount you are asking for is in line with market rates, logic plays its part. Employers generally oblige if you keep your negotiation balanced and with the bigger picture in mind.

Yvonne Chavez

Yvonne Chavez

CEO, Painting Kits

Try to understand where HR is coming from before negotiating a salary. They may be attempting to reduce your expectations in order to convince you to accept a lower offer.

Alternatively, the expected salary could be substantially higher than what they are used to paying; if they do, it may disrupt their salary structure. I’m not sure you should ask them that question, but try to understand where they’re coming from.

Then, before you react, think about your compensation objectives and what you might accept and be satisfied with.

After that, and assuming you’re genuinely interested in the company, you should try to gauge their interest with questions such as:

  • What is the typical salary for this position?
  • What are the salary bands or ranges for this position?
  • What are the perks and benefits that come with the job?

If you’re serious about the work, consider whether you’re close enough in terms of compensation to reach an agreement after the discussion. If you’re too far off the mark, it’s doubtful that you and the organization will be able to work together.

Alternatively, if you do, there may be resentment on their or your side, which may manifest itself in future rises.

If you’re both truly interested and not too far apart, you might ask, “How do we get together?” I really like and want the job; we seem to be on the same page, and I’d hate to see what seems to be a great match fall apart.”

Of course, they can respond with a “take it or leave it” attitude, in which case you must determine how to respond.

If you and the company have vastly different standards, tell them. Clarify that you are very interested in the company and the role, but you and the company seem to have a different pay structure for the position and a different perspective of what it is worth.

Say you’d like to keep in touch and that if things improve in the future, you’d be eager to speak with them again.

Malte Scholz

Malte Scholz

CEO and Co-Founder, Airfocus

As a CEO of a company that hires people of all kinds of backgrounds and experience levels, I can say that you definitely can lose a position in the process of negotiating a salary.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your demands are unrealistic, but simply that a business cannot meet all of your requirements. In another scenario, recruiters may simply decide that you don’t have enough experience for the salary you are asking, and they may reject the request respectively.

On one hand, you should be realistic with your demands and check how much a certain position is paid before you ask for a specific salary. On the other hand, if you know you are worth more money than the average salary in a given company, don’t be afraid to ask it.

Oftentimes, recruiters will actually agree and give you the salary that you want. If that doesn’t happen, you can always find another, better opportunity.

Katherine Kirkinis, Ed.M., M.A.

Katherine Kirkinis

Career Coach and Co-Founder, Wanderlust Careers

You can lose a job offer if you don’t play your cards right

There are two situations–the salary negotiation before an official offer and after an official offer.

Before an official offer (i.e., when you are in the running and having a conversation about salary), be prepared to negotiate your salary and have realistic expectations. That means doing your research, having realistic expectations, and offering a wide salary range–not just a single number.

If you were to name one number that is outside of their budget, they could just say, “sorry, we can’t afford you,” and move on to the next candidate.

Once you get an official offer with a salary, you can try to negotiate it. But, you should have done your work upfront before this official offer was made. It’s not really an offer until both parties agree.

If you try to surprise them or try to negotiate out of that range, they have every right to say “never mind.”

Shad Elia

Shad Elia

CEO, We Buy Houses Here

Any negotiation can result in a loss

Yes, sometimes you can, and sometimes you cannot. Any negotiation can result in a loss. Negotiation is an art, not an ability, and it necessarily requires a detailed understanding of your “adversary” as well as the entire situation.

It’s also essential to comprehend the full scope and limits of all of the points under negotiation. Most people think that when negotiating for a job, one just talks about salary.

Actually, negotiating the full range of compensation packages should be considered. Any job has a pay scale that the prospective employee may or may not be aware of and thus can exceed what the company can afford structurally.

It’s also important to know whether or not you’re in a position to negotiate. Just because you’ve been offered a job doesn’t mean you’re a celebrity in their eyes; it simply means you’re their top choice right now (one or better candidates may have already been offered the job and declined).

Most candidates, particularly early-career candidates, have an inflated sense of self and often fail to negotiate because they believe they are unique when they’re not.

Finally, most people enter a negotiation without being able to meet the most basic requirement of negotiation: If you can’t walk away, you’re not actually negotiating.

For a potential employee, this means you’re willing to keep looking for a job, which is only likely if you’re currently working, have enough money in the bank to survive on, or have another confirmed job offer.

Mason McSpadden

Vice President, WELD Recruiting

If you ask respectfully, it can’t hurt you

One of the most important steps when searching for a job is to set your ideal parameters. This doesn’t just include salary, but also location, the size of your team, company culture, whether you’re working remotely or not, growth potential, parental leave, retirement plans, paid time off, etc.

These are all ‘forms of currency’ that you must consider when negotiating for a new position. Once you identify your target range or specific goal for each parameter, rank them in order of priority.

This way, before you negotiate with your potential employer, you can ask them for a few days’ review of all the company materials and complete compensation package.

If your job offer is lacking in some areas, such as parental leave or retirement plans, you can use that to ask for a higher salary in lieu of other offers or past compensation.

The bottom line is, if you ask respectfully, it can’t hurt you. Without even trying to negotiate, the only person missing out is you.

Eropa Stein

Eropa Stein

Founder, Hyre

Negotiating respectfully is acceptable and will not cost you a job offer

Unless a candidate is rude, I don’t see a problem with negotiating a salary. However, if the job already had a set rate, you should be prepared to accept that.

It would be best if you can explain why you are negotiating when you already saw the set rate. For example, it would be acceptable to request a negotiation if the job is a further commute than you anticipated.

It is up to your employer’s discretion whether or not to agree with a higher salary, but it should not cost you the offer.

Insider tip: Prepare for your negotiation. Emphasize why an investment in you is worth it for the company. If you have increased responsibility in your life, such as caring for a child, it is also worth mentioning.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long should the salary negotiation process take?

The salary negotiation process can vary by employer but generally should not take more than a few weeks. The process begins with the submission of an offer and may involve back-and-forth communication between you and the employer as you both reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

It can be helpful to set expectations for timeframes at the beginning of negotiations, such as expecting a formal response within a week so that both parties are clear about deadlines.

Also, do not get too discouraged if negotiations take longer than expected. Some employers need additional time to secure approval of their budgets or confirm other benefits.

How do I bring up the subject of salary during the job offer process?

Be sure to wait until the employer brings up the topic of salary because you don’t want to appear presumptuous or put the employer on the spot.

However, if the employer doesn’t bring up salary during the job offer process, it’s appropriate to ask about it. Here are some tips for bringing up the subject of salary:

– Wait for the employer to bring up the subject, if possible
– If the employer doesn’t bring it up, ask about it in a respectful and professional manner
– Explain that you’re interested in discussing the salary and benefits package as part of your decision-making process
– Be open and honest about your salary expectations, but also be willing to listen to the employer’s perspective

What if I don’t feel comfortable negotiating?

It’s completely understandable if you’re uncomfortable negotiating, but it’s an integral part of any job search and can make a big difference to your future prospects – especially regarding salary.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help to ensure you get the best offer possible. Talk to trusted colleagues who have been through the process themselves, ask mentors or industry experts for advice, and learn about policies and etiquette before you go into negotiations.

Also, practice makes perfect—so if you don’t feel ready, try role-playing the situation with someone to get a better idea of how things are likely to go.

Why is it important to negotiate salary during a job offer?

Salary negotiation is an essential part of the job offer process. It helps to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for your skills and experience. Below are more reasons why this is important:

– It sets the stage for future career development and earning potential
– Boosts self-confidence and assertiveness in the workplace
– Improves your relationship with your employer
– Helps you understand your market value and make informed career decisions
– Reduces the gender and racial pay gap
– Gives you a better understanding of the company culture
– Leads to greater job satisfaction in the long run
– Improves your financial stability and helps you achieve your financial goals
– Shows appreciation for your skills and experience

How do I handle a counteroffer from an employer?

When you receive a counteroffer from your prospective employer, it’s the perfect opportunity to renegotiate, so stay strong in your convictions.

Once you’ve agreed on the terms of the job, it’s essential to understand what was said and ensure both parties are clear and confident in it.

It’s important to understand the context of the offer made by the employer, such as how much they’re willing to pay or how often you’ll need to be on-site to ensure that you receive an offer that meets your expectations.

In addition, it can be helpful to have a list of non-monetary benefits when discussing a counteroffer—such as health insurance, childcare assistance, tuition reimbursement, or flexible work schedules—to use these items as bargaining chips if needed.

Should you accept a job offer immediately?

It’s generally not advisable to accept a job offer immediately without considering it carefully. While it may be tempting to jump at a job offer, especially if you have been job hunting for a while, remember that this is an important decision that will affect your career and life.

Before accepting a job offer, take some time to research the position and the company. Consider factors such as salary, benefits, job duties, work culture, and opportunities for development and advancement.

You should also take the time to research the company online and talk to current or former employees to get a feel for what it’s really like to work there.

Once you have evaluated the job offer and the company, you should negotiate the terms of the offer. In doing so, you could ask for a higher salary, more vacation days, or other important benefits.

Negotiating can be tricky, but it’s important to remember that the employer made the offer because they believe you’ll be a valuable asset to their team.

If you decide to accept the offer, you should do so in writing and thank the employer for the opportunity. If you choose not to accept the offer, it’s essential to do so respectfully and professionally, as you never know if you’ll encounter the company or the people involved again in the future.

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