How To Negotiate A Job Offer To Get The Best Deal

How to negotiate a job offer

So you’ve received a job offer from an employer for your dream job – congratulations!

But you may be wondering how to negotiate a job offer, including your salary, your benefits, and your terms of contract.

This is your dream job and you’ve worked hard to successfully negotiate the application process and interviews.

But you still need to make sure that you get a good deal in your new employment terms and conditions, right?

It can be tricky, and it can be delicate.

But with our advice on how to negotiate a job offer you can make sure that you get the best deal, not only for you but also for your new company.

Because after all, the best way to start out with your new employer is to reach a ‘win-win‘ agreement.

In this article, we explain how to negotiate a job offer, including:

  1. Review the offer carefully
  2. Perform a salary comparison exercise
  3. Consider the wider benefits on offer
  4. Think ahead – what are your exit options?
  5. Getting down to negotiations
  6. Declining an offer

1. Review the offer carefully

The very first point to make is that you should always get your job offer in writing. You may receive a verbal offer from the employer, in which case you should always ask for a formal job offer in writing.

That way you can properly review the finer details and be sure about exactly what the job offer includes.

When you receive the offer in writing, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask the employer for a few days to review and consider it.

And here’s why:

When you ask for time to consider the offer, let the employer know when you will get back to them with your answer, and make sure you stick to this timeline.

Giving yourself a few days to review the job offer is important for a number of other reasons too:

Does the offer fit with your goals?

Firstly, you will give yourself time to review the finer details of the job offer and make a considered decision. Once you have the job offer in writing, take time to read through the details thoroughly.

This doesn’t mean just looking at the salary on offer, but also look through the terms and conditions of the contract, including all and any fine print.


You want to make sure that you’re committing yourself to a job and a career that aligns with your long term goals and your lifestyle, and that you don’t accept a new job that won’t work with your personal aims.

Get a second opinion

By asking for a few days to review the offer, you also give yourself the opportunity to speak to other people and get their thoughts, such as a spouse or family member.

In many cases, the job that you perform has an impact on those around you, so they will likely want to have an input into your decision anyway.

Another option for getting the advice of others is to speak to a career mentor (if you have one) or someone you trust in a professional capacity.

It can often be very useful to get the opinions of a someone who is removed from the process, and not emotionally involved in the same way that a spouse or family member would be.

A career mentor or professional contact can be much more impartial, and can help you consider things that perhaps you hadn’t previously considered.

Keep your alternatives in mind

It’s also possible that you have been applying and interviewing for other jobs at the same time, and you may be waiting to hear if you get an offer for another job that you prefer.

Asking for a few days to consider your first job offer buys you some time to see if you get any other offers too.

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2. Perform a salary comparison exercise

For most people, the salary being offered is one of the most important factors to consider when reviewing a job offer.

To make sure you get a salary that you feel you deserve and that is in line with the job you will be doing, you need to know what the industry norm is.

To know this, you will need to do some research.

In fact:

This is something you should be doing near the start of your job search, way before receiving a job offer. If you haven’t already done this research, do it now!

If you have already done it, now is a good time to refresh it to make sure you have accurate and recent information at your fingertips.

Spend time looking at job adverts for other similar jobs to get an idea of the salaries on offer at other companies. Try to find jobs that are of a similar level of seniority, with similar responsibilities.

There are a couple of factors you need to consider in order to get a fair and accurate comparison though…

Industry differences

Consider the industry you work in and what the normal ranges are, as there can be variations between similar jobs in different industries.

For example, a job in the private sector can often pay more than a similar job in the public sector.

Geographical variations

There are also often geographical differences that you should factor into your comparison.

For example, a job in a capital city will probably have a higher salary than a similar job in a smaller town, due to the difference in cost of living between the two places.

Overall package

You also need to be careful when performing your salary comparison exercise as every job has different overall packages that offer other benefits as well as a basic salary, such as bonuses, pensions, health insurance, and so on.

Without getting bogged down in too much detail and analysis, try to put a monetary value on each of the wider benefits.

This can help you understand the value of the overall packages out there, and how they compare against the package that you’ve been offered.

With this information, establish a salary range that you would be happy with, including a lower end figure that you would not be happy going below.

This should be your absolute limit.

If you accept a role with a salary below this figure you will not be happy and you will no doubt be on the lookout for another role straight away.

Compare this with your current offer to establish whether you have a decent offer that you are happy to accept, or whether you need to do some negotiating.

3. Consider the wider benefits on offer

Whilst salary is an important factor to consider, so too are the wider benefits such as annual leave entitlement, pension, bonus, sick pay, medical benefits, maternity / paternity leave, company car, etc.

Read through the details of these wider benefits carefully to understand exactly what is on offer and how this compares to your expectations.

We’ve already considered the monetary value of these in our salary comparisons, but we’re talking now about the impact of these benefits on our lifestyle and our priorities.

Consider what you’re willing to compromise on

You may be willing to make a compromise on your overall package.

For example, some people are more motivated by a greater annual leave entitlement than a salary, so it works for them to have a package tailored that way. Other people prefer to have a larger salary and are content with less annual leave.

Family circumstances often play a big part in these choices, so consider what’s important to you and if the package on offer reflects that.


If there is anything in the contract that is a deal breaker for you, it’s better that you recognise this early on.

You can either renegotiate the deal or decline the offer, both of which are better than accepting an offer with terms that don’t really suit you that you end up regretting later down the line.

If there are terms relating to your benefits that you are not happy with, or you would like new terms adding to the offer, you need to consider how you will justify these changes to your employer – more on that soon.

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4. Think ahead – what are your exit options?

Another important factor to consider when reviewing a job offer is the exit options. You want job security, and at the same time you also want flexibility at the time of your exit, so take a look at the contract termination terms for both you and the employer.

Depending on your circumstances, you may want a certain notice period that your employer needs to give you in order to terminate the contract.

For some people, it is often a good idea to have this notice period as long as possible so that – in the event that your employer terminates the contract – you have as long as possible to find a new job.

Conversely, other people may want a short notice period. This gives you flexibility in the future should you wish to leave the company for a new job.

Why is this important?

Some companies are willing to wait for a good candidate to finish their notice period with their previous employer.

However, there are instances where a company needs a role filling and they cannot wait the 3 or 6 months that you need to serve as part of your notice period.

Whilst it shouldn’t, having a lengthy notice period can sometimes be a disadvantage to you when you look for your next role. Generally speaking, the more senior a role is the longer the notice period is.

It is not uncommon for senior manager or director level positions to have a 6 month notice period. This is because it gives the company a good amount of time to find a replacement for a key leader, should they decide to leave.

More junior roles tend to have shorter notice periods, and temporary or seasonal roles may have no notice period at all.

5. Getting down to negotiations

Ok, so you’ve reviewed details of your job offer carefully, you’ve done your salary comparison exercise, you’ve considered the wider benefits, and you’ve thought about your future exit options.

If you’re not happy with the original offer, you should not reject it just yet. Instead, you should respond with a counter offer to the employer to improve your terms.

Negotiating a job offer is a delicate exercise, as you want to get the best package you can without unnecessarily annoying your new employer before you’ve even started, or blowing the deal altogether.

The good news is this:

The employer likes you.

They just offered you a job after all – so you are starting in a good negotiating position. However, with the wrong negotiating approach you can quickly erode all the good work you have done in the interview process building yourself a good reputation.

And remember, there were probably a lot of other candidates for the role, and you have no idea how close the call was when selecting you over the others.

There may be another candidate that the employer has lined up as a second option in the event that you turn them down or make unreasonable demands in your negotiations.

Justify your requests

So, when you start negotiating you need to be very clear about what aspects of the offer you would like reviewing.

Crucially, you need to explain why you deserve a better offer.

If you cannot adequately explain why you deserve a 20% salary increase from the original offer, or why they should let you work from home one day a week, or what ever other changes you are asking for, then you just sound unreasonable in your request.

This means you will be unlikely to have your demands met, and you will also damage the good impression that your employer has of you.

This is where your research comes in.

If you’re requesting a higher salary,you can use facts and evidence from your salary comparison exercise to justify why you’re asking for the increase and to support your position.

If you’re requesting flexibility about working from home occasionally, for example, explain that the time you save on your normal commute to work can be used for work instead.

Whatever you’re asking for, explain to your employer why they should give it to you.

Negotiate with integrity

A common tactic in negotiating a job offer is to explain that you have other options available.

However, this tactic can often back fire if not used correctly. If the employer thinks that you may still walk away from a deal even if they meet your additional requests, why should they waste time and effort negotiating with you at all?

When you present your requests, make it clear that if they are met then you will accept the role.

This sets out your position nice and clearly for the employer, and they know that if they can meet your requests there is a deal to be done.

And of course, if your employer does come back to you with everything you’ve asked for, then you should accept. Whatever you do, do not push your luck by then asking for more.

This will undermine any trust between you and your employer.

Do you really need to negotiate?

It’s definitely worth noting that you shouldn’t just negotiate for the sake of negotiating.

If the job offer that you have been made meets all your requirements then it may be worth simply accepting it. You can even explain this when accepting the offer, which demonstrates that you’re fair in your negotiations and that you’re not greedy.

This may even stand you in good stead further down the line, during your next negotiation with the company, at which point you can highlight this example of integrity which may help with your new negotiation.

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6. Declining an offer

If, after trying to negotiate a job offer to include terms that you’re happy with, you are still not comfortable then you may feel that you need to decline the job offer.

This is a tough decision to make, as you may really need a job, or this may be the dream job in your perfect industry or company. But it may be the best decision you can make.

By accepting an offer that you’re not happy with, you would be starting your new job in a negative state of mind, and would not be totally committed.

In fact, you will still probably be looking for another job right from day one, and this is not a good situation for you or your employer.

When declining an offer, always remember that you still want to leave the employer with a positive impression of you. At some stage in the future you might want to work for the company.

Or the employer might have contacts in other companies that you apply for, so you don’t want to upset them.

So when you decline the offer, you should simply explain that – after reviewing the details of the offer – they do not seem a good fit with what you’re looking for at this time.

Be sure to thank them for making the offer, and then get back to business with your job search.

How to negotiate a job offer: Summary

So there you have it – our advice on how to negotiate a job offer.

We hope you found it useful and that one day it will help you negotiate the best deal possible when you accept a new job offer.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions on how to negotiate a job offer that would be useful to our readers then please do leave a comment below.

Also, if you think this article would be useful for other people then please do share it.