Two men sit opposite each other, fighting with their hands. They both look very focused and ready to win the battle. Illustration of a salary negotiation.We live in a world of supply and demand. The salary they will pay you depends on both the market situation, and your negotiation skills.

Some employers will ask you to make a first offer, which is obviously the most difficult situation for you.

If it is a case, say exactly how much you would like to earn on the position. The employer has absolutely no reason to offer you more than what you ask for. If you say $35,000, they will give you that much, or less (never more).

Woman tries to make a good counter offer, to get a better salary. She uses all her weapons to succeed, but the HR manager seems to not accept her proposal.

Employer makes the first offer – and you can counter

This situation is much better for you, and several scenarios can transpire:

  • They offer you more than you expected. That’s great! Accept the offer and everyone will be happy.
  • The salary offer from the employer is exactly what you expected. Good situation again. You will get what you want.
  • The offer is lower than you expected. That’s the case for a counter offer, and you should know how to make it.


Making a salary counter offer

A common scene from a job inteview - applicant talks, and the interviewer listens. We can see a picture of a busy town on the wall behind the job applicant.

Rule of a thumb doesn’t exist when we speak about salary negotiation. Logically, you can not ask twice as much as the employer is offering. They will never accept that.

What is more, if they really want to hire you, they will be serious with you.  They will not offer you 50% or 70% of what they are willing to pay, because they want you in their team, and won’t risk your refusal. They will offer at least 85% of the maximum they can (or think they can) pay you.

Logically, you should ask for what they offer plus 10-20 percent extra. Any other request will be rejected, unless you apply for a very specific position (and they could hardly find another person for the job). Only in this case you can try getting 30% more.


Back-up your claims

You should not just say how much you want, you should say why you want that much. Statistics about an average salary for that position (from a reputable online source, such as can help you to justify your claims.

Alternatively you can show the employer your paycheck from the last job (if you were earning more in your last job), and say you do not want to downgrade.



  • Be prepared. Research the average salaries and always have a good reason for your counter offer.
  • Never ask for more than 25% extra to their initial offer. If the employer is serious with you, their first offer will be at least 80% of the maximum they are willing to pay you.
  • Always keep your present situation on your mind. If this is the only interview you have had in the last six months, it will be risky to make a counter offer asking 20% more. Make a modest offer, or accept what they offer you. Once you prove your abilities in job, you can always ask for a raise…

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