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Dream Job: Ultimate Guide to Mastering the Art of Countering an Offer

When a future employer extends a job offer, it signifies that they value your skills and experience. This is the time you have leverage in a negotiation. And it's essential to remember that the initial offer presented is rarely set in stone. In fact, it's the starting point for a negotiation which can ultimately lead to a fantastic compensation package.

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Photo by Marten Newhall Unsplash

Where are you right now?

Before countering an offer, you must first understand the following -

How much do you need this job?

Assessing Your Passion, Finances, and Long-term Goals

Ask yourself not only how much you want this job but also whether it aligns with your long-term career aspirations. Consider the following:

Personal Fulfillment

Beyond financial considerations, evaluate whether this job aligns with your personal values and passions. A job that resonates with your interests and values can bring more than just financial rewards.

Financial Obligations

It's a reality that financial obligations and bills often dictate our decisions, including our career choices. Assess your current financial situation. How stable are your finances, and how much of an impact does this job offer have on your financial security? Knowing the extent to which this job can alleviate or exacerbate financial stress is crucial in determining your leverage.

Career Alignment

Reflect on how this job fits into your overall career trajectory. Does it provide valuable experience or expertise that will propel you closer to your long-term goals?

Calculating Your Desired Salary

One of the most critical aspects of countering an offer is knowing your desired salary. This figure should be well-researched, realistic, and in line with your qualifications, experience, and the industry standards. Check in with your network to get a sense of where this number should be.

Exploring Creative Solutions

Beyond a simple salary increase, consider alternative benefits or perks that can be equivalent to your desired salary. This could encompass flexible work arrangements, performance-based bonuses, stock options, or additional paid time off.

Discover uncommon compensation extras to help achieve your desired salary -

Having an Option B

Negotiations might not always go as planned, or the offer may be withdrawn. In such scenarios, it's essential to be prepared with an alternative plan. Consider your walk-away point and when you'd be willing to accept the terms as offered.

Countering an Offer

Express Gratitude and Enthusiasm

Begin your negotiation on a positive note by expressing sincere gratitude for the offer. Make it clear that you're excited about the opportunity.

Script: "Thank you for extending this offer. I'm genuinely excited about the opportunity to join your team."

Take Your Time

It's perfectly acceptable to request time to evaluate the offer thoroughly. Generally, 48 hours is a reasonable timeframe. This time allows you to gather your thoughts, conduct additional research, and compose a thoughtful counterproposal.

Important to note, even when a job offer exceeds your expectations, it's beneficial to take the time to consider it thoroughly.


Things that come too easily or quickly tend to be undervalued. By taking the time to evaluate the offer, you demonstrate to your potential employer that you don't take the decision lightly. This can help ensure that the employer doesn't perceive your agreement as too easy or rushed.

the Conversation

When you're ready, reach out to the employer to initiate the negotiation process. Whenever possible, opt for in-person meetings, phone calls, or video conferences like Zoom over email, as these allow for real-time dialogue and minimize the risk of miscommunication.

Script: "I've had the chance to review the offer, and I appreciate it. I'd like to discuss some aspects further to ensure we're both satisfied with the terms."

Be Clear and Concise

When presenting your counteroffer, be direct and concise. Avoid lengthy justifications or unnecessary explanations.

Script: "While I'm excited about the role, I need my salary to be $X to align with my experience and industry standards."

Silence as a Negotiation Tactic

After delivering your counteroffer, allow some silence. This can be an incredibly powerful negotiation tactic. Resist the urge to fill the silence with unnecessary chatter.

Flexibility and Further Discussion

Be open to discussing your counteroffer further. The employer may have questions or require clarification. Be willing to negotiate and explore compromises.

Script: "I understand that this might be a significant change. I'm open to discussing how we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement."

Negotiating Beyond Salary

Consider other aspects of the offer, such as bonuses, stock options, retirement plans, healthcare benefits, and flexible work arrangements. Be prepared to negotiate these elements to create a more well-rounded package.

Script: "In addition to salary, I'd like to discuss the possibility of additional paid time off and a performance-based bonus structure."

Strategies for Planning and Managing Outcomes

Preparing for Alternatives

If the employer can't meet your salary request, consider what other benefits or perks you'd be willing to negotiate. Prepare a list of these alternatives.

Script: "If adjusting the salary is challenging, perhaps we could explore additional vacation days or professional development opportunities."

Handling Rejection

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your counteroffer may be rejected. The next steps will depend on your unique circumstances. If you're currently unemployed, you might consider accepting the initial offer. However, if you have other viable options, you can decide whether to stand firm or walk away.

Script (if accepting the initial offer): "I appreciate your consideration, and I'm excited to accept the offer under the terms initially presented."

Script (if considering other options): "I understand your perspective. I'll need some time to think about this and decide how I want to proceed."

Maintaining Professionalism

Regardless of the negotiation outcome, maintain professionalism throughout the process. Continue to express gratitude and respect for the employer's time and consideration. Your interactions will leave a lasting impression, which could influence future opportunities.

Script (if declining the offer): "I want to thank you for the time and effort you've put into this process. While I won't be accepting the offer, I'm grateful for the opportunity to connect with your organization."

If you find yourself in need of expert guidance and support for countering an offer, you may want to consider investing in the career catalyst bundle that includes a bonus coaching session.

There is also the free audio training to give you a step-by-step negotiation blueprint if you want to arm yourself prior to a job offer discussion.

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