How to Navigate Negotiating a Job Counteroffer

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    You’re finally ready to jump from your current position to a new job offer and have made it through the process of dusting off your resume and sitting through hours of tough interviews. You’ve landed a sweet gig that’ll give you a new challenge and that extra time off for that trip to Hawaii you’ve been planning – not to mention help pay for it.

    You’re all set to ride off into the sunset…or so you think. What do you do when your current employer approaches you with a job counteroffer that’s worth entertaining? And how do you know when to accept the initial offer or to start a salary counteroffer?

    According to ZipRecruiter, nearly 50% of employers have made a counter offer of significantly higher salary to keep an employee on staff. This counteroffer tactic shows that employers know a great employee when they see one, and are willing to pay more to retain them.

    ZipRecruiter is the #1 job site in the US and has salary data for from 7.5 million jobs. Use their comprehensive salary data to help you better negotiate a job counteroffer!

    How to Negotiate a Counteroffer with Your Current Employer

    woman and man shaking hands with text that reads how to negotiate a job counteroffer successfullyWhen you receive your job counteroffer letter, it’s essential to consider if you have a good reason to stay. If so, then it’s in your best interest to negotiate a counteroffer to get the best salary offer possible. A salary increase isn’t the only reason to stay (or go). Other factors like a new role or career changes and progression are important to consider as well.

    Step 1: Use research to build a case to support your negotiation.

    Using your research from your recent job search, begin building your job counteroffer negotiations. Start by focusing on facts instead of emotions by pulling the following information together:

    • List your current role responsibilities and how you’re excelling at them to show how you’re a valuable employee.
    • Give specific examples of how you’ve supported team members and helped complete critical goals and projects.
    • Pull together statistics on pay for your current job, including any bonuses, signing fees, etc. Use sites like,, or to find current salary information.

    Step 2: Make sure your comparisons are accurate.

    When comparing your new gig to your current job’s competing offer, you must be comparing apples to apples. Make sure you’re taking all aspects of what each company is offering you into perspective. Some things to take into consideration are:

    • Salary
    • Benefits
    • Your hiring manager / current boss
    • Coworkers
    • Company culture
    • Your career development long term
    • Better work-life balance

    Step 3: Decide what you need to stay.

    Chances are, you weren’t looking for a new job because you decided that the pay wasn’t enough. There’s most likely an underlying issue, such as not feeling like you’re on the correct career path or having a demanding boss.

    When negotiating your counteroffer, use this information to help create a new position at your current company that makes you want to stay. Talk to them about where you want to go and how you can work together to get there. Your response can involve anything from a change in responsibilities to a new title.

    Step 4: Use the original offer at the new company to start negotiations.

    You are not obligated to tell your current employer what the new company has offered you. However, it can be a great tool to leverage a better job title or more compensation – but only if you’re comfortable sharing this information.

    As ZipRecruiter’s CEO Ian Siegel stated, “Remember, the people from your former jobs are the ones most likely to get you your next one. Do not burn bridges here by negotiating in bad faith.” Don’t bluff your way through negotiations or say or do things that you’re unwilling to back up with hard work.

    Remember, it’s not always about the money. If the company can’t give you enough money, consider asking for more benefits, such as additional vacation time, a better offer on a 401k match, or a company car. Ensure that the offered benefits are ones that you want and will use to make staying worth your while.

    Do I tell the new employer about the counteroffer?

    You could use the counteroffer to leverage more gains from the new company, but be extremely careful using a tactic like this. At this point, it would more likely damage your reputation than gain you much more than you’ve been offered. The new employer only knows you from the interview process, so they’re not vested in you or your career. Tread carefully if using this tactic; otherwise, wait until you decide to take the job counteroffer before informing the new employer.

    Step 5. Send in your negotiation requests altogether rather than in chunks.

    Remember, the key is to be professional. Negotiating a job counteroffer is about proving that you’re worth keeping on board, and being professional and polite is vital.

    Step 6: Once accepted, graciously turn down the other offer.

    Whether you ultimately accept the offer at the prospective employer or current one, be gracious to everyone at both companies and leave on good terms. You mustn’t damage your reputation by burning bridges or stomping on future networking opportunities.

    The Don’ts of Negotiating

    Negotiations can be tricky, so here are some great tips on what not to do:

    • Don’t be too aggressive. It’s an easy way to burn bridges and shut down negotiations completely.
    • Don’t try to use emotion to negotiate. Focus on facts and research to back up your statements.
    • Don’t ask for less than you want or take a lower salary than you’re expecting. You’ll be miserable and won’t stay long after the glory of a nice raise wears off.
    • Don’t stay if extra money or better benefits won’t fix underlying issues at the company or your team. If there are more significant issues afoot, money is a a short term band-aid that won’t fix why you were leaving in the first place.
    • Don’t accept an offer with benefits that aren’t important to you. Don’t be afraid to ask to drop one benefit in favor of another that better suits your lifestyle.

    Remember, only you can determine what’s an appropriate counteroffer for a job. You’re the one who has to be there doing the work, so it’s up to you to decide what’s worthwhile enough to make you stay.

    Is it a Good Idea to Accept a Counteroffer?

    Still wondering if you should accept a counteroffer from a current employer or not? Again, every situation is different, and ultimately it’s up to you to decide what makes sense.

    A counteroffer statistic from says that 9 out of 10 candidates will begin job hunting within 12 months after receiving a counteroffer. While that doesn’t bode well for accepting an employer counteroffer after resignation, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to quit either way. Again, each situation is different and needs a case per case analysis to make the right decision.

    Now that you know how to handle a job counteroffer from your current employer make sure to use that extra income to pay off debt, budget better, and help you reach all your financial goals!

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    A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More

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