Is It OK To Negotiate Salary After Accepting A Job?

Negotiating salary is often one of the steps involved in landing a new job. Unfortunately, out of the excitement of receiving an offer, you may rush to accept the job without negotiating.

After accepting a job offer, you no longer have any leverage to negotiate a higher salary. You may even risk losing the job if you do. Yet, there are one or two situations when negotiating after accepting a job may work to your advantage.

Negotiating salary immediately after accepting a job offer is rarely advisable. However, if the responsibilities of the job have changed, the employee may have a viable reason to request a pay rise. For example, an employer may assign more duties to the accepted position which increases the employee’s workload and the right to reasonable compensation.

If the job is not as described in the offer, you may want to consider renegotiating the salary. Outside of these limited circumstances, you should wait for the appropriate time to negotiate a raise or additional benefits.

Instead of negotiating after accepting a job offer, you should understand the most proper times to negotiate compensation. There are also right and wrong ways to ask for more money. 

In this article, we explain the best practices for negotiating salary and benefits, such as:

  •       When to negotiate salary increases
  •       When not to negotiate salary
  •       How to determine your value to the company

Do you negotiate salary before or after the job offer?

The traditional recommendation is to negotiate salary after receiving an offer but before accepting the job. A job offer is an offer for future employment. It typically includes the terms of the job contract, such as:

  •       Salary
  •       Benefits
  •       Job title
  •       Job responsibilities

The salary and benefits described in the job offer are not set in stone. You can negotiate better terms. However, you need to negotiate before accepting the offer.

Keep in mind that negotiation is less common in early career and mid-level job offers. Many lower-level jobs come with standard benefits and predetermined starting salaries.

If you are seeking an executive position or managerial job with negotiable terms, making a counteroffer is not unusual. Employees can make a counteroffer immediately after receiving the offer, or within a few days, but should act quickly to increase the chances of a successful negotiation.

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How do you negotiate a higher starting salary?

Negotiating a higher starting salary can be intimidating, especially if you have never negotiated the terms of a job offer before. Here are a few tips for getting what you want:

  •       Focus on one or two details you want to change
  •       Back up the reasons for the changes to the offer
  •       Practice explaining your justifications for a higher salary
  •       Remain flexible when considering the response to your counteroffer

Start by deciding what details you want the employer to change before you accept the offer. For example, along with a higher salary, you may want additional time off each year or the option to work from home several days per month. Instead of negotiating a long list of changes, focus on just one or two things you want to improve in the offer.

You should also be able to provide reasons for the changes that you propose. If you request a larger salary, explain why you deserve it. Researching the salary and benefits of comparable jobs at other companies may help justify your requests.

For example, you may find that the proposed salary is lower than the industry average. You can use this information to support your request for higher pay.

After deciding what you want out of the job offer and the reasons why the employer should agree, practice negotiating. Get a friend or family member to act as the employer as you practice explaining why you deserve more money.

After you present your counteroffer, the employer may accept or deny your terms. If you want to avoid losing out on the job, you should remain flexible. You may find terms that you and the employer can agree on a happy middle ground.

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How much should you counteroffer during salary negotiations?

You want to avoid asking for too much of a salary increase. It is important to have realistic expectations. You cannot expect an employer to pay you significantly more than the average for a job.

A general rule is to counter with an offer that is 10% to 20% compared to the initial offer. If the employer offers a salary of $100,000, you may request a salary of $110,000 to $120,000 without pushing too hard.

You should also research the company to ensure that they can meet your demands. If the company is experiencing hard financial times, they may be less willing to go much higher during negotiations.

Negotiating for a higher salary is not always an option. Instead of requesting a larger salary, you can request more benefits. Negotiating for more paid time off, health benefits, and other perks can make the job more worthwhile without requiring you to fight for more pay.

Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary?

Employers have no obligation to hire you if you disagree with the terms of a job offer. An employer may rescind an offer for any reason, including high salary demands.

Most states have ‘at-will’ employment laws. These laws allow employers to terminate employees at any time and without reason. ‘At-will’ laws typically apply to job offers as well. However, job candidates have occasionally successfully sued companies for rescinding offers.

Some states consider a job to offer a promise of employment. Breaking a promise of employment could give a job applicant cause to sue.

Requesting an unreasonably high salary may result in the loss of a job offer. However, you still have the right to fair compensation. Job applicants should negotiate for a salary that they are comfortable with.

Closing notes

Is it OK to negotiate salary after accepting a job? Negotiating salary after accepting an offer is considered unprofessional. If you have already accepted the terms of the offer and then change your mind, you are likely to lose the job.

The best time to negotiate is after receiving the offer. You should try to counter within a few days or risk losing out on the job. When negotiating for a higher salary, it is also important to avoid asking for too much of an increase. Remain realistic with your expectations to increase your chances of a successful negotiation.

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