Negotiate Salary With a Counter Offer Email (Examples)

counter offer letter email

When you get a job offer, it will come in two forms. An email or formal offer letter of employment. But what if you want a higher salary? Counter offer letters, counter offer emails, and general salary negotiation communication can take place.

But how do you write these? And which method is better to use? A counter offer email or a counter offer letter?

This writeup is going to answer these questions and many more that you might have as a job seeker who is looking to ensure their financial future.

Before we jump in, let’s first understand what a counter offer is and what a counter offer proposal letter is.

What is a Counter Offer?

When a job seeker receives a job offer it comes through in either an email format or in a formal letter of employment. Both of these methods contain information regarding what the employer expects to pay the job seekers in terms of annual salary.

When you, the job seeker, isn’t pleased with the original offer you may ask the employer to reconsider the original offer with a higher sum. This could be considered a counter offer.

What is a Counter Offer Letter?

A counter offer letter is a formal letter where you, the job seeker, is responding to a formal job offer asking for higher compensation. These letters outline why you feel a higher salary sum may be more appropriate for you.

These letters often contain supportive stats and insights that the employer may not have known about to help support why you feel your counter offer for salary is justified.

What Amount Should is Appropriate to Counter With?

If you’re trying to determine how much of an increase to the salary you should be asking for in your counter offer, first consider the average market rate for your position or job title across the U.S.

Websites such as PayScale and Salary.com can be helpful in determining what the average national salary is for your job title based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Though, this may not always be the way you should benchmark what you should make in terms of salary compensation. If you have very little experience, you might be okay with a figure that’s below average market rate.

If you have a significant amount of experience, you might ask for a salary figure that’s higher than average market rate in the U.S. The primary way to judge what your salary should be is based on your prior work experience compared to the average experience in the market (meaning, the average expected experience in your same job title).

Here are some general rules of thumb when asking for additional salary.

Asking for a 5% increase in overall salary. When asking for a 5% bump in your base salary compensation, you have a high likelihood of receiving it. As long as your job interviews were strong, asking for a 5% increase is easy street.

Asking for a 10% to 15% increase in overall salary. There’s no harm in asking for this. Though, your employer might not give it to you. Past the 10% mark, you become a greater expense to the business. Keep in mind, employment taxes make it expensive to have your employer keep you staffed.

Asking for a 20% increase in overall salary. There’s a very small chance that your employer will want to provide you this. You can certainly ask. But a 20% hike is steep. In fact, most average pay raises are 5% to 12% at most. Meaning, your employer's chances of feeling comfortable with this hike are going to be slim. You may want to consider looking for other positions at this point.

Can You Lose a Job Offer by Negotiating Salary?

This is a common question asked by job seekers, “Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary?” The answer is no. You cannot. Unless you decide to negotiate salary in an abrupt, abrasive and unprofessional way.

Showing appreciation for all job offers that you receive is what will ensure your future employer doesn’t decide to rescind their original job offer, which can happen.

Keep your communication professional and with high degrees of business etiquette when discussing job offers and salary. Use our examples in this writeup in order to get a better understanding of how to negotiate if this is something unfamiliar to you.

Methods for Sending a Counter Offer

There are two primary methods for sending a counter offer when it comes to salary. The methods are:

It’s no longer recommended to send a formal printed letter. It will take too long. And your employer won’t look kindly upon the fact that you took this long to respond to their offer letter.

Email, at least in 2019 and now into 2020, is absolutely recommended. It is a much faster form of communicating with your employer. Which saves them time and money during the hiring process.

Counter Offer Letter Best Practices

These guidelines can help ensure that your communication with your employer is well received and made with professionalism and business etiquette.

Keep your message short. It’s best not to try to and “beg” or overly support your reasoning for your increase in salary. Keep your message simple, straight forward, to the point, and with little to no emotion. Remember, your future employer is not making a personal action against you. This may simply be the only amount of budget they have for this position. Keep emotion out of your discussions.

Communicate clearly and without demands. Don’t create demands. Simply ask for additional salary and state why you feel that’s fair. Then move on. Don’t demand it.

Always be polite. This can’t be said enough. But show your appreciation for the offer you received. This will prevent the opportunity for the employer to rescind their original offer if they feel like you aren’t appreciative of the first offer.

Use previous work history or statistics if you need to. If you feel like your employer isn’t properly evaluating your worth, then support your reasons with some prior work examples or achievements that support why you’re worth more than they originally thought.

Be punctual. Poor grammar doesn’t speak to professionalism. Try to keep your message punctual, with little to no spelling errors and great grammar.

Consider asking about other benefits. If you don’t want to broach the discussion of salary. Then consider asking about additional benefits that you might not have been aware of. Employee benefits are often a form of compensation. And that may change your perspective about base salary.

Counter Offer Email Example

Below is an example counter offer email where you are asking for a 5% increase. Keep in mind, a 5% increase is very likely. And most employers will expect you to counter from their original offer. If you want 5%, use the simple email below.

Dear John —

First, I want to thank you for the offer of employment. I am absolutely honored to get the opportunity to work with your company. It would be a pleasure to be able to sit with the team on a daily basis.

Regarding the proposed salary compensation, would it be possible to increase the base salary amount by 5% to $X?

Thank you so much John,
Steve

If Your Counter is Higher Than 5% Email

Below is an example where you are asking for more than a 5% increase in base salary.

Dear John —

First, I want to thank you for the offer of employment. I am absolutely honored to get the opportunity to work with your company. It would be a pleasure to be able to sit with the team on a daily basis.

Regarding your proposed salary compensation, I wanted to bring light to a few more areas where I might be able to provide value to your business:

  • In my prior experience I hired more than 18 new Software Engineers. And I would be interested and expected to hire under your company.
  • In my prior experience I was able to increase overall sales revenue. I would be interested and expected to perform at this same caliber.
With that in mind, I am curious if a 10% increase in base compensation to $X is possible?

Thank you so much John,
Steve

Counter Offer Email Subject Lines

When choosing a subject line, it is always best to keep it simple. If your future employer sent your job offer through email, it’s best to reply to that email versus starting a new email thread for your discussion.

But if they sent your original job offer by printed paper or maybe as part of a group email thread, you might want to start a new line of discussion.

When doing so, pick one of these subject lines:

Job Seeker FAQ's

Questions that job seekers have about writing and delivering a counteroffer letter.

Which is better a counter offer letter or counter offer email?

Sending a written letter is very unlikely to happen in today's current atmosphere. Your hiring manager is going to want to know what you think of the salary offer much sooner than you think. This goes for any additional form of counter-offer letters like a counter proposal letter, counter letter, or job letter that speaks to salary. When discussing salary, your employer will want to know what you think of the initial offer quite quickly.

How should I approach a counter proposal?

The basic rule of them when thinking about the negotiation of your salary is to add 5% to whatever the initial offer was. Not 5% of the base salary but 5% on top of what the offer letter described your total package compensation was. Most employers will agree to that. Be sure that you read through the entire job offer before you decide to make a counteroffer. There may be benefits within the compensation package that your employer is considering, like a signing bonus or special privileges. From there, you should be able to get to the final offer.

What if I was offered a much lower salary than I was expecting?

As a job candidate, this happens. Unfortunately, if the employer didn't get within your desired salary range, you may need to walk away and consider another offer or a new job. This is a normal part of the process. It can be disappointing but is a reality.

Should I send an acceptance letter once my employer has received the salary counter offer and accepted it?

If you are having a discussion with your potential employer or current employer by email about the salary and compensation package, you don't need to send a letter. You should simply accept the position by email. You'll know when the time is ready since the hiring manager or HR team member will respond to your initial salary negotiation email and let you know that they've accepted your counter.

What if this is a process of accepting a new job proposal by a current employer, is any part of the process different?

No. It doesn't matter if this is a prospective employer and you're having discussions as a job applicant. Or if you're having discussions as a current employee. The process is going to be the same. You'll be speaking with a Human Resources staff member and discussing compensation. Ideally, the new role that you're speaking about has a salary increase. In both of these instances, the email example above should be sufficient, and you will not need to write a counter offer letter for your job offer.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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