I have received a salary offer from a company that I am very interested in working for. However the salary is only just over half my expected salary for my education level, though I am still interested in working for them.

I have direct experience and very relevant knowledge relating to the project I would be initially working, but otherwise not a huge amount of experience overall.

It is initially project work, with a six months contract

I am very un-used to bargaining in regards to payment for work and wonder now that I see the employers salary offering range should I counter offer with something above my reduced expectation or equal to it? For example, if my target is 30k should I counter with 30k or 35k?

  • 5
    See also this question for a lot of tips
    – enderland
    Mar 1, 2013 at 15:33
  • 4
    @enderland I'm not positive that it is a duplicate of that question, as it doesn't seem to contain the answer to this question. I think Toby is asking specifically about if he should go in with his initial offer, or go in with a higher offer and "negotiate" down to his initial offer. There may be a duplicate somewhere on this site about that, but I don't think it's the question you linked
    – Rachel
    Mar 1, 2013 at 15:37
  • 2
    @Rachel - The linked question covers the same topic. This question can not be answered with out getting into many specifics that would make the question too localized. The general how can i effectively negotiate is the best place to direct the OP. Mar 1, 2013 at 15:55
  • 1
    @Chad In addition to the linked question not asking about the same scenario, it doesn't actually contain an answer addressing this specific part of the negotiation process (If you should ask for your desired salary when facing a low offer, or a higher salary to "negotiate" down to your desired salary). Personally I'm very interested in the answer myself, and don't see it anywhere in the linked question. I think this would be a good question to have answered separately on the site.
    – Rachel
    Mar 1, 2013 at 16:09
  • 2
    Indeed the linked Q's are helpful but are more pointed at what amount to decide to ask for, rather than how to ask for it so that you reach the intended target. I understand there are a lot of salary negotiation Q's already and I did read quite a lot before posting but still feel as outlined on the direction of this Q
    – Toby
    Mar 1, 2013 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


It's easier to negotiate when you've decided what you want relative to the job market you're in and what is the lowest you'll settle. Usually, I base the lowest I'll settle on a particular job and consider other benefits, perks, length of commute, room for advancement, or some sort of personal satisfaction gained from working for this particular company.

You can get better at negotiating if you practice. Working out a strategy is part of it. Also, try to identify what is really important to the person doing the hiring. I took a lower offer once, but requested my evaluation occur in 3 months instead of the company standard 6 (There is a strong potential to give a raise at this time.). For some reason this would create a problem with HR, so they just gave me more money. Interesting because they stressed that the salary posted was firm. Everything is negotiable, so don't be afraid to play the game.


You have to decide on two numbers: One, how much pay you would like to get. Two, what is the minimum that you would accept. If you would like to get 35k but you would consider 30k, then you ask for 35k.

Now it seems their offer was considerably lower, maybe 20k. There are three possibilities: One, they made a ridiculously low offer. Two, you are very much overestimating your value. Three, they are advertising a position and expect a beginner worth 20k, while you are much better and worth 30k-35k. In the second case, you've lost.

In the first case, you tell them that they won't find anyone for that money, because their offer is too low. In the third case, you need to convince them that they are better off paying 35k for someone worth 35k, then paying 20k for someone else who is worth 20k. If you can't convince them, you lost.

If you can convince them that a better offer is needed, then putting 35k into the room, with confidence, is a good start. You need to portray with confidence that you are worth 35k. (And we don't always get what we want or what we are worth, so the offer may be a bit less).

Don't be disappointed if their answer to 35k is "no" and they don't even consider negotiating. In that case you know you won't get your minimum of 30k, so nothing was lost. If they negotiate then you take what you can get as long as it is at least your minimum.

  • if you want 35 always start higher say 40-42 Feb 4, 2017 at 0:00
  • 4
    I would like all the money in the world. I will accept considerably less.
    – emory
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:07
  • @Neuromancer: I say what I want, with a thoroughly confident knowledge that I'm worth it, and I get it. "We don't have that money" -> well, tough for you. "We want to pay less than you're worth" -> well, tough for you as well. If I ask for more than I want I can't pull that off.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 5, 2017 at 1:57
  • @gnasher729 so why are you not negotiating they may be will to pay more that you think your worth Feb 5, 2017 at 12:42

During negotiating, please do not forget total compensation. They may be stuck in a salary band, but PTO may be more open. Also, how does their benefits stack up against other companies in the area? Will this be a 9-5 job or weekend work? All this is to be considered.

  • I don't understand the downvote on this. It's not always about money.
    – DLS3141
    Jul 13, 2017 at 18:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .