Final update

I negiotiated and got a much better offer: roughly 1/3 more than originally offered. Needless to say that I accepted - even gladly so. Thank you all very much for your inputs!

I have been offered a freelance position as a med-tech translator for a major US pharmaceutical company. They had asked me for my prices (as I worked as a freelance translator before) which I told them. They now sent me an e-mail with an offer I'm not quite happy with as the numbers are much lower.

Should I still try to negotiate or directly dismiss the offer? Are such offers seen as final in the US or is there still a way to talk about it?

Update Thanks for all your answer! I will send an e-mail and tell them that this amount is below my expectations and ask if there's any chance we can negotiate. I was mostly wondering if in US business culture I'm crossing any lines by doing so.

  • There is no such thing as "final offers", you can even accept the offer and change your mind next day :) – David Sergey Aug 31 '18 at 15:13
  • 3
    I would not "ask if there is any chance we can negotiate" -- I would start negotiating ("Thank you for your offer, however, I cannot do this work for this amount. I will require...") – cag51 Aug 31 '18 at 15:30

You can always negotiate. Worst case: you don't get the job and you are no worse off than dismissing the offer outright. Best case: you get both the job and the money you want


What's troubling is they asked for, and you provided, your salary requirements. Knowing your requirements, they then went on to offer you something much lower.

Like you, I always have a conversation about salary ranges prior to an interveiw. If my salary requirements aren't within the range the company is willing to pay, neither I nor the company have any interest in proceeding any further, because what's the point? They have a range they can pay, and I have an amount I need to earn.

If they acted in bad faith, i.e. they interviewed you under false pretenses knowing they were going to offer you less than your requirement, I would run away and be thankful you dodged a bullet. If they treat you like that as a candidate, how would they treat you as an employee?

On the other hand, it could just be they made an honest mistake. I would call them up and say something like "Hi, I received your offer, thanks. I noticed it's quite a bit lower than the figure we discussed earlier. The lowest amount I could accept would be $X. I would love to join your team if we could get to that number."

Their response will tell you a lot about them. If you end up having a negative experience, at least post something on Glassdoor so others can avoid the same fate.

  • Thank you for your answer! I do not think it was in any bad faith. I rather think that my contact (whom I know personally) took the numbers to his bosses and they told him what to tell me. However, it's an urgent project for them, so there might be room for negotiations. – Patric Hartmann Aug 31 '18 at 13:50
  • Are your salary requirements always non-negotiable? If you say you want $50 an hour, would you never accept $49? If so you are really unusual. Most people allow for some negotiation. – DJClayworth Aug 31 '18 at 14:54
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    I'd strongly suggest never mentioning the minimum you'd accept. A counteroffer is an anchor figure, and the company is likely to assume that the final figure will be between what you said and what they offered. Ask for more than the minimum you'd accept (but not ridiculously more) and allow them to talk you down. Don't let them talk you down too much. – David Thornley Aug 31 '18 at 15:16
  • When I suggested telling them the minimum you would accept, that may not really be the minimum you would accept, it's what you're telling them the minimum is to get you in the door. – RETXED Sep 11 '18 at 18:28
  • "If you say you want $50 an hour, would you never accept $49?" - Yes. but I would not say 50, I would say 55 though 50 is the bottom line. – TomTom Sep 17 '18 at 13:04

After receiving the offer is an excellent time to negotiate. They've made some sort of commitment to you, and you haven't to them. You'll never have more leverage, and presumably you haven't been pushing what you want out of the job in the interview process. They made an offer. That's the beginning of a negotiation phase.

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