I received a job offer with a company that I recently interviewed with. However, they have not offered me the salary that I wanted. The salary is less that what I was previously earning, with my previous company. I am dealing through a good recruitment agency and they told me that that if I wanted them to increase the salary offer, I would have to decline the current offer and ask for a higher salary. As they are hiring a lot of people, she told me that the risk is, if I decline the offer, they may not choose to submit a higher offer and instead offer the role to other candidates in the pool. I find the fact that I can't negotiate is unfair. Is there any way round this, as I feel as though I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Just to add: I am not currently in employment

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    How is it unfair for the position to be offered to someone else if you don't like the salary that the company is offering? – JB King Aug 20 '13 at 14:01
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    Your usage of the word 'they' is very confusing. Please edit your question and replace 'they' with either 'the company' or 'the recruiter'. – user8036 Aug 20 '13 at 14:23
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    Fair. That word you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means. – Frank B Aug 20 '13 at 14:26
  • A bit of misunderstanding here. What I meant by 'not fair' was the fact that it seems there is a possibility that the company will not allow me to negotiate. How? Because the recruitment agent told me that I will have to formally decline the offer that they put forward and ask for a better salary figure. They can turn around and decline putting forward another offer, which will not give me a chance to accept the initial offer they put forward. – fdama Aug 20 '13 at 15:19
  • You either agree to the terms or you don't agree. That is why you have to decline the offer and ask for a higher salary as a counteroffer. Whether or not that gets accepted is an open question, but if you are wanting that safety net of being able to go, "Oh, you won't give me that. Ok, I'll accept the initial offer instead then," that gets a bit tricky for some companies as you could be seen as being unhappy accepting what was initially offered after being rejected at trying to get more money. – JB King Aug 20 '13 at 15:43

So here's the way this works. The company wants a job done. They have an idea of what they want to pay for this job. You want to do a job, and have an idea of what you want to be paid. If the amount you want is more than they want to pay, and they think they can find someone who can do the job for less, they will get the other person to do it. That's what you are up against. There isn't anything unfair about it, and you would do the same in their position.

You need to ask yourself: how badly do I want this job, rather than another? How likely am i to find another better job? If you already have a job that pays more, what makes you want this job over your current one? Is it worth the pay cut?

What the company is saying is that if you choose to negotiate, that is in effect turning down the job at the salary offered. The way this will work is: You decide if you want the job at the salary they offer. If yes, accept it. If no, make a counter-offer stating the salary you would like. The company will then either decide that a) yes, they are willing to pay you want you ask for or b) no they are not willing to pay that. If it's no, then they may OR MAY NOT offer you the job again at the original salary. If they don't, you've lost the job. (They may possibly offer it again at a salary between what they originally offered and what you asked for).

  • @fdama - by the sound of it you are requesting the high end of the candidates who are getting offers, there is likely to be someone they liked almost as much as you who wants less (or the offer would be higher). They've probably picked the same offer for all. Don't think you have much wiggle room, either the job is worth the drop or not, no real negotiation allowed – The Wandering Dev Manager Aug 20 '13 at 15:26
  • SO are you saying that I should just accept it or reject it, but not to negotiate? – fdama Aug 20 '13 at 15:30
  • You can try, as long as you can handle it falling through. If not you probably need to comprise. – The Wandering Dev Manager Aug 20 '13 at 18:04
  • I've also just seen the note about not being in work just now, that also changes things. The salary you made before doesn't have a real bearing on what you could get now, don't know the circumstances, but the market has changed over when you got your last role. If the salary is on a market level, and the role is interesting and not a step back, I'd seriously consider it. It's much easier to move up once your settled in a role, progressively harder when your not. Don't know how long you've been out but once you reach 6 months it starts to get much harder, been there myself not too long ago – The Wandering Dev Manager Aug 20 '13 at 18:14

If you are going to reject the offer as it stands you might as well try and negotiate for either better pay or some other benefit.

When you make a counter offer you are rejecting their offer, and making one back to them. You are not protected just because they made on offer in writing. You are essentially politely tearing up their offer, and substituting one of your own. They can decide to accept yours, reject and make a counter offer, or reject and wish you luck. This is how all negotiations work if somebody has the advantage.

You have to decide what to do. If you can't/won't work for that rate you are risking nothing by asking if they can give a better offer. If you can/will work for that rate but want to try and get a better offer from them, you have to decide if the risk is worth it.


  1. Decide if you will accept or reject the offer.

    • If accept, sign and return the form.
  2. If reject, decide if you want to try for a counter offer.

  3. Evaluate the risk. In your case you are being told there is no way a counter offer will be accepted. Decide if you believe that advice

  4. If risk is too great, accept the offer.

  5. If you view the risk as acceptable, make a counter offer and hope for the best.

  • Thank you. This is the sort of answers I was looking for. The comments under my first post feel like 'targeted assassinations'. You mention that I am not risking anything by asking for a better offer. But I am. This is why I came here for assistance. The third party recruitment agent told me that I ask for more, I have to formally decline their offer. Doing so, there is a risk that they will not put forward a better offer, and so will turn to other candidates. This is even If I turn around and say that I will now take their offer, even though it is not what I wanted. – fdama Aug 20 '13 at 15:33
  • You do realize that in turning around to accept their initial offer that may be taken in a bad light, right? – JB King Aug 20 '13 at 15:45
  • @fdama, I think you misunderstood what mhoran_psprep meant by "you risk nothing." You risk nothing in the situation where you would not accept the offer as it is. Honestly, your situation must be really bad or the job must be really good for you to jump ship from a known quantity for a lesser salary. IMO there's no risk to you unless you hate your job. – Amy Blankenship Aug 20 '13 at 16:27
  • I've never been told I had to reject an offer before making a countere-offer. Since the OP indicated, "what I was previously earning," doesn't sound like she is currently employed. – user8365 Aug 20 '13 at 19:45
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    That is what you do when you make a counter offer. If they decide that it will be too hard to negotiate or that they suspect you will be unhappy, and they have other candidates they can decide to move on. what are the odds? we can't guess, but the OP was warned by the recruiter. – mhoran_psprep Aug 20 '13 at 19:58

I understand more money is the only reason here right ? If the only reason you are quitting your current job is for money, then you should let your future employer know that what they are offering is not up to your expectations and that you are expecting X (also add why you think you deserve X). Most of the times a company will either honor your expectations or will give you reasons why they think their original offer stands good.
If you are leaving your current job because of other reasons, then you should just leave your current employer.

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