I got a conditional offer for a company and was beginning to research salaries for that field to counter their first offer. I am going to be a new time hire (graduating in the spring), but have a year+ experience through internships and interned at this company the previous summer so I know the job well.

I began asking around for advice on how to approach the negotiation just to get a well rounded idea of how people handle it. When I asked one of my friends, his response was first time hires (people who just graduated), don't ask for more money and only those who have worked in the field for a while are supposed to negotiate.

He then went on to say he knew someone who tried to negotiate their salary and after the first attempt the company pulled the offer outright. So my question is: is that a thing? I have no doubt a company would pull their offer if you kept pushing/ were rude/ etc... But after one attempt? That seemed incredibly unlikely.

Or perhaps this company is just a bad company altogether and it saved him in the end to know up front they do not behave in a professional matter?


5 Answers 5


Is it a thing? It's always a possibility. If the company felt that the first offer was already pretty generous, it may have decided that the candidate was a little too pushy. Or maybe they found someone else in the interim. In any case, the offer as you describe it was not rescinded by the company, it was rejected by the candidate, and the candidate's counter offer was simply rejected. Nothing unprofessional there.

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    This. It happened to me today. It can happen if you ask for too much.... In my case, I was asking them to match another offer Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 3:23

The question is terribly broad. Are there cases where a company pulls an offer immediately? Sure. Is that common? No.

There was a bit of an internet kerfluffle about a year ago when an offer to a candidate for an assistant professor position was pulled when the candidate sent back a counteroffer. Quite a few people weighed in on whether the counteroffer was appropriate, whether the college was being unreasonable, whether it was an indictment of discriminatory attitudes in the hiring process or whether it was just an isolated case of a poorly handled negotiation.

Now, is it likely that your counteroffer is going to lead to your offer getting pulled? No. The more reasonable and realistic your request, the less likely it is. If your counteroffer asks for a salary that is way above what this company usually pays for the position and you ask for a number of perks that people in that position don't generally get, you may cause the company to pull the offer figuring that you're too far apart to make negotiation worth it (and that you're unlikely to be happy with whatever is agreed to meaning that you'll leave very quickly). If you ask for a small increase to the offered salary or some small additional perks, you may not get them but it's unlikely that the offer is going to be pulled.


Offers being rescinded in response to attempts at negotiation aren't unheard of, but incredibly uncommon. This is counter to the entire idea of negotiation (and the interview process in general, for that matter).

As a new graduate, it's easy to forget the interview process is a two-way street. The employer is free to walk away if negotiations sour, as is the potential employee. If you get to the point of a job offer, and have not made a potential offer to be firm as offered, I think it's safe to say they want you and will work with you within a reasonable boundary to make it happen.

I felt compelled to weigh in on this since I was in a similar situation coming out of school. I had taken an internship with a Fortune 500 company for the summer prior to my final semester, and they ultimately interviewed me again toward the end of said semester and made an offer to come back to the team I previously worked with. Unfortunately, this was at the lower end of the salary range I quoted, so I told them I'd think about it. Note that I didn't explicitly close the door on the offer as it stood.

I had other interviews also lined up and went on to secure two other job offers, each with appealing aspects to them. Armed with this, I touched base with the hiring manager and was forthright about my situation - I made it clear that I wanted to work with them, but the other offers were tempting, and asked if they could sweeten the pot. Ultimately, they played ball and I happily accepted the revised offer at the higher end of my quoted range.

Arguably, the best negotiation tactic is the willingness to walk away, if push comes to shove, and having another bird in the hand (i.e. another job offer) helps immensely with that. Failing that, there is value in the facts that you are (presumably) a known quantity to the hiring manager (and therefore carry less risk than a random hire), plus acquired familiarity with the company culture, policies, and day-to-day role responsibilities (which reducing costs spent on training). There's no shame in making that explicit in your negotiations, nor would requesting a higher wage to commensurate for this.


This is an old question but I'll chip in my own experience.

I've been fortunate to receive quite a few job offers in my life and I have countered every single last one of them to great results. Of all those times, I had my job offer pulled outright one time.

The company flew me to interview in person and put me up in a very nice hotel. I absolutely demolished the interview, and afterwards during lunch with what would have been my team I got along great with everyone. I thought it was a slam dunk. They were located in the Washington D.C. area which I knew was very expensive especially compared to where I was coming from but I had done no research ahead of time on cost of living. After lunch I was taken to meet with the CEO and he asked me what it would take me to move there. At that point in time I made about 80k in an extremely low cost of living area. I said I expected a slight bump from that + cost of living considerations, and then with a half shrug said 95k. If you have any idea how insane D.C. is you should know how terrible an ask this was. I got the offer a week later for 95k and started doing the math and it turned out we weren't in the same stratosphere compared to where I was. I wrote up what I thought was the most reasonable, apologetic, sincere letter I had ever written explaining my situation and what salary I thought made sense. They told me to fuck off and rescinded their offer.

Ultimately I viewed the whole thing as a learning experience and it worked out great for me as I was promoted soon after at my job but I've always been pretty annoyed by how it all played out. I think my biggest mistake was letting them beat a number out of me in person when I didn't have all the information I needed. Or even more, I should have known going in what I wanted.


There are a limited number of ways to negotiate without saying "no" and when you say "no", people are liable to take you at your word. At which point a company is not "bad" when they say "Ok, good luck".

I only know of two ways to counter offer without quite saying no. First, you can ask for time for another offer with better terms -- "Can I have a bit of extra time? I applied at X and made the final round, but they won't make their decision until next Tuesday. I prefer you, but they are offering Y". This does not reject their offer or their timetable, but lets them know that more money would move you from possible to definite. Secondly, you can change the details, but in such a way as it is not just asking for more. More vacation time against lower hourly wage or better performance for a bonus. Basically offer something in return, while indicating that the given offer might be acceptable.

If your counter is just $offer+$extra, then, as I said, it is entirely reasonable for them to accept your rejection of their offer and go on to their next candidate.

Why wouldn't a company respond to a counter offer?

A comapny is likely to respond to a counter offer if they believe there is a mutually satisfactory resolution. Whether that is the original offer, or another counter offer, they must believe you will be happy with the result. If they believe you will be unhappy, even if you accept the offer, they are going to at least hesitant to offer the position to you -- you can always leave, and having you leave will be distuptive. Why take the risk that you will quit without even starting because you have a better offer (several questions on The Workplace revolve around that scenario). Even if they think you might be happy, your offer may change how they view you, making you a less desirable candidate.

Why do companies normally respond to counter-offers? Why negotiate at all?

Companies normally respond to counter offers because they can either agree to the offer, or there is some middle ground which they can agree to, which they believe you will be happy with. The reason they even entertain negotiation is because rejecting a offer doesn't get them what they want - someone to do the job. If they reject your offer and go to the next person on their list, they have no guarantee that person will accept their offer, and at least some evidence that they might (after all, you did). As they go down the list, they would be getting less desirable candidates and using extra resources to do so.

In short, as long as you aren't too far apart, it is probably easier to accede or reiterate the original offer, but it is not bad (for either side) to just let it go.

  • You make it sound like no one can negotiate for more money. A lot of offers have time limits on them and are worded in such a way that the company can't rescind them just based on you asking for more money (but could if they found something in a background check for instance). Oftentimes if you ask for more money, and they say no, they can't rescind the offer. Do so in a reasonable/nice way with good data to back up why you are asking for more and you'll be fine. Money is usually the thing they can be flexible on (whereas vacation they can't often). Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 22:58
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    @TechnicalEmployee: A counter offer is a rejection of their offer, while the offer may be worded in such a way that you rejecting still obligates them to the original terms, I don't think that is common. And I absolutely did not imply that you can't negotiate, but if the terms aren't acceptable the terms aren't acceptable. And that applies both ways. When negotiating, it's best to have a backup plan...this is one of the reasons so many people on this site say not to quit your current job until you have a new one lined up....
    – jmoreno
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 23:16
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    ...and this again applies both ways. If you extend an offer to a potential employee, be prepared for them to say no. Have a backup candidate in mind or a plan to continue looking.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 23:20

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