Receiving a job offer is an empowering experience, but then comes the time to negotiate your salary and benefits package. It’s a stressful situation—no one wants to negotiate themselves out of this new job, but we all have needs and expectations when it comes to compensation.

Does the offer meet your needs and expectations? Is it competitive in your area? If not, are you ready to negotiate?

Use these tips to help you approach your counteroffer in a way employers can’t refute.

Tip 1: Set parameters for success

As you near the end of an interview process, prepare yourself for a potential offer by:

  • Researching salary, cost of living for the area, and job title.
    Tool needed:
  • Determining priorities and areas of compromise.
    Tool needed: Personal or family considerations
  • Comparing the salary and cost of living in the area to make an informed decision.
    Tool needed:​
  • Understanding the size and scope of the company.
    Tool needed: Company Website and/or LinkedIn

Tip 2: Assess the offer

After receiving an offer, it’s time to assess it against family and lifestyle needs. Remember to look at things holistically and realistically.

For example, say the company advertised a salary of $100,000 and 10 days paid time off. The average salary in the area is around $97,000. When the offer comes, however, the company offers $95,000 with 12 days off, but also offers a $5,000 sign-on bonus, 401(k) plan with 5% company match, employee stock options and a potential $10,000 annual bonus based on performance.

While the offered salary may be lower than expected, the bonus inclusions and PTO plan offer a higher total compensation package than the advertised amount. The company may have internal constraints and equity considerations that may impact base salary but not vacation time, bonuses, or start dates.

Tip 3: Compare your worth

Before you enter a negotiation process, are you ready to present the facts? Assess your skills against the job description to see how you compare. Do you have an argument to counter?

The job description might require a little more experience than you have, but you have a lot of experience in related areas. You might also have more education than the job needs, along with additional certifications. In short, you might not meet one area, but exceed all others, meaning you are more than prepared for the extra responsibility.

Tip 4: Consider the employer

If you decide to counteroffer, it is important to consider potential employer constraints. Your counteroffer should be equitable against:

  • Fair market value​
  • Salary range of organization
  • Geographic location factors
  • Economic conditions​
  • Company budget

Tip 5: Counter with facts

When the time comes to present your counteroffer, be sure to:

  • Create a “non-negotiable” list and a “wants” list​
  • Organize your talking points supported by facts
  • Create a contingency plan and understand your options​
  • Present a value proposition and reason for a benefit or salary increase.

Now that you’re armed with the negotiation facts, find the right opportunity at