How to Counter a Salary Negotiation Letter [+ Sample Letter]

Negotiating the salary in an offer letter can be a tenuous process for both parties. Here’s a salary negotiation counter offer letter sample.

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salary negotiation counter offer letter sample

Salary negotiations tend to be the most intimidating part of the hiring process– sometimes for both parties. There are many things to take into account when talking to candidates regarding compensation. 

It is imperative that you perform all negotiations prior to a formal offer letter being accepted. In addition to ensuring that both the candidate and your company are pleased with the outcome, there are also legal implications and general guidelines to take into account.

Here are some do’s and don’ts, as well as a salary negotiation counter offer letter sample.

Do’s

Be honest and clear about what salary you are able to offer.

Try to offer compensation in other ways if you are unable to fulfill the salary requested. These things can include offering health benefits, proposing a reward program involving salary increases upon reaching preset milestones or offer a more flexible work schedule and remote opportunities.

If you made a mistake in your initial offer letter, be sure to immediately clarify, and be transparent about the fact that you made a mistake. You don’t want the candidate to think you maliciously changed the numbers on the offer.

Don’ts

Don’t change or rescind an offer after it has been accepted without first seeking legal counsel.

Don’t make promises you cannot fulfill. This is likely to cost you a valuable employee when their expectations are not met.  

Don’t ask candidates what their salaries were at their last jobs. Many states have made discussions of past salary illegal. Past salary discussion bans are currently in place in the following states. (If you reside in one of these states, check with your local government, as some states have only included certain counties.)

California

Connecticut

Delaware

Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Kentucky

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Michigan

Missouri

New Jersey

New York

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico

Vermont

Wisconsin

While sometimes it’s necessary to change your initial salary offer in order to obtain top talent, other times it simply won’t be possible to accommodate their counter offers.

At times it is necessary to be firm with your offer. When a prospective employee pushes the envelope farther than you feel is appropriate, don’t be afraid to set clear boundaries. Be sure to do so before any offer has been accepted.

Now that you have the basics, here is a salary negotiation counter offer letter sample.

Dear Ms. Jones,

I am pleased to accept your counter offer with the following modifications.

You have requested an annual salary of $105,000. Though I feel you are an exceptional candidate for the position of Account Manager, I must adhere to the average salary in the market today. In fact, I am willing to offer a salary at the high end of the spectrum of $90,000.

Please take into consideration my offer and respond at your earliest convenience. I hope to bring you on the team, as I feel you are an exceptional fit.

Best Regards,

Mr. King

Finding a good candidate is more than just finding a qualified person for the job. Often times locating a prospective employee who has realistic expectations, and who will also find satisfaction in the position is equally as important as their resume. Taking the time to properly navigate through salary negotiations and position expectations is imperative for a positive outcome.

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