Timeline of a counterofffer
February 25, 2013 6:22 AM   Subscribe

How long must you wait before making a counteroffer during salary negotiations?

Let's say you've been offered the job. Then, during the same conversation, you are told the salary. Is there any reason to not begin negotiations right then? Most information I've read states to take a couple of days and then respond with a counteroffer. But, if you've already done all of your research, know the market, know their range from the HR website, know how much the last person made, know your number, etc., is there any harm in immediately negotiating?
posted by Big Chief Little Pants to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have always negotiated immediately and never heard of anyone waiting after they were given an offer.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 6:27 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Norms are different in a lot of fields. In my field (the academic humanities), you pretty much always get your offer at the end of one day and take a a few days (at least the night) to think it over before responding; in part this is because academic job searches happen simultaneously from August to May every year and there's an expectation / polite fiction that you'll need to call all the other schools that are interested in you and gather other offers before returning for a counteroffer.
posted by gerryblog at 6:40 AM on February 25, 2013

If the initial offer is given to you orally, you should respond right away and begin negotiating.
posted by atrazine at 6:42 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

The answer depends in part on the field you're in.

In business I've never heard of waiting a few days. You always start negotiating upon hearing a number. You go into each meeting knowing what you want, ready to negotiate for it, or for some approximation of it.
posted by dfriedman at 6:42 AM on February 25, 2013

I've usually been told the offer prior to the official letter being sent. I usually ask right off the bat (as I'm dealing with an HR person, not the hiring manager) "That's lower than I was expecting, is there any wiggle room?"

Then they may say they have to go back to the manger, or they might be able to up the offer right then and there. I did this once and the offer went up $10,000!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:55 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You should start negotiating as soon as you feel comfortable and ready to negotiate (Do you understand the value of of what your other options are? Can you justify the numbers you are using? Do you know all the issues you'd like to discuss?). There is no research that says waiting (or not waiting) to give a counteroffer has any effect on the final outcome.

Also: other tips
1. Don't ask for more, ask for a specific value with an explanation as to why that's what you want (and don't cite industry average; you're better than average)
2. Be nice and care about the relationship. You can ask for the world and, if they like you, they won't hold it against you.
3. Put more than one issue on the table. If you're getting bogged down on salary, talk about future leadership opportunities (or whatever).
4. If things get stressful, feel free to ask for a break. The negotiation can pick up when you're feeling more comfortable.
posted by eisenkr at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

As Ruthless Bunny mentioned, I definitely recommend saying "is that number negotiable" or something specific before continuing to negotiate.
posted by radioamy at 10:22 AM on February 25, 2013

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