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Negotiating Job Offers

Negotiating a job offer is a discussion between you and your future employer to ensure that you are fairly compensated. Negotiation may apply to salary, benefits and other perks. Your job as a negotiator is to help the employer recognize why you deserve what you are asking for. If you need to prepare to negotiate a job offer, follow the steps below.

1. Determine a fair salary range

  • Conduct research from print and online material to determine what a fair salary range for your position and experience might be. The Workopolis salary calculator is a good start to this research: visit, under “Career Resources” at the top right side of the page, click on “Salary Calculator.”
  • Arrange informational interviews with individuals already working in your field. They may be willing to give you a general salary range as well as insight into the job. Do not ask them how much they make personally.
  • Ask friends, family and co-workers about their opinion on a fair salary range for your new job offer.
  • Consult recruiters and employment agencies, they may be willing to help you and are often very accurate about salary information.
  • Or you can explore salaries by job title and location using See how years of experience, industry, location and more can impact your salary.

2. Wait for an opportunity to discuss salary

You may be asked about salary expectations:

  • Before the interview (or in your application)
  • Right after the interview
  • After the interview but before an offer is made
  • When the offer is made

Remember that asking for an amount that is too high or too low may hurt your chances of getting the job, so focus on getting the job before negotiating. Provide a salary range if asked before receiving an offer, and negotiate the details once you receive the offer.

3. Once you are offered the job, negotiate.

Allow the employer to offer you a number or range first, and determine if this number is fair based on your research and if it meets your financial needs.

Negotiation scenarios

There are five scenarios you may find yourself in when an employer offers you a job.

1. If the offer is too low.

  • Tell the employer that you appreciate their offer and are excited about the job.
  • Explain to them your success and how you can bring value to the company.
  • Let them know that you have done your research, tell them what range you believe is fair.

2. If the employer cannot offer a higher salary.

Tell the employer that the salary is below your expectations but you would be happy to negotiate an offer that is fair to both parties such as adding:

  • Bonuses
  • Increased commission
  • Vacation time
  • A flexible work schedule
  • Memberships
  • Parking/commuting pass
  • Overtime pay
  • Pension plans

3. If the employer's offer seems to high.

  • Do not immediately accept the offer.
  • Ask questions about the job offer to ensure that you fully understand what is required of you in the given role and that you can meet the employer's expectations.

4. If the offer is as expected.

  • Take a couple of seconds to think about the offer.
  • Ask for information about the compensation package.
  • Discuss further benefits of the job.
  • Once you have all the answers, ask the employer when they need your final decision, and let them know your decision in a timely manner.

5. If you have more than one offer.

  • When you receive two offers, ask both employers for a few days to think about it.
  • Keep in mind that you want to make a good impression on both organizations.
  • When deciding between the two options, make a list to determine which offer will benefit your career and compensation goals.
  • Once you have made your decision, let both employers know immediately.