Here’s how & why you should always counter the job offer

Today’s theme is about the job offer. Again, this is a big month for college grads and it’s probably one of the most robust periods for looking for a job. May is always very busy, there’s a lot going on.


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One of the main reasons why I’m doing this podcast today is the situation with one of my candidates that I’ve been working with for a while. You work so hard. You’re sending out the resume, interviewing, following up, looking for jobs, preparing for phone interviews and all those other things – it’s so much work! We’ve talked about this before – it’s considered one of the top five most difficult things to do in life. Divorce, sickness, death, moving and the last one – jobs. Changing jobs, losing jobs, dealing with your career – it’s stressful because at the end of the day you need to make money.

Even if your dream is to someday be independent and start your own business – you still need money for that. I always tell people – if you’re looking to start your own business, get a day job that is super easy for you that can pay the most for little work and then spend the rest of your time to work on your business until it’s generating revenue.


Always counter!

But we’re focusing on the job offer. You deal with all the hard work and then all of sudden you get a job offer. Let’s say they offer you $50 000. They give you the job offer with 20% bonus, full benefits etc. What do you do? First and foremost – you let the employer know that you’re excited and grateful that they’ve chosen you, it’s a great fit and your No.1 choice. But here’s something else – you have to counter! You don’t accept a job on the spot. I once had someone who hadn’t been working for a year and previously was making around $95 000 and he was praying that he would get 80 000 $. He had lost his market competitiveness. Still, he managed to get an offer for 105 000 $. 10 000 more than he used to make before. Obviously, an offer like that can’t be countered. That’s really strong, robust and impressive.


Use the control you have!

I’m talking about most of you who are employed, working and already earning an income. Now you get an offer. Let’s again use that example of $50 000. Without any questions you absolutely counter. Always! Here’s why.

First of all – you don’t know if they’ve got cushion behind them. Most of the time they do but not always. If you work with recruiters they tend to know their clients. I know one of my client’s budget and I know that 9 times out of 10 they won’t budge. But for other firms – the situation is different.

Firms anticipate and expect you to counter. When you’re buying a car you’re trying to get a better deal. I don’t want to demote a professional opportunity in any way but this is your one time that you’re finally in control, because out of all the candidates that they’ve met with they’ve chosen you. And now they extend the offer. I’m telling you right now that they’re biting their fingernails.

I’ve had clients call me and ask “What’s taking him so long? Is he changing his mind? Does he have any other questions?” They get a little bit nervous because all of a sudden the control has switched from them deciding to you decide. Now they’ve made the decision that they want you. But the question is – do you want them? Most of the time you do because you’ve got the job offer and it’s great but this is your one chance to push and counter.

Don’t be scared!

Don’t be afraid! Many of you are afraid that the employer will get pissed or that they will change their mind or go lower. They’re not going to do that! Don’t even think that! Will they be a little irritated? Sometimes they are but it depends on who you’re dealing with and how many layers there are.

Yes, they might be a little irritated or frustrated but who cares? Let them be that way! It’s just going to be for a couple of minutes or a day and for all you know, they might come back and give you more. You never know what can happen.

What I don’t want for you to happen is that six months later you’re asking yourself why you didn’t ask for more. A candidate that I’m working with countered but not by much and the firm wouldn’t budge. He was a little disappointed but at least he tried. And he’ll always know that he tried. It’s like that with everything – you have to try. Not trying is just like the answer no. But when you try, even if it doesn’t work out, you will always know that you tried. So – always counter!

With countering, it’s not just about money. Sometimes we’ve countered with more vacation time or with a sign-on bonus.

I once had a situation where a start date was almost 2 months later. It was an international placement – this person was living abroad, in Hong Kong while the role was in LA. Because of the logistics, it was a two-month turnaround. They were not happy about it because firms like the people to start right away. But in the end, we were able to negotiate and that was more important than money – get some time to move, settle in the new place etc. Those things are all important.

You can always try to counter with vacation time, tuition reimbursement, parking, title, and working from home – just don’t be afraid to ask. Think about what is important to you. Obviously, money talks, there’s no question about it and I always encourage you to start with money but if that doesn’t happen you can always try for other things.

Recruiters are on your side!

Obviously, it’s always easier working with recruiters because this situation is very uncomfortable. As we talked about it, you look for a job 4-6 times in your life and later on when you’re in your thirties you tend to settle down. For us recruiters, this is what we do day in and day out. Not to mention we have established relationships with our clients. So it’s a lot easier to negotiate and come back with more money and also give you a real indication if it’s doable or not. At the end of the day – we’re on the same side. But whenever you get a job offer and no matter how good it is – counter! Don’t be afraid – you are worth it!

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