Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary? (+guide)

Updated on April 20, 2023
Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary

One of the most delicate moments when discussing a job offer is the matter of salary. If you are a job candidate, you might be worried that asking for more money may cost you a job opportunity.

You can lose a job offer by negotiating salary due to having unreasonable demands and alienating your hiring manager through your self-centered behavior. Otherwise, salary negotiation is perfectly acceptable and expected by hiring managers and employers.

Is it OK to negotiate salary before accepting a job?

Is it OK to negotiate salary before accepting a job
It is OK to negotiate salary before accepting a job. Just make sure that your demands for higher pay are backed up by substantial reasons and value you could bring to the employer. Otherwise, you run a risk of appearing incompetent and selfish. 

And if you are planning to negotiate your salary during a job interview, then you should definitely check our guide on how to prepare really well and impress the hiring managers.

Do companies expect you to negotiate salary?

Companies would expect you to negotiate your salary if you are an experienced professional.

Your professional background and set of skills give you leverage to negotiate your pay. Thus hiring managers and employers are aware that salary negotiations will take place.

When should you negotiate salary in an interview?

You should negotiate your salary during an interview after you receive a job offer with a proposed salary.

This way, you will be able to consider their offer and counter if you are not happy with the proposed salary.

Keep in mind that before an offer comes, a hiring manager might ask how much you expect to earn from the position you have applied to.

That is why it is wise to carefully research the current industry standard of such salaried positions.

Can a company rescind an offer if you negotiate?

A company can rescind a job offer if you negotiate and you demand a salary that they are not able to provide you. A company is not obliged to hire you even if they have given you a job offer.

That is why it is important to approach salary negotiations with careful consideration.

How to negotiate salary without losing the job offer

How to negotiate salary without losing the job offer
The key to negotiating salary without losing a job offer is to show your potential future employer that you are capable of bringing extra value to them. Your focus should be on how you can benefit them and their business as a professional in order to rightfully earn an increased salary.

Here are the steps that you can take to ensure you will be seen in the best possible light as you negotiate your salary.

1. Show them that you care about the company

You need to make your salary negotiation about the company, not about you. You must show your hiring manager that you care about the future of the company.

All you are doing is asking to be paid a bit more because you know how beneficial it will be for the company to have you as an employee.

2. Ask the right questions to show that you are engaged

Ask about the goals and targets that have been set for the rest of the year or the next year.

Ask how you can become a driving force behind the strategic projects that will ensure the growth and success of the company.

These questions will show the hiring manager that you are serious about the job and that you are thinking about things in the long run.

3. Express your desire to contribute with more

Ask what you can do as a professional to ensure the company's success. Ask how you can go the extra mile to bring even more value as part of the team.

This way, you will show your employer that you understand that a higher salary is achieved through hard work and dedication.

4. Present a clear path to success

If you have the industry knowledge and significant professional experience, you might be able to present your future employer with a precise plan or a project outline to show them a clear path toward the benefits that you are capable of bringing to the company.

Keep in mind that having significant professional experience in itself is also a great argument for getting a higher salary from the start.

5. Ask for your fair share

If there is a way for you to indeed bring extra value to the company through the execution of critical projects or by meeting and exceeding targets, then it’s only natural that you should be paid a bit more than the original offer.

So ask them to discuss salary and give them a number to consider.

Now that you have shown that there’s more to you and that you can potentially benefit the company beyond what was expected initially, it would be a lot more reasonable to discuss what you will be earning.

This puts you in a much more favorable position to negotiate without losing the job offer, and it gives you the right kind of leverage to get an increase.

Essentially, the principles of successfully negotiating salary before accepting a job offer are exactly the same as if you were a long-time employee of the company who wanted a raise.

6. Be prepared for a refusal

Even if you handle your negotiation correctly, your request for a higher salary can be denied. And this can be due to all sorts of reasons.

After all, you probably don't have any knowledge of the employer's ability to pay you and what internal struggles the company is having.

Do your best to gauge the situation. In the end, you might have to accept the job offer without an increase if you are meeting a lot of resistance from the hiring manager.

Perhaps you will be able to negotiate a salary increase after 3 to 6 months when you will have some solid work behind your back, and you will prove yourself as somebody who can bring good results.

In the end, if you are not happy with the salary that they are offering you, you are free to decline the job offer.

Common salary negotiating mistakes that might cost you your job offer

There are certain actions and behaviors that interviewers see as red flags when it comes to hiring new recruits. Here are some of the most common mistakes you could do when

1. Assumptions about the success of the company

Don't make any assumptions about how much money the company is earning. Don't say things like “It seems that your company has been doing pretty well recently. You should be able to pay more than this.”

Such statements will make your recruiter think that you are self-centered and opportunistic which will hurt your chances of getting hired.

2. Unreasonably high salary expectations that do not match industry standards

Don't ask for a higher salary without having anything to back up your demands. This is the fastest way to lose a job offer and destroy your chances of ever getting hired by the same company.

3. Salary demands based on your personal needs and financial situation

Don't go into details about your current financial situation. It's fine to say that the proposed salary you have been given does not match your financial needs only when you are totally rejecting a job offer.

4. Becoming defensive when you meet resistance

If you become defensive as soon as you meet some resistance while negotiating your salary, then you risk alienating the hiring managers for good. Nobody likes to work with a person who loses their cool like this in a professional setting.

5. Use of inside information about the company

In case you have some kind of inside information about the company (from a friend who works in it, for example), then try to use it to your advantage when negotiating your salary.

You will be seen as scheming and selfish, which will hurt your chances of getting hired.

But if you are careful and present yourself in the right light, then you have a good chance of landing the job and getting that salary increase.

Also, don't be afraid to negotiate your salary even if something goes wrong, such as your references not responding, for example.

How much higher should you negotiate salary?

How much to counter offer salary
Anywhere between 10-20% is a reasonable counter-offer to a salary proposal. However, you can push the counter-offer even further depending on your level of confidence and professional competence. It all comes down to your capability to benefit the company and the business.

Here are a few different situations that may apply to you and how much more money you can demand in each one through salary negotiation.

(Mind that these are just simple examples, and the numbers may vary significantly depending on industry job standards.)

0% for an entry-level job with no previous experience

If you have no previous professional experience, there isn’t much that you can leverage to get more money out of a position.

It would probably be better to take the job if the offer matches the industry standard and ask for an increase after 3 to 6 months when you have some good work behind your back and you have a better understanding of the industry.

10% if you have some previous experience on the job

If you have some previous experience on the job, then you can indeed ask for a little more money. About 10% would be reasonable.

You can leverage the fact that you will be able to become effective very quickly since you will require minimum training or none at all to start doing your job. You can also state that you are willing to train new employees on a regular basis to justify getting paid more.

20% if you are a seasoned professional with a remarkable set of skills

If you have notable professional experience and you come ready with all the necessary skills and knowledge to be an effective employee from week 1, then you can definitely ask for a significant increase, such as 20%.

30% if you can bring some extra value to the company

If you are an experienced professional who has some notable previous achievements, such as record sales or creating highly successful projects, then you are bringing a lot more to the table than expected. This should give you enough leverage to ask for a 30% salary increase.

40% if you can bring enormous potential to the company

If you are confident that you can scale the business and marginally contribute to its growth, then you can ask for a significant salary increase, such as 40%.

The recruiter might take into account your arguments and tell you that they will call you later on.

This usually means that they would have to discuss the higher salary with the upper management of the company.

In the end, if you lose the job offer, then here's how to ask the recruiter for feedback.

Can you negotiate your salary after accepting a job offer?

Can you negotiate your salary after accepting job offer
You can negotiate your salary after accepting a job offer. This might be a bit unforgettable for the company that wants to hire you but until you sign your employment contract, every aspect of your job, including salary and benefits can be further negotiated.

If you are worried that this will be seen badly, you can ask the hiring manager if it is fine to negotiate salary. Let them give you permission to raise the question.

And remember to stick to the advice and negotiation tactics outlined above in the previous section. Also, check out our guide on how to quickly get used to a new job in case they decide to hire you after all.

My advice on negotiating salary without losing the job offer

Usually, when a job offer is given to a candidate, in 99% of cases, the proposed salary is either a bit lower or at least matched to the current industry standard. Job offers with increased salaries are usually presented to experienced professionals who can somehow bring extra value to employers.

But still, any job candidate can negotiate their salary to a certain extent. If anything, you will be seen as ambitious and hungry for professional growth, which only works in your favor.

However, your success in negotiating your way to a higher salary will hugely depend on your professional experience and ability to work toward the growth and success of the company.

Anywhere between 10-20% is a reasonable counter-offer to a salary proposal. However, you can push the counter-offer even further depending on your level of confidence and professional competence. It all comes down to your ability to benefit the company and the business.

Here's a helpful tip: always make sure to arrive a bit early for your interviews – this way, you will ensure a smooth start, and you will be able to get into the headspace of salary negotiation.

Frequently asked questions about negotiating salary without risking the job offer

How common is it for employers to withdraw a job offer due to salary negotiation?

It's actually quite rare for employers to withdraw a job offer just because of salary negotiation. Most companies expect candidates to negotiate, and they usually have some wiggle room built into their initial offer. As long as you're respectful, professional, and well-informed about your market value, negotiating your salary should be seen as a normal part of the hiring process. That being said, every employer is different, so it's good to approach the conversation with tact and confidence.

Are there specific industries or job roles where salary negotiation is more likely to result in a lost job offer?

While it's uncommon for job offers to be withdrawn due to salary negotiation across most industries, there might be some exceptions. For example, entry-level roles, roles in non-profit organizations, or industries where salary structures are more rigid might be less open to negotiation. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't try to negotiate. The key is to do your research and understand the norms for the specific role and industry you're targeting. That way, you can approach the negotiation with realistic expectations and a clear understanding of your worth.

How can I determine my market value to ensure I'm negotiating a reasonable salary?

Determining your market value is an important step before diving into a salary negotiation. To do this, you can use a combination of online resources, industry reports, and networking. Websites like Glassdoor, Payscale, and can give you a good idea of the salary range for similar roles in your area. Industry reports and associations can also provide valuable insights into compensation trends. Don't forget to tap into your personal network, too! Speak to colleagues, friends, or mentors in the same field to get a sense of the going rate for your position. The more information you have, the better prepared you'll be to negotiate a salary that's fair and reflective of your market value.

Written by:
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co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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