It’s amazing how exciting it is to receive an offer letter. It’s the sign that you’re almost done with your job search. Note the keyword- almost. You now have to decide if you accept or decline.
During the interviewing process you will find that at some point the question of salary range comes up. This is a great way to know that both you and the company are not wasting each other’s time if the range is off. When you receive your offer letter, you shouldn’t be surprised that the offer will typically be near the bottom of your range. Why would a company offer you your highest amount when they know they could get you for much lower!?
With your offer letter in hand its back in your court to decide if the package they’re offering you is reasonable. Remember not to look at just the salary but consider the costs of benefits. Some companies pay for your medical and you pay for your family – this is essentially an additional $2400/year if your medical is $200/month. So the question comes to – Do you counter with a higher salary request or accept the package because it’s a fantastic offer?
If you decide to counter, firstly, don’t get greedy. You need to sit down and consider what your extra expenses are based on the package presented to you. Maybe your medical costs will increase from what you currently are paying, you are not offered a company cell phone or car (that you currently have with your current employer), or the driving distance is longer. What will it take to have you take the leap to this new company? Be prepared to explain your reasoning for requesting a higher salary or other perks (more vacation, etc.) and don’t be surprised if they don’t counter and instead possibly pull the offer all together. There are many books and articles on the art of negotiation and negotiating your salary. My belief is to be honest and fair and a company will respect your request.
If your counter is accepted – congratulations, you just got your first bonus! You may also find that your package has been re-negotiated; maybe you’ll earn the opportunity of a bonus/raise in a few months depending on performance, or extra vacation pay.
Accepting the original offer letter is also definitely acceptable. Don’t feel you need to counter just to get more money or more perks. The original offer may already be extremely generous and you may not want to start with the company being considered a bit of a handful or worse, greedy.
Always remember to send a thank you letter when accepting the offer letter. You are now agreeing to all terms of the offer and building a new relationship with a new company. Starting off showing professionalism goes a long way.
Accepting an offer letter can be a stressful time as you may find yourself debating on countering or not. Whether you do or don’t counter an offer essentially comes down to what you feel is fair and what it will take for you to take this next career step.