How to Negotiate Your Salary Over Email Without Stress

Filed in Articles by on April 24, 2021

How to Negotiate: If you’ve just received a job offer, especially if it was over email, crafting a quick message is a way to strike while the iron is hot for salary negotiation.

Just in case you’re not convinced that you can or should negotiate a higher salary after a job offer, let’s start with a few common questions about the process.

Should You Negotiate Your Salary Through Email or A Phone Call?

I recommend negotiating salary over email as long as you can, but you’ll end up negotiating over the phone by the end of the process.

Sending a counter offer email is better for you because you can be more deliberate with every word, you can carefully articulate your counteroffer and make your case, and because emails can be circulated internally among the decision-makers who might need to approve a higher salary for you.

When you counteroffer on the phone, you’re more likely to make mistakes due to nervousness or a simple lack of familiarity with the negotiation process. It’s also difficult to succinctly state your case for why you’re an exceptional candidate for the position when you’re nervous and feeling rushed on a phone call.

And even if you articulate your case well, then you’re at the mercy of the recruiter to communicate your case to the other decision-makers. You’re playing “The Telephone Game” with your salary negotiation, miscommunications during a salary negotiation aren’t nearly as funny.

As to the specifics – here’s exactly how to respond to the offer you’ve received:

Step 1: Thank the Employer for The Offer

The hiring manager needs to know that you’re genuinely excited and grateful to take this offer. The language most appropriate to use in this part email is phrases about working together.

You are excited about working together at this company. You are also looking forward to working together to find a salary and benefits package that is suitable for both of you. You can even restate the offer in the terms they put it, using a sentence like “I am very grateful for your offer of [salary], but…”

Step 2: State Your Counter-Offer

The number you state in the email is the jumping-off point for negotiations, and not necessarily the number you expect will ultimately be offered to you.

For this part of the email, Lin recommends striking a tone that is “respectful, polite, and professional,” adding that “it’s also important to remember that the majority of employers expect that job applications will negotiate starting salary.” Lin advises using the following phrases to help keep that respectful and professional tone while getting your point across, as well as some to avoid:

Effective Phrases

  • “Is there any wiggle room?”
  • “If it’s not too sensitive, do you mind if I ask you what the salary range is for this role?”
  • “Can we discuss the other components of the compensation plan?”
  • “How willing are you to…”

Ineffective Phrases

  • “I will not accept anything less than X”
  • “I need a higher salary to pay my bills”

Step 3: Back Yourself Up 

The number you ask for doesn’t mean much if you can’t back it up with research and justification. Research is one of the most important things you can do to make your salary negotiation successful.

Website tools Know Your Worth can help you get a sense of what the average salary range is for someone with your experience, in your industry, in your city.

Always try to cite your sources, especially if you’re relying on numerical information to back up your ask. “Candidates often forget to explain the reasons why they want or deserve a higher salary,” says Lin. “Researchers have found that negotiators that include a reason why they deserve something are 20+ percent more effective than those who don’t.”

Lin recommends using the following template as a jumping-off point for your salary negotiation email. According to Lin, this template is ideal because it’s brief and to the point, which fits the needs of busy recruiters and hiring managers, along with being polite, clear, and direct.

Here’s how to ask for a higher salary offer with a short email:

To: [Recruiter]
Subject: [Your name] – My thoughts on [name of person who made the offer]‘s verbal offer
Hi [Recruiter name]
[Company name] seems like a great company and this particular opportunity is an exciting one for me because I’m a great fit for [company name]‘s needs right now and it’s a great chance for me to continue growing as a [job title you’re pursuing].
Thank you for extending an offer. It is somewhat disappointing as it seems to be a bit below what I’ve seen for similar jobs in my market research. This is an exciting opportunity, but I want to be sure this move is a step forward for me in my career.
Are there improvements that can be made to this offer so I can consider them?
Thanks for your time!
[Your name]
[Your email address]

Now it’s time to counter offer. Here’s how to write a counter offer email.

The best way to counter offer is with an email. Not only does an email give you time to carefully outline your reasons for counteroffers, but an email can be circulated within the company if they need to use the financial approval process to allocate additional funds to grant your request.

Here’s a standard counteroffer template, based on a real counter offer letter used in a real salary negotiation. I’ve changed the names and numbers, but otherwise, it’s copied and pasted from my Sent email folder.

To: Brittany Jones <[email protected]> [recruiter]
CC: Katherine Thompson <[email protected]> [recruiter’s manager]
Subject: Josh Doody – My thoughts on Tom’s verbal offer
Hi Brittany
I hope you had a great weekend!
I’ve been considering Tom’s offer over the weekend and everything sounds good, although I would like to discuss the base salary component.
I think I’m a particularly good match for this position, where I would add significant value to ACME Corp. and to the Tom’s Practice from Day One. I have a strong technical background and have built and managed teams of technical people.
I am exceptionally good with clients, and have taught short courses on building rapport with and managing clients. I have an MBA and have successfully managed many portfolios of business in the Widget Making industry over the past seven years.
I’ve been working with [Partner Company] for over two and a half years, and have experience with many of their partnership managers and leadership team. I have a strong technical writing background and can both create and delegate the creation of good collateral quickly and efficiently.
All of these qualities contribute directly to the core components of this particular position, and that’s why I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Tom and his Practice in this capacity at ACME Corp.
Tom offered $50,000 and I would be more comfortable if we could settle on $56,000. I feel that amount reflects the importance and expectations of the position for ACME Corp’s business, and my qualifications and experience as they relate to this particular position.
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to talking with you on Monday morning at 10:30 ET!
All the best
Josh Doody
[email protected]

Do have it in mind that, this is a jumping-off point, and further negotiations may come later. But by putting in the work of research now, and distilling your ask into short, sweet terms, you are well on your way to getting the top-dollar salary that you are asking for. If this was helpful to you, kindly share it with your friends on their social media handles.

CSN Team.

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