Learning how to write a salary negotiation email is a good way to push your career forward. It’s great because even though salary negotiation should always be done when the need arises, it’s often a tricky situation to be in. After all, you’ve secured a job that you probably spent a lot of time and effort applying for, and you wouldn’t want to throw that opportunity away.
But how do you do it? How can you respond to a job offer with an offer that will fit your preferences? What do you say? How do you even begin?
These are tough questions (that we will answer soon) but remember that this is the part you need to do as it will set the table for your compensation in the long term.
This article will help you answer the pressing questions you have about salary negotiation. We will discuss why you should do it, how can you do it and even touch points on other things you can negotiate during this part of the hiring process.
Let’s dive in!
Should you even negotiate your salary?
Now, this is a good question. Before learning how to write a salary negotiation email, you must first ask yourself:
Should I even negotiate in the first place?
The short answer is yes.
You should always negotiate your salary because there will always be room to do it.
During your interview phase, your recruiter or interviewer might have asked you how much your current or expected salary is. In case you managed to dodge this question then the company will probably create an offer that will be good enough to reel you in. This is because since you are the best candidate they found, it is likely that they will do things in their capacity to bring you over to the team.
This is good, but there is always something better.
All job offers, the awesome and meh ones, all have some breathing room in the event that you wanted to negotiate. They will take this into account and you should too.
So if you decide to just accept the offer and skip negotiation then you will lose the opportunity to take advantage of this wiggle room they prepared for.
Is salary the only thing you can negotiate?
Again, this is a good question, and the answer is No.
You should also be prepared to negotiate for other things that could make your job more fun. If the company isn’t flexible with the salary package then you can consider other things and perks as the secondary target for your negotiation.
Here are a few of the other things you can negotiate:
- Stock option – most startup companies offer stock options to compensate for the limited flexibility on salary. This is great but often takes a long time to really pay off. However, it makes you feel more ownership to your role.
- More vacation leave and sick leave – this is also great. You get more time for yourself to pursue what you are passionate about.
- Early performance review – will help you start the conversation for salary increases earlier than usual.
- Travel Privileges – maybe they can arrange that you go to different places around the world to coordinate some business concerns. Who knows?
- Training allowance or career development – this is also a good way to compensate for limited flexibility. Your company can help you develop your skills at their own expense. This will benefit you greatly.
- Use of company car – perhaps this can also alleviate some expenses for your daily commute to work
- Signing bonus
- Child care and better health care plan
- Gym memberships and other personal perks
- Expense account
Email or Phone? Which is better for salary negotiations?
The most important rule of negotiating for salary adjustments is to never negotiate right away. Always take the time to think about the offer first before offering a counter offer.
Doing so will avoid the prejudice that you are not thinking twice and are only asking for more money. And this does not paint you well.
Most companies will even give you some time to reflect on the offer they just sent. This way, you will be able to peruse through the offer and check the compensation package, benefits, and perks.
So what you need to do is to, as much as possible, negotiate through email first. But don’t think that having that serious phone call won’t happen because often, the follow-up and decision will come through a phone call.
Starting negotiations through email gives you, the candidate, time to compose your thoughts. You can make bad decisions if you don’t take the time to read or look at what you just uttered. This is not because you are bad or anything, but it’s often because people don’t do well in such stressful and awkward conversations. And email gives you the chance to gather your thoughts and present them properly.
However, phone calls are still necessary. This is to avoid misinterpretations. Email is great for gathering your thoughts but it is not a good way to convey tone.
How to Write a Salary Negotiation Email?
Before writing the salary negotiation email, you must prepare a few things first. Here are two things you need to do:
- Ask for more time
- Evaluate the job offer
Ask for More Time
So you just received the offer either via email or verbally via phone call. What do you do? Where do you begin?
Remember that important rule we were talking about a few paragraphs ago? Never. Negotiate. Right. Away.
Take some time to consider the offer before you start writing that counter offer. Most companies encourage you to think about it so please do.
Here’s what you can say when you got the offer from a phone call:
“Thank you for the job offer. Would you mind if I take some time to consider it and discuss this opportunity with my family? Perhaps a day or two will do.”
The recruiter will probably give you some time to think about it and even encourage you to tell them if you have any questions.
This gives you time to move the conversation to email where you can easily gather your thoughts.
On the other hand, if you got the offer via email, it is still important for you to let the recruiter know that you need more time. This is better than let the offer stand for a few days without any action while you try to decide.
Evaluate the Job Offer
When you said you will take the time to think about it, do it.
Yes, you will be presenting a counter offer but you need to be prepared and make sure you are making the right offer.
First thing you should evaluate is the base salary. This is your priority to negotiate for. Your base salary is what you will spend on your daily needs like food, bills, leisure, and others while you are employed.
Start by evaluating your base salary against your standard of living.
Think of how much would you spend on essential things per month and how much wiggle room you have based on your monthly spending.
If you need to adjust your standard of living by a lot to the point where you can no longer survive, then it’s a tell-tale sign that you need a major adjustment on the base salary.
Next, consider the benefits we talked about a few paragraphs ago. Are they included in the offer? Do you want to request some more benefits?
If you think that you will need more benefits to make the job easier then include that in your negotiation email. Make sure you don’t forget about these because they often make the difference as to whether or not you’ll find the job satisfying in the long run.
Now, how do you write a salary negotiation email?
For the sake of organization, let’s divide it into several parts:
- Start with the Greeting
- Express that you are offering a counter
- Explain Why You Want More
- Restate the Counter Offer
- State Your Counter Offer
- Ask for the next steps
Start with a Greeting
As is with anything in this world, you should start your negotiation on a good footing.
Now, you’ll probably want to email the recruiter you’ve been communicating this entire time and not the hiring manager who sent you the offer because, at the end of the day, your main contact person is the recruiter.
Try to be friendly with your greeting. Something like:
Hi [Recruiter’s Name]
I hope you had a great week(end)! I got the job offfer from [Insert Name here].
Express that you are offering a counter
Next, jump directly to express that you want to present a counteroffer.
This immediately shifts the conversation to your main goal, which is to negotiate your salary.
Make sure that you express that you are happy with the offer but you want to talk about some adjustments.
Cutting the chase and directly saying that you are presenting a counteroffer will be helpful because it shows what you want even without the need for the recruiter to open the email. So as much as possible make the interest for a counteroffer be visible in the preview pane of the mail.
However, do not include the adjustments you want to make yet. You should build your case first. (More on that later)
I am happy to to receive the job offer and I am thrilled to work with you. However, after careful consideration, I felt like the salary wasn’t what I expected.
Now comes the most difficult part of the email (and probably the longest one): the explanation.
You need to build your case to try and convince the hiring team to give you some adjustments in the salary. Writing a detailed paragraph explaining why you are negotiating will help the stakeholders decide better.
Using your inputs they may be able to create some decisions based on the budget and adjust the salary.
It will also give your recruiter more information and a written case to communicate your negotiation internally. After all, the recruiter has no say regarding these things.
So to build your case, it is best to ask your self to list some ways that you can offer to the team right away. It is also best to find some data like your minimum expected salary, or market data to substantiate your request.
I will also be a good idea to create some bullet points to list your thoughts. Write them in short sentences or fragments so you could build on them later.
Once you think you have enough, it’s time to expand those points. Don’t rush the writing process and try to read your paragraphs out loud.
My experience in digital marketing, SEO, and content marketing has given me valuable knowledge and will benefit your organization as I implement new content standards and restructure the organization’s marketing stack as soon as I can. I feel I will be a great asset to you from day one.
My knowledge of basic programming languages will also be helpful as I will contribute heavily in brainstorming new product ideas for the company.
Restate the Job Offer
Next, restate the job offer to avoid some problems with communication. If you received the offer via mail, reference the email sent to you by the hiring manager and summarize it. If you got it via phone call, then it is best to also tell that you spoke with the Hiring Manager and she verbally offered you the job with the stated compensation.
This way, the recruiter is aware that the offer matches with the information she has.
Miscommunications happen and there are times that the Hiring Manager gave you the wrong offer so it would be best to clarify.
The job offer <insert name> sent to me was for $3,000 with travel allowance and the use of the company car.
State your counter
Next, you should state what you want to get from the company.
It’s best to make it as neutral as possible and avoid aggressive words. However, you should keep the firmness and decisiveness in your counteroffer.
It is also great if you mention that you are still happy to join them so that the recruiter knows you’re still interested.
I still am looking forward to join your company but I feel like the salary is lower than what I expected it to be. I would be more comfortable if we can settle on $5000.
Using words that are decisive will make it easier for the recruiter to say, “Ok! Our budget can still cover that.”
By saying that you are comfortable with the counter offer and stating the amount, you are persuading the recruiter to match your actual negotiated amount and not set the terms of the negotiation.
Ask for Next Steps
Lastly, you should ask the recruiter what will the next steps be. You can propose a meeting to follow up the terms you just negotiated.
Thanks for your time and please do let me know what the next steps are. I am happy to set up some time to meet and talk about it. Let me know.
Before you send the email
Before you send the salary negotiation email, send it to someone you trust first.
Have a few people check and look at it. There might be some typos, or errors that you missed. They can also give you some inputs on how to make it better.
Now that you have finished writing the email, it would take some time for the recruiter and hiring manager to sync and make decisions. So breathe and relax for a moment.
Remember that even if the company thinks the offer is too much, you still would have the decision whether to take it or not. But remember that you should work for a company that knows your worth so letting them know is not a bad idea at all. Good luck!