Negotiating: How Far Can I Go?

Posted October 2, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

One of the questions asked most often when it comes to interviewing and negotiating isn’t how to negotiate or how to determine your worth – it’s how to make the right counter-offer. It’s rare that any negotiation expert would tell you to accept a first offer, but how do you know what to counter with that won’t totally turn off the hiring manager?

I asked this question of a number of hiring managers and HR executives over the last few years, and here’s the unanimous answer:

  • If you are a recruited candidate (meaning the company reached out to you, found you through a referral, etc.), a reasonable counter-offer is 15-20% higher than the initial offer.
  • If you are an un-recruited candidate (you applied without solicitation online or by sending a resume, etc.), a reasonable counter-offer is 10-15% higher than the initial offer.

It’s all about the percentage! With these ideas, use your best judgment. Nothing is set in stone, but these guidelines will help.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."


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