Job Search & Interview

How to Counter a Low Salary Offer (With Email Samples)

After countless job searches, resumes, and interviews with recruiters, you’re finally given a job offer. Hurrah! But much to your disappointment, you find that the starting salary is too low. 

Do you accept it? Reject? What do you do? 

I’m here to tell you how to counter a low salary offer. I’ll provide tips and email samples to help you go through this situation professionally but assertively. So let’s dive in!

Read More: How To Ask About Benefits After Job Offer (With Email Sample)

What Do You Do if the Salary Offer Is Too Low?

You’re either going to accept or decline the job offer. However, before you do that, it’s best to try salary negotiation. And here’s why I say this: 28% of employees who negotiate salary see success.

Not only that but a recent viral post by a hiring manager revealed that she offered $85,000 as a starting salary when the company’s budget was up to $130,000. Chances are, the lowball salary is way below the budget. 

If you know how to respond to and negotiate a low salary offer, you’ll have a better chance of securing a higher salary. This is why it’s crucial to know how to counter a low salary offer. 

How Do You Respond to a Low Salary Offer?

Don’t dive into negotiating a job offer right away. You first need to know how to respond to the email that gave you the good news! 

Here is the best way to respond…

Express your gratitude

When you receive a job offer, that means the employer considers you the best out of the hundred candidates. That’s certainly something to be proud of and grateful for. 

So always take the time to express your gratitude. Yes, even if the salary is below expectations. You want to keep things positive. 

It also demonstrates respect for the employer’s decision and leaves the door open for potential negotiations. So don’t forget your thank yous. 

Show your enthusiasm

Here’s what the Indeed editorial team says:

Showing enthusiasm for the position and company can help show the employers you’re excited to join their team. Knowing that you want to work with the company and help fulfill its major goals and objectives can motivate employers to meet your salary demand when you make them.

Employers always prefer workers who are excited about their role. You want to be hard to let go. This is so the company will agree on a higher salary range, or at least a better compensation package.

Read More: Know When NOT to Negotiate Salary to Avoid Job Offer Rescind 

Ask for time but act quickly

No, you don’t need to give your answer right away. In fact, most companies expect you to think about it for 2 to 3 days. So nothing wrong with asking for time. 

However, you must act quickly. Come up with how to politely say the salary is too low, as well as a counteroffer. You should have everything ready by the 2nd or 3rd day. If you wait any longer than that, it might not be as effective as you want it to be. 

Come up with a minimum acceptable salary

During your time to consider the job offer, come up with a minimum acceptable salary. This should be an amount that can pay for all your necessities and a few extra. 

Say your cost of living is $4,000. You can make your minimum earnings 4,500 to 5,000. This will allow you to live a comfortable life. 

Read More: How to Negotiate Salary When Given a Range: 6 Helpful Tips

Research industry salaries

Next up, you need to do some research. Check what’s the starting salary or the average salary for the role you’re applying for. This way, you can see if your base salary will fit the industry standard. 

Carolynn Bruce, a Life Coach and Human Resources Consultant, says:

Use reputable resources to understand the market value of the role you seek. Ask questions to understand the compensation model and calculate the total compensation being offered. Know the context of the offer before you start negotiating.

Know what you’re going to say

When you put two and two together, it’s time to prepare how you’re planning to approach salary negotiation. I’m going to help you with this in the following section…

How Do You Negotiate a Lowball Salary Offer?

Don’t worry. A Robert Half survey showed that 70% of employers expect candidates to negotiate their salary and benefits.

So this is totally normal. It’s just a question of presenting it the right way. 

Here are some tips to negotiate a low salary offer that  may make the employer agree on your desired salary:

  • Be likable. This is one of the most important aspects. This is why it’s so important to know how to respond to a low salary offer. Besides that, you need to be genuine, positive, and professional. You should also have great communication skills
  • Boast your qualifications. Show your prospective employer why you deserve a higher salary. How do you do that? Show them that you’re more than qualified for the job. Tell them about certain soft skills or industry experiences under your name. Use your leverage. 
  • Be more on the side of accepting the offer rather than declining it. If you make it sound like you’re unsure if you’ll accept or reject the job offer, the employer might not see the need to give a higher offer. I mean, why would they when you’re not 100% enthusiastic about the job? So you should negotiate when you’re more on the side of acceptance, even with the initial offer. 
  • Evaluate the entire compensation package. Let’s say the company has its limitations. Maybe there’s a starting salary policy. Or, maybe they’d rather spend more on a different role to the one you’re applying for. Well, if they can’t consider the offer you gave, ask about the other benefits. This includes signing bonuses, perks, salary raises, promotions, etc…
  • Don’t give a set number. If you give a specific number, then that will be it. Instead, give a salary range. You can start with your minimum acceptable salary and end with a bigger salary that will allow you to live somewhat luxuriously. This way, the employer can either go for the low range or the high one (which are both already great for you). 

Read More: How To Accept a Job Offer After Failed Negotiations (With Email Sample)  

How to Counter a Low Salary Offer Email Samples

Picture this: After going through all my tips here, you sit down in front of your computer. You’re about to write that draft email for a job offer response and salary negotiation – but your mind is blank. 

Let me help you by giving you a few how to counter a low salary offer email samples…

How to respond to a low salary offer example

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude for offering me the [Position Title] role at [Company Name]. It’s truly an exciting opportunity, and I’m honored to be considered for such a pivotal role within your esteemed organization.

Receiving this offer validates my belief in the alignment between my skills and [Company Name]’s objectives. I am genuinely enthusiastic about the possibility of contributing to your team and helping achieve shared goals.

At this juncture, I kindly request a brief period to deliberate on the terms of the offer. Could you please grant me the next [2-3] days to carefully consider the details and ensure that I can fully commit to the responsibilities outlined?

Rest assured, I am eager to provide a response within the specified timeframe to expedite the process and move forward constructively.

Once again, thank you for this incredible opportunity. I look forward to the potential of joining [Company Name] and making meaningful contributions to its continued success.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

How to negotiate salary offer example

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to join the [Position Title] team at [Company Name]. It’s an honor to be considered for such a pivotal role.

I’m genuinely enthusiastic about the chance to contribute to [Company Name]’s mission and vision. The organization’s commitment to excellence resonates deeply with me, and I’m eager to leverage my skills and experience to help drive its success.

As I consider the terms of the offer, I would like to discuss the salary component of the offer in more detail. While I am eager to accept the position, I believe there may be an opportunity to align the compensation package more closely with industry standards and the level of experience and expertise I bring to the role.

I would like to propose a salary range of [Your Desired Salary Range] based on my research of industry standards and the level of responsibility associated with the position.

I am open to discussing the specifics further and am eager to find a solution that aligns with both of our interests. Your understanding and consideration are greatly appreciated.

Thank you once again for this exciting opportunity. I am genuinely looking forward to the possibility of contributing to [Company Name]’s continued success.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Final Words

Knowing how to counter a low salary offer is crucial. This way, you can negotiate a higher salary before accepting the job. 

So follow all the tips I provided here, as well as the email samples, to help you when a job offer doesn’t meet your salary expectations. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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