What is a Counteroffer?

A counteroffer is an offer made in responsive – and as an alternative – to an offer already presented, usually in the context of salary/benefit negotiations.


Our top candidate asked for a $90K salary. Our Counteroffer was $86K + 2 weeks’ PTO, and they happily accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who makes the first Counteroffer in negotiations?While sometimes employers will ask job candidates what their salary expectations are within the hiring process, the first official offer is always made by the hiring organization (typically upon making a formal job offer), and it’s up to the job candidate to make a Counteroffer if they so choose. From there, an employer may choose to accept this Counteroffer or make their own in return, which is how negotiations take shape.
  • How do you know if a Counteroffer is good?“Good” is an entirely subjective term, and nobody will have the same framework for judgment. However, there are a few general considerations that can be made to work out if a Counteroffer is good for you personally:
    • Is the offer being made in good faith? Does the other party seem to be negotiating in a genuine attempt to come to an agreement?
    • Is the offer in-line with local market rates for Compensation and benefits?
    • Does this offer work for you, your lifestyle, and your budget? Could you live with this pay rate and benefits package?


  • How do you make a strong Counteroffer during negotiations?When crafting a Counteroffer during Compensation negotiations, both parties want to craft an offer that puts them in the best position without angering or wasting the time of the other party. You don’t want a counteroffer to be so offensive that the other party walks, but you also don’t want to give away everything at once – negotiations can have multiple rounds.A strong Counteroffer should also be backed by data, if possible. For example, if a candidate receives a Compensation offer that’s below market rate, they can offer a number along with examples of similar roles in the area to show how they reached it. Additionally, Counteroffers can cover more than just base Compensation – an example could be that if an employer says increased Compensation isn’t in the budget, a candidate could counter with a request for increased benefits instead.
  • How many Counteroffers can you make during negotiations?There is no law or even rule-of-thumb for how many Counteroffers can be made by an employer or a job candidate. Theoretically, if a candidate and employer are both strongly interested but can’t come to an agreement, Counteroffers can be exchanged back and forth forever. However, both sides have a vested interest in limiting negotiations to a few back-and-forth counteroffers, as letting the process drag out runs the risk of either the employer losing a strong candidate or the candidate losing a job offer.


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From strategic talent management to the best onboarding technology, Rival offers secure platforms that enable people to thrive in a changing workplace. Contact Rival today to talk to an expert to see how we can help you attract the best talent and keep them on board and performing up to your expectations.


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