Is it too late to negotiate your salary after accepting a job offer?

By Robert Half 2 September 2019

When it comes to receiving a job offer, it’s important to avoid making a snap decision.

It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of being offered a job though. And sometimes if you’ve accepted a role straight away, only to realise that the salary was lower than you had hoped, you’re left with the predicament of what to do.

Can you negotiate the salary after accepting the job offer, or do you just need to accept that you won’t be earning what you thought and make it work?

This article will help you review what your options are and sets out a clear approach for bringing up the salary question again.

Should you negotiate?

If you’re excited about the new challenges the job offers and other company benefits provided, you may be happy with the current salary on offer, and the potential for a salary increment later down the track.

But if the salary still doesn’t meet your initial expectations and is not a true reflection of the skills and experience you can offer, then negotiating with the hiring manager may be your next step.

Before you do this, you need to consider where you are in the hiring process:

1. Negotiating if you’ve verbally accepted

If you’ve not signed a contract or started working at the company, it can be much easier to revisit your salary offer. Make sure you have the conversation as quickly as possible and before you move any further in the process.

2. Negotiating if you’ve accepted a job offer in writing

The further down the line you are with regards to accepting, the higher the chance you start to look like a liability to a new employer. The last thing you want to do at this point is to make them regret making their decision to hire you. They may assume you’re difficult to work, so be careful about putting yourself in a position that means you start off at the company on the wrong foot. Before going any further, consider whether negotiating a higher salary is worth risking your professional reputation over at this stage.

3. Negotiating if you’ve started work

Negotiating is all in the timing. If you’ve commenced working at the company, it’s highly advisable to avoid negotiating your salary during your probation period. Instead of negotiating, you could wait for the annual salary reviews (if the company you work for has them). Pull together a pitch that demonstrates exactly how much value you have added to the company since you started.

How to bring up the salary question again

If you have weighed up all the information and decided that negotiating is the right thing to do in spite of where you currently are in the hiring process, speak to the person who made the job offer as soon as possible.

Give them a call (or email) and be honest about the situation. Explain that you were very excited about being offered the job and the opportunity to work with them, but you accepted the salary while being caught in the moment.

You don’t need to go into too much detail, but ensure you provide logical reasons for why you feel the need to re-negotiate the starting salary.

Do your research using Robert Half’s Salary Guide before engaging in such discussions. This will help you establish the value of your current skills and experience, and ensure you’re clear on what you would and wouldn’t be willing to accept.

Is it too late to negotiate your salary after accepting a job offer?

Treat negotiating a salary after accepting a job offer with great caution.

If you are prepared to be open, honest and allow your new employer to see you are being reasonable, it may make them feel more open to enter back into negotiations if they have such bandwidth.

Be prepared to have your request declined, and take it as a learning curve for your next opportunity to enter a salary negotiation.

Are you getting paid a fair salary?

Just found a new job? The Robert Half Salary Guide contains Australian salary benchmarking information for several industries and insights into salary negotiation

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