7 Steps to Leverage a Counteroffer for a Larger Salary

Put yourself in the best position to leverage a counteroffer and win a salary negotiation — or retreat with dignity.


Leveraging a competitive offer can be a tricky and potentially risky affair. Follow these steps to put yourself in the best position to leverage a competitive offer for a better deal or successfully retreat, if necessary.

Don’t bluff
If you’re not prepared to take the counteroffer, don’t try to leverage it to obtain a raise. Be prepared for either party to refuse to negotiate or rescind the offer.

Act before Day 1
Your best bet to leverage a competitive offer is during negotiations with a potential new employer. They are already in the process of approving a salary and a range for you.

Evaluate yourself
If you’re asking a current employer to match an offer, know whether you’re overcompensated – in terms of salary, benefits and so on – and/or overperforming.

Consider the reaction
At a current employer, the company’s performance and your treatment during the past 12 months should predict how they will react. And when it comes to a potential new employer, consider your treatment during the negotiation process to get a feel for their response.

State your demands
It’s not about the money. List everything from working conditions to staff assignments that will make you happy in the new job.

Take it off the table
Be prepared to give up some of your demands, which will please the other party and improve your bargaining power. Know what you’re willing to give up and what won’t abandon.

Know when to quit
If you can’t afford to lose the offer or you’re not truly prepared to leave, be prepared to abandon the effort if the other party declines to negotiate.