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What to Say in a Salary Negotiation over Email or Phone: Tips and Best Practices

Aug 10, 2023
What to Say in a Salary Negotiation over Email or Phone: Tips and Best Practices

Salary negotiation is a crucial aspect of securing the right compensation for your skills and experience. It can be a delicate subject, but by employing effective strategies, you can ensure you are fairly remunerated. In this article, we provide you with valuable tips for negotiating salary via email or phone, along with an email template for crafting your negotiation messages.

In this article, we guide you through the process of negotiating your salary through email, breaking it down into simple steps. We explore how to structure an effective email when negotiating your salary to present a compelling case for a pay raise. By equipping yourself with these strategies, you can confidently navigate salary discussions and advocate for the compensation you deserve.

When Should You Send a Salary Negotiation Email?

Once you have received an offer, it is crucial to respond promptly and start preparing for negotiation. No one wants to jump into the unknown, so it is important to be aware of what the salary offer entails before starting the negotiation process. Delaying your response might give the impression to the hiring team that you are not interested in the position and do not look forward to future collaboration. Take note of any deadlines provided and ensure you initiate the negotiation well ahead of them.

If you feel hesitant about asking for a higher salary, remember that even back in 2013, 84 percent of employers expected job applicants to negotiate their starting salary. According to 2019 stats, 70 percent of employers were prepared to see candidates decline the initial offer as well. With the current cost of living crisis affecting many individuals, negotiating a higher salary has become a necessary step in improving financial stability. Salary negotiation emails may seem challenging to compose, but they are an essential tool for increasing your earnings. While salary discussions typically occur when accepting a new job, they can also be pursued for internal promotions to secure a well-deserved pay raise. 

It’s also worth noting that salary negotiations, when done respectfully, are usually not a reason for an employer to withdraw their offer. It is common for prospective employers to see candidates request higher compensation by negotiating salary offers via email, and you are unlikely to be the first or last person to do so.

Negotiating Salary over Email or Phone

Like many other significant work matters, negotiating salary by email has become the go-to communication tool for many. Understandably, when faced with a salary proposal for a deserved job title, immediately accepting might seem tempting, especially if the initial offer has arrived in your inbox.

Regardless of whether you choose to negotiate salary through email or by writing a letter requesting a salary increase, it is important to adhere to the following strategy:

  • Be polite.
  • Speak directly.
  • Express your expectations clearly from the beginning.
  • Support your expectations with relevant data (average salaries, examples when possible, etc.).
  • Know your limits and boundaries.
  • Remain open to further negotiations.

However, email might not always be the most suitable format for delicate salary negotiations. Negotiating salary over the phone can be an effective way to discuss your compensation package with a potential employer. Here are some tips to navigate the negotiation process over the phone:

  • Know the market and average salary ranges. Understand your own value in the job market based on your skills, experience, and qualifications. Check out the compensation rates on Indeed and Glassdoor.

  • Wait for the right moment. If the employer brings up salary expectations first, you can respond accordingly. However, if they don't mention it, wait for an appropriate moment to bring it up.

  • Stay confident. You need to be self-assured about your candidacy and skill set throughout the whole conversation. Clearly articulate your skills and achievements and the value you can bring to the company. Highlight any unique qualifications or experiences that make you a valuable candidate. Practice the discussion by talking to the mirror or a random object in your room. Once you have gone through it a couple of times you are likely to sound much more confident.

  • Show your enthusiasm and interest. Emphasize your strong desire to contribute to the organization's success. This can help create a positive atmosphere for negotiation.

  • Talk about a salary range rather than a specific sum. Research the rates in the industry and use them when discussing the compensation range; this will create room for negotiation. Start with the higher end of the range, but be prepared to justify your expectations based on your qualifications and market value.

  • Be an active listener. Pay attention to what the employer says during the negotiation. Take note of any concessions they make or additional benefits they offer. This information will be crucial for reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

  • Be ready to compromise. Consider alternative options if the employer is unable to meet your desired salary. This could include performance-based salary reviews, a probationary period, or other incentives.

  • Take your time to consider. If you receive an offer that doesn't meet your expectations, don't be afraid to ask for some time to review it. This gives you an opportunity to evaluate the offer, consider your options, and respond in a thoughtful manner.

  • Write a follow-up email. After the phone call, send a professional email or letter summarizing the main points discussed during the negotiation. Confirm your understanding of the offer and any agreed-upon terms. This helps avoid miscommunication and provides a written record of the agreement.

Negotiation is a normal part of getting a job. Approach the conversation with a positive attitude and a willingness to find a solution that works for both parties. Receiving a job offer with a lower salary than expected can elicit mixed emotions. While the opportunity to work for a desirable company is exciting, the feeling of being undervalued can be discouraging. The good news is, you don't have to settle for less. Prior to accepting the offer, you can initiate a salary negotiation, which can improve the conditions of the job you’ve applied for. 

What Not to Do via Email

As you craft the perfect response, there are certain do’s and don'ts to keep in mind. While there are actions that can boost your chances of success, there are also things you should steer clear of while negotiating salary over email. Although some practices may not necessarily disqualify you from a job, they can hinder your chances to get the salary you want.

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To increase your chances of success, avoid the following:

  • Making threats. Avoid issuing ultimatums to your potential employer. Instead, view it as a negotiation and remain open to other possibilities.

  • Getting personal. Refrain from discussing your personal financial situation, such as student loans or credit card debt. Neither going into your personal life in detail nor mentioning your current salary is relevant, and doing so might not help your negotiation. Additionally, disclosing your current salary is illegal in some cities and states. Keep it professional.

  • Discussing your current compensation package. Don't focus on the perks of your current job. Instead, concentrate on what you're worth and how you can contribute to your new role.

  • Talking in a negative tone. It’s very important to keep a respectful and positive approach throughout the conversation. Hostility is not your friend here.

  • Speaking poorly of your past or present employer. This could reflect negatively on your character.

What to Include in a Salary Negotiation Email

To craft a successful salary negotiation email, there are four key components you should include.


Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name in your email's opening lines. By the time you receive an offer you are likely to know, or at least be aware of, all the key stakeholders. At this stage, therefore, avoid general phrases such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Team” and instead use the recipient’s name.

Express Gratitude

Express appreciation for the job offer by conveying your enthusiasm for the position and gratitude for the offer they’ve made to you.

Present Your Desired Salary

While acknowledging the proposed salary, politely express that your expectations are higher. Give a salary range you were hoping for, along with your reasoning.

Finish with Final Remarks

Close your email by thanking the employer and expressing your eagerness to continue the conversation. This is an excellent opportunity to negotiate for a higher salary, so make sure to ask if there is any room for negotiation.

To wrap up your salary negotiation email, it's important to express gratitude once again for the job offer. Let the recruiter know that you're still interested in the position and that you're open to further discussion. Use a polite closing statement and include your name to end the email on a positive note.

Salary Negotiation Email Example

Dear ,

I am thrilled to have received your offer today and am excited about the prospect of joining and making a significant impact.

I would like to discuss the compensation package with you. After conducting thorough research, I found that individuals in similar roles to mine in earn annually, with top performers earning substantially more.

Given my stellar performance at , where I , I firmly believe that I am a top performer.

I am wondering if there is any room for negotiation regarding the salary. If we can reach a figure closer to the amount I have outlined, I would be delighted to join your team immediately.

I eagerly await your response. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone at to let me know your final decision.


Salary Negotiation Email Tips

Salary is just one aspect of the overall compensation package. You can always discuss other components such as bonuses, benefits, vacation time, professional development opportunities, and flexible work arrangements. 

Consider also doing the following:

  • Research average salaries for comparable positions in your city or region to support your request.
  • Highlight any skills you have that go beyond the job description, especially those that could benefit the company.
  • Demonstrate results by using data to back up your past achievements that are relevant to the job. Share how your skills could benefit the company.


To secure fair compensation for your skills and experience, it's important to negotiate your salary effectively. Whether you negotiate through email or over the phone, it's essential to be polite, direct, and clear about your expectations while supporting them with relevant data. Avoid making threats, discussing your current compensation package, speaking poorly of past employers, or using a negative tone when negotiating a salary offer via email.

Don’t forget to express gratitude for the offer, provide your desired salary range and reasoning, and finish by stating your eagerness to continue the conversation. You can also discuss other components of the compensation package, such as bonuses and benefits. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of achieving the salary you deserve.

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