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Should you use another job offer to ask for a higher salary?

It is essential that you handle the situation strategically to ensure that you're successful in negotiating the highest salary possible

If you’ve been offered another job, you may be considering using this to ask your current employer for a higher salary. Whilst this can be tempting, there’s always the possibility that your boss won’t make a counter-offer.

Scenario 1: You are interviewing with a number of employers and you receive two job offers

Firstly, compare the total compensation packages of both offers and ensure that both are within your required salary range. It’s essential that you take into account not just base salary, but any bonuses and extras.

Secondly, put the salaries aside for a minute and think about the jobs themselves. Which one do you want more? Compare the companies, the environments, the job descriptions and the people you’d work with. Where can you see yourself working every day?

Once you have decided which job you want more, telephone the recruiter with whom you have been working and have an honest discussion. Let them know that you have two job offers and that you’re most excited about this one, but mention that you have an offer from another company which offers a higher salary and more benefits. Then you’ll need to state what exactly you want from them.

Whilst you’re interviewing, let recruiters know that you’re speaking to more than one company. This will show them that you’re in high demand, and it’s good for people who are thinking about making you a job offer to know that.

Scenario 2: You are currently employed but have been offered a job by another company

If you’re happily employed, but you receive a competing offer for your services, you’re in a strong bargaining position. However, it’s important to think before you act.

Whatever the salary for the competing job offer, if you decide to use it to negotiate a higher salary with your current employer, there is always the chance that they won’t counter-offer. In this case, you’ll be left with two options. To take the job, or risk continuing in your current position with an employer who may now see you as disloyal.

It is therefore essential that you think carefully before using a competing job offer as leverage. If the jobs are just as appealing, or if the new role edges out your current one, it absolutely makes sense to use the new offer to negotiate.

However, if you are in doubt about the new role or are uncertain that your current employer will be able to match the offer from the new company, or think that it could damage your relationship with your boss, you may want to think twice.

No matter which scenario best fits the situation you’re in, don’t forget that even if you have a competing offer, it’s important to follow the standard rules of salary negotiation. Make sure that you know your market worth and how much you should earn for any given role.

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