How to Present a Job Offer to Your Boss—with Hopes of Getting a Counter Offer

There’s debate about whether or not using another job offer in an attempt to squeeze a counter offer out of your current company is the best way to climb the corporate ladder (hint: it's probably not), but plenty of people choose to go that route. If you’ve researched your potential new company, have a firm grip on the going market rate for your position, and decide you’re going to dive in hoping for a counter offer, keep in mind there are certain ways to approach the situation that will make the whole process go smoother for everyone.

Be tactful

This is one of those situations where subtlety and tact go a long way. Don’t walk in and cut straight to the chase. Instead, Alex Twersky, cofounder of Resume Deli, tells CNN you should view your job offer as a backup plan if salary negotiations don’t work at the outset of your conversation with your boss: "First, approach your boss…about where you see yourself now, how you would like the role to change and responsibilities and salary to grow." If that discussion doesn’t lead anywhere productive, then you can (gently) bring up the fact that you’ve been offered another job.

Remember the positives

Once you’ve broken the news that you have a job offer from another company in hand, it’s time to switch it into high gear positive mode. Mentioning a competing job offer will understandably make a boss defensive since you’re essentially saying you need something extra in order to stay. As a result, you should remind her of all the positive qualities you bring to the company and reiterate the great things you love (or at least like) about your current organization. Olivia Jaras, founder of, recommends to you “assert your loyalty to the company and team, and then tell them about the other opportunity and ask for help in solving the problem.”

Keep the numbers vague

Once you’ve entered the point of the conversation where salary negotiations are underway, remember to avoid providing the exact monetary offer you received. Instead, Fast Company suggests keeping in mind that salary increases usually occur in the two to five percent range, so walking in hoping for a 30 percent raise simply isn’t going to happen unless you take on a significantly heftier role within the company. If your boss pushes you for a specific number, simply give a range—this will allow you more wiggle room in terms of negotiating numbers.

Remain humble

A job offer from another company, especially when that offer comes with a higher paycheck, can be extremely good for the ego. However, sauntering into your current boss’s office and immediately presenting the situation as one of “This is the other offer I got, what can you do for me” is not going to get you what you want (unless you want to immediately get fired).

As hiring and recruiting expert Jessica Miller-Merrell says, “Your boss is a human being. He or she may have the same thoughts, fears, and frustrations as you. Acknowledge that and talk about what matters most to you.” You may be important to your current company, but if you present yourself in a manner that is in any way construed as threatening or bullying, no boss is going to want to keep you on—no matter how great your professional contributions are.

The number one thing to remember if you’re hoping to leverage a job offer from another company in order to get a raise is that you have to be prepared for your current company to refuse to engage—and brace yourself for the possibility of being let go as a result. As long as that’s a risk you’re willing to take (and the job offer you’re leveraging is actually a job you would want to take if need be), this tactic can lead to the raise you’ve been dreaming about.

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