How To Negotiate Salary for Federal Job Offers in 6 Steps (With Tips)

Every government position has a pay grade with steps that define the range of salaries. Depending on your years of experience, specialized experience, critical skills, and — most importantly — the agency’s budget, the HR specialist and supervisor may have a range in mind for you to choose from. You should have no trouble receiving $44,000 or even $48,000 for this position if the salary range is $43,000 to $50,000.

According to the Office of Personnel Management, agencies are permitted to pay the loan holder up to a maximum of $10,000 annually and not more than $60,000 for each employee over the course of their employment. Not all agencies take part in this program, and it’s important to remember that it frequently entails taxes and service obligations (where the pre-tax amount of money must be repaid if the recipient leaves the organization before the service is finished).

How to negotiate salary for federal job offers
  • Review your offer. …
  • Determine your General Schedule level. …
  • Consider your qualifications. …
  • Calculate your expenses. …
  • Consult a mentor. …
  • Accept your best offer. …
  • Ask for more than you want. …
  • Include private market value.

How to negotiate salary for federal job offers

You can take the following actions to haggle for a higher salary in a federal position:

1. Review your offer

When you receive an offer for a federal job, it usually includes information on salary, health insurance, vacation time, reimbursement for moving expenses, and student loan payments. The General Schedule, which has 15 advancement grades and 10 level salary ranges for each, serves as the foundation for the pay ranges offered by federal agencies. You might be able to negotiate to a higher level in your grade to increase your salary if you feel that your placement on the schedule undervalues your qualifications and contributions.

2. Determine your General Schedule level

The General Schedule is most likely cited in the job posting to demonstrate the position’s pay grade. For instance, if the job description specifies that it is a Grade 9 position, the grade’s top pay is $59,907 However, your salary offer falls into one of ten levels for this grade. Most likely, you won’t raise your grade, but you might raise your level of negotiation and raise your salary offer. You can still accept your initial offer if your hiring manager rejects your request.

3. Consider your qualifications

Think about your qualifications that make you stand out from other candidates when negotiating your salary. Remember to use your skills in your negotiation because the company wants to hire you over other applicants. Think about how your educational background and professional background can help you succeed in the job they have offered you. You can also look up the value those abilities have historically had for other businesses or organizations. If you have other job offers, you can build your negotiation for the value of your services using the salaries they have offered.

4. Calculate your expenses

Calculating your expenses can assist you in choosing the appropriate salary request. Here are some expenses you might incur as a result of changing jobs:

5. Consult a mentor

To discuss your salary offer and your negotiation, speak with a mentor. They may be knowledgeable about salary expectations for your position and qualifications as well as valuable advice regarding what the agency is likely to accept. Before you start your negotiations, speaking to someone with more federal system experience can help you feel confident in your request. Additionally, they might notice qualities in you that you might have missed. Before you negotiate with your hiring manager, have your mentor review your counteroffer and provide guidance.

6. Accept your best offer

Be prepared to make some concessions when entering into negotiations for your request. You can make mention of the fact that they are non-negotiable to you during the negotiations. However, if your hiring manager is unable to alter the offer they made, you may still accept it. Asking to negotiate may result in new salary opportunities for you, making the inconvenience worthwhile. However, be prepared to accept the best offer that is made.

What are federal jobs?

Federal jobs are employment positions with the federal government. The three branches of the federal government each have positions open to civilians in fields like science, emergency services, criminal justice, and food safety:

These positions typically pay well and provide a wide range of benefits, including health insurance and paid time off. These jobs are frequently competitive due to the prestige and benefits attached to them.

Additional tips for negotiating salary

Additional pointers for negotiating your federal salary are provided below:

Ask for more than you want

Consider naming a number higher than the salary that would satisfy you when deciding what number to negotiate for. If they are unable to meet the first number you mention, expanding the terms of your request will give you more room to negotiate. Additionally, it might give them the chance to meet you at a price you find more agreeable. Additionally, you can negotiate benefits like more days off or additional benefits from your job that aren’t salary-based.

Include private market value

Based on the value of your skills in the private market, you can bargain. If you have offers from other companies, you can use them in negotiations to show your hiring manager that you deserve a higher salary. Think about the abilities you bring to the position, and be sure to mention them in your negotiation to demonstrate your worth to the department.

Provide an exact number

Be specific in your request when you ask for an increase in pay or benefits. Give a precise figure so your hiring manager can assess it, check with their superiors, and accept or reject it. Being vague increases the possibility that the hiring manager will interpret your request differently than you intend. Giving a precise figure also demonstrates that you have done your homework and are well-prepared with a figure you calculated using facts and evidence. A well-researched figure might be more convincing than a question that seems random.

Prioritize your requests

Let’s say you have requirements for certain benefits or salaries that are more important to you than others. In that case, you can rank them in order of importance so that your hiring manager can accept or reject them. You can prioritize these demands in your negotiations, for instance, if a $5,000 pay raise is more important to you than more vacation days. Being open with your hiring manager about your priorities can help you reach a compromise. They might not agree to all of your requests, but they will fight for the ones that are most important to you.

Get it in writing

Keep all of your correspondence and agreements in writing whenever you are bargaining and deciding on terms for a deal. Write your requests for negotiation in order of priority and send them via email. Keeping a paper trail can provide you with references for your negotiation. It can also assist you in monitoring any negotiations progress. If your employment contract contains contradictions, you can also refer to written communication about the negotiation.

How to Negotiate Your Federal Salary in the Tentative Job Offer


How do government jobs negotiate salary?

3 Tips to Negotiate a Government Salary
  1. Tip #1: Understand government pay scales. Understand where the initial offer you received came from and where it might go before you start any negotiations.
  2. Tip #2: Think outside the paycheck. …
  3. Tip #3: Don’t forget the lessons you learned in the private sector.

Can you lose job offer negotiating salary?

You can absolutely lose a job offer by negotiating the salary, but that would probably happen if you make irrational demands and treat the hiring manager badly. Otherwise, hiring managers and employers are perfectly okay with and anticipate salary negotiation.

What is an acceptable salary negotiation range?

Consider negotiating lower if 10-20% places you above the average. Is the pay in-line with average pay, but still believe you can negotiate based on your skills? Consider a range between 5-7% above You don’t want to take a chance with a business that genuinely cares about your financial security.

How do you negotiate salary after receiving a job offer?

How to Negotiate Salary After You Get a Job Offer
  1. Become familiar with industry salary trends. You should go into a salary negotiation with as much knowledge as you can.
  2. Build your case. …
  3. Tell the truth. …
  4. Factor in perks and benefits. …
  5. Practice your delivery. …
  6. Know when to wrap it up. …
  7. Get everything in writing. …
  8. Stay positive.

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