It’s a common misconception that you can’t negotiate salary after an agency makes an offer. Indeed, you can. Bring up your unique qualifications and needs, such as your educational background and work experience, and the fact that you have to relocate for the position.


Information related to negotiating a federal job offer:

Grade or Step Level
Under the government pay system, it can be difficult to negotiate a higher GS level—as the pay grades are called under the government’s General Schedule—than the one listed in the job description. But each grade has 10 steps that come with a higher salary and career advancement, and those step levels are more flexible. If you negotiate to change the starting step level, but the agency’s original offer remains firm, you can still accept it, without consequences.

Career Ladders
A “Career Ladder” position enables an employee to move quickly up the job ladder. If you’re hired for such a position you may start at a lower GS level, but you could end up advancing in grade level faster than what is typical noncareer ladder positions.

When considering an offer, future employees should also review items other than salary, including:

Federal Health, Retirement and Other Benefits

Student Loan Repayment and Forgiveness
Learn more about the student loan repayment and forgiveness programs the federal government offers.

Federal Leadership Development Programs
If you have a job offer and are interested in taking college classes while working in government, you could be eligible for reimbursement of a percentage of your tuition and course materials, under the Federal Academic Alliances initiative. Ask the hiring officer about including this benefit in your job offer.

Recruitment Incentives
An agency may pay a recruitment incentive if it has determined that the position is likely to be difficult to fill without one.

Relocation Expenses
If you’re offered a new position that is based 50 miles or more from your current worksite, try asking for a relocation incentive.

Flexible Schedules and Telework Policies
Many agencies offer flexible work schedules and telework. Ask the hiring manager for information about an agency’s policy.