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I got the job...but did I maximize my potential earnings during the interview?
February 10, 2011 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I got the job...but did I maximize my potential earnings during the interview?

I accepted a position, which represented a significant jump career-wise (from a consultant position in government to a coordinator position in the private sector) and should help me out, long-term. I am happy with the terms of my agreement and the increase in responsibility (I'm in my mid-20s, second "real" job and one that I got without any networking help in a new city), but wonder if my strategy during negotiation could be improved upon in the future.

The job posting said that salary was commensurate with experience and qualifications; when asked what my salary requirements were, I ended up offering a round number (which represented an 8% raise on my previous position) and they stated that it was within the range of the position.

When I received my written offer, my number was at the top of the range for the position, or so the document says. I am also entitled to full benefits, pension matching and 10% in performance-based bonuses, but I'm curious if I played my hand too early by suggesting where my salary was previously.

I know that a 20% year-over-year increase is great (assuming I hit my performance targets) and the benefits are better, however I'm wondering if the coincidence of my requirements hitting their "maximum" salary for the position is just that, or a ploy to make me think I negotiated well. Thoughts?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Don't get buyer's remorse. Be happy with your success, and look to maximize future earnings when you come up for review.
posted by smitt at 1:19 PM on February 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Doesn't really matter, does it? And there's no way to tell, which is (if it's a ploy) why they did it.
posted by kindall at 1:23 PM on February 10, 2011


Are you happy with the money? It sounds like you are. Every negotiation situation is different. Ideally, it's best to let them throw out a number and then you can either work within that or see if you can get them to raise it or throw in other perks -- extra vacation days, continuing education, an annual conference pass, etc. But, since you've got a number, go with it. Do a great job, document your success and be prepared to negotiate harder at your next review. Congratulations!
posted by amanda at 1:25 PM on February 10, 2011


Those of us that are unemployed are having a real hard time not providing a snarky response to the horror of you getting a new job with a significant raise ;)

Really, stop looking for stuff to worry about. Work hard and earn yourself another fat raise next year.
posted by COD at 1:26 PM on February 10, 2011


I think you probably did pretty well, although it's usually a loser's game to negotiate against yourself by picking a number out of thin air. In your case, choosing numbers based on your prior employment is not a bad strategy, especially if you improved your position substantially better than you could have gotten with a mere raise or performance review at the old job. Also, picking higher numbers increases your risk of losing the position.
posted by Hylas at 1:33 PM on February 10, 2011


It's very unlikely you randomly hit on their "maximum" number. Maximums are incredibly fluid and are more a suggested guideline from HR or Finance. In my experience they can range quite widely if the hiring manager wants to hire you.

Next time I would let them name a salary range for you, and avoid naming your price until you have a better sense of the job.

If you do have to name a price... A good guideline for salary negotiations is to figure out what you need to be very happy with the salary (both your basic needs and your "feeling valued" needs) - that is your bottom line. You will be firm about the bottom line, and would not take the position if that is not met. Everything else is gravy, so you should be thrilled if you end up higher than your bottom line. Once you know your bottom line, ask for a bit more to provide negotiating room (I usually ask for about 10% more). I don't always negotiate salary offers if they come in above my bottom line - because that is solidly in gravy territory.

All of that being said, it's too late for this particular job and you sound happy - so not worth worrying about!!
posted by rainydayfilms at 1:52 PM on February 10, 2011


Firstly congratulations!

I agree with other posters that in future it would be wise to find out the salary range in advance of the interview, as you can then say things like "based on my skills and experience, I'd be looking for an offer towards the middle / upper end (delete as appropriate) of the salary scale." and put the ball back in their court. But it still sounds like you've done a deal that you're happy with, so it's probably not worth second guessing that too much.

Yeah, they could have lied about your salary requirement being at the top of the scale. Then again, they could be telling the truth and if you'd asked for more, they would have hired someone else... At second jobber level, they're less likely to go above the salary range for an exceptional candidate when someone else who was slightly less impressive at interview but was employable and hit their numbers was on offer. The more senior the position, the more flexible salary range seems to become...

In some ways, finding out if you could have negotiated a higher salary is now less important than finding out how to increase your salary now that you're in your new job. I'm sure you know the basics - try and find out what your colleagues are making, get some clear objectives set (so that you can use meeting and exceeding them as a basis for asking for a pay rise in your annual review), and document everything that you achieve / positive feedback from clients / colleagues etc that you can use as supporting evidence.

Good luck in your new job!
posted by finding.perdita at 2:19 PM on February 10, 2011


but I'm curious if I played my hand too early by suggesting where my salary was previously.

Long before you did your interview and revealed any salary information, the position was approved internally and assigned a (narrow) range of salary in someone's budget.

...mid-20s, second "real" job

Unless you hit .395 the last two years or have other outstanding qualifications, you had no hand to play so you could hardly have played it wrong. Had you asked for something outside the approved range the likely reply would have been - "this is the salary we can offer."

As others say, as long as you are satisfied with the offer, you should be happy.
posted by three blind mice at 2:25 PM on February 10, 2011


I believe your strategy during negotiation could be improved upon in the future. In general, I'm under the impression that "He Who Speaks First, Loses". The small amount of research I've done on this topic suggests that you're in a much better position to negotiate if you can get a number from them before offering them your own.

But don't beat yourself up, you could have done much worse. I have a friend who low-balled himself so badly that they offered him $10K over his initial request. Enjoy the pay bump!
posted by funkiwan at 7:27 PM on February 10, 2011


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