Should I mention salary discussions in an interview thank you note?
May 2, 2013 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, I had a third interview with the same company and I want to send a followup note today. The interview went well until we got to salary discussions. I was caught off guard and did not respond as well as I should have. I already know I should have had her give me numbers first, but like I said, I was caught off guard when she asked me how much I was expecting. I told her what I made in my last position, which was in a very expensive city and now I’m in a small Midwestern city. I knew as the number was coming out of my mouth that I was saying the wrong thing.

I backtracked a little and said my research indicated a range of B to D, a $20K range. (This range was much less than the number that popped out of my mouth of its own volition.) She then said she was expecting to pay between A and B, a $10K range, where B is her ceiling and my floor. The range I quoted is a little on the high side and hers a little on the low side.

I felt she wasn't as warm after we talked money. I also know that there are a number of other candidates. However, three interviews would indicate a decent degree of interest in me. She asked if I was still interested and I said that I was. I really am excited about the position. (I also want the most money possible.)

Now I need to send a follow up email to express my continued interest and thank her for meeting with me. An offer has not been made and we’re not in negotiation so I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I feel like I should somehow address it. So, should I mention the salary, and if so, what do I say? Or do I ignore salary for now and just let my thank you note be sufficient to get across that I still want the job?
posted by shoesietart to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't mention it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:14 AM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd send a thank-you note, expressing the usual brief thanks. Next, tell her you hope you'll talk again soon. That should be enough to suggest you're not as far apart as she might think without your having to say it. I wouldn't mention it in the note directly.

If you meet again to negotiate that, you'll be better prepared with numbers relevant to the city, as well as the numbers relevant to your downward cost of living adjustments for the new region.

Good luck!
posted by Hylas at 11:17 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't say anything about the money. Just be enthusiastic about the position in your note and they will see that you're still interested.

If you are truly their top candidate, they will still make an offer and attempt to negotiate with you to bring your price down, and potentially internally to get the position more funding as well.
posted by trivia genius at 11:17 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, should I mention the salary

Nope. It's always in their interest to try to get you to cave on salary - we're talking big money here! If you indicate you are willing to compromise before they even make an offer, they'll know that you'll always be willing to work for a sub-par salary, which will hurt you in the long term.

Short answer - an employer that isn't willing to pay you appropriately for your work is not an employer you want to work for.
posted by saeculorum at 11:21 AM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: You put out your opening position. She put out her opening position.

Don't discuss salary again until you have an offer.
posted by 26.2 at 11:28 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So you've discussed the money, leave it lay. Send a thank you and really play up how much you want to be on her team.

I'll think good thoughts for you.

You can negotiate when they make the offer. You never know, there may be profit sharing or bonus or extra vacation days.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:35 AM on May 2, 2013

No. It's irrelevant to saying thanks and your indication that you want more contact is sufficient to indicate that you haven't closed the door on the matter.
posted by phearlez at 12:30 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

The fact that salary discussions were awkward is not necessarily a sign that they did not go well for you. Don't mention it in a follow up.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:17 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think you did just fine. You exhibited value -- you showed that you can command a higher salary in the Big City -- and you didn't undercut yourself by lowballing right out the gate.

Write your letter expressing your interest in the position, and let the chips fall where they may.

Especially if you happen to be a woman, keep in mind that women too often undervalue their labor, wage-wise, relative to men; so asking for your due might've feel uncomfortable, when in fact it was just the right thing to do.
posted by nacho fries at 1:35 PM on May 2, 2013

I just wanted to comment on this specifically: "I felt she wasn't as warm after we talked money." - This is a negotiating tactic!

First of all, this coldness may have been more your interpretation rather than reality. But if she was actually less warm, think of it as her negotiating technique, not her questioning your feasibility in the role. In every salary negotiation I've had with a company, that's how I would have described the reaction to my negotiating higher - the recruiter / HR rep becomes cold, less receptive, sometimes even seeming annoyed. But that never meant that they were any less interested in me nor did it mean that they weren't willing to discuss salary further.

I've realized this is how many people negotiate, and I often wonder if companies train people to do this. I think it's sometimes used to prime you to accept less, to try to curry their favor again. It sounds like you did a great job! Just say thank you and I'm so excited about this position!
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 2:04 PM on May 2, 2013

Best answer: Even if not a negotiating tactic, it's a natural reaction. We are not used to talking about money. Interviews, when going well, take on an easy, flowing, conversational tone. Talking about money breaks that tone, it just does. The only scenario in which it wouldn't change the tone would if you had thrown out a number comfortably *under* her budget.

So to echo the prevailing advice here, I wouldn't worry about it too much, and I would emphasize your interest in the follow up note with no mention of the salary issue.

(All that said, I have had this experience three times, not gotten any of the jobs, and (apparently) didn't learn from it twice. So if it doesn't work out, live and learn!)
posted by TonyRobots at 4:02 PM on May 2, 2013

No, mention anything else you discussed in the interview other than salary.
posted by John Cohen at 7:21 PM on May 2, 2013

« Older Help me plan a surreal vacation   |   Why is my young dog sometimes weird about entering... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.