Negotiating a Job Offer
June 7, 2013 2:39 PM   Subscribe

I have been offered a position with a company but they have low-balled the offer and downgraded the title (in my opinion). I have drafted an email response (which he encouraged since he is on vacation) and would love for the awesome brain trust to offer some thoughts!

The title issue is confusing because the want-ad was not very specific as to title (just using a generic profession term). In the interview they referred to a title that is one step above me however it is not out of reach as I have been at my level for more than 10 years and very excellent at what I do. I would be happy to continue with my usual standard title but they seemed to have made up a title that I have never seen in my realm. The money is a larger deal to me though.

I would like to throw out the email response that I have drafted for your opinions.

Mr Mr,

This is wonderful news.

I am thrilled at the prospect of working for ABC Company et al., and I know that I will bring a lot of value. I appreciate the offer at $60,000, but was expecting to be in the $75,000 to $85,000 range, plus bonus, based on the responsibilities of the position as well as my experience, drive and performance. I would appreciate if reevaluation of the salary would be something you would consider. Also, would you be open to calling the position 'Vice President of Money' instead of Weird Title Name?

I look forward to your thoughts.


Also, he did not mention PTO but did mention that I'd be eligible for various benefits after a certain amount of time (he was actually that vague except he did mention bonus which is why I included it above). I know it is important to address these additional issues now but just don't know how to phrase so many points without appearing pushy.

As a side note, I am willing to pass on the position if they don't give me the minimum salary. I suspect they lowballed because I am currently in a position that is 1/3 my normal pay (beats unemployment). The offer is 2x that so I think they expect me to be thrilled. The position is worth what I suggested...
posted by Snackpants to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would really hesitate to do this via email. My rule is that if it's anything complicated, where tone of voice can be read any number of ways, I will pick up the phone.

That said, I'd start by stating that given your experience and the average salaries for this position, this offer is below the norm. The fact that you currently earn much less than you should be earning shouldn't be the way they evaluate your worth (and I often do everything I can to get my clients to look at what a salary should be for particular roles rather than salary histories to pay their new employees appropriately). So I wouldn't even discuss your current salary. I might ask, if this were a position where they already have a number of people similarly situated, if this offer is in line with what others in the same position are earning... but given the strange issue with titles and responsibilities that might not be feasible.

Focus on what you bring to the table and, as with any negotiation, ask a lot of open ended questions.

And good luck!
posted by ohyouknow at 2:51 PM on June 7, 2013

As written, your letter doesn't give any reasons why your pay should be increased or title changed. Why is the position worth $85,000? Why are you worth $85,000 to the company? And if you're going to ask for an executive title, do so in a decisive way ("I'd like my title to be VP of VD. This is a more accurate representation of the job that I'll be performing because x y and z. &c.")
posted by disconnect at 3:03 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

You need to do this over the phone, not over email. In addition, you're not stating your leverage - if you really are willing to pass on the position given the salary, you need to tell them that. You should phrase your response as, "I'm not able to accept the position with the proposed salary. I would accept at $xx,xxx with a job title of Vice President of Awesomeness." There's fundamentally nothing else that matters to them - they've decided that you're worth employing, and they are interested in getting the price to employ you as low as possible. To the employer, it doesn't matter why your salary requirements are what they are, just that they are what they are. Phrasing your salary expectations as anything less than a requirement (which I suspect is what you've communicated, intentionally or unintentionally, to the employer) indicates to the employer that they can employ you for less than what you want.
posted by saeculorum at 3:27 PM on June 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is wonderful news.

How about, "Great to hear from you. I'm delighted that you'd like me to join COMPANY."

I appreciate the offer at $60,000, but was expecting to be in the $75,000 to $85,000 range, plus bonus,

If you say this, prepare to be happy to accept $75k with no bonus. I think at this point you'd be better off making a specific counter-offer than offering a range of options.
posted by arnicae at 3:28 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think at this point you'd be better off making a specific counter-offer than offering a range of options.

Yes, apparently (according to a linkedin type article I read the other day which I can't find anymore - sorry for being vague) a specific, non-round figure for a counter-offer will provide a better chance of getting the higher salary. It implies that you've done your homework and the specific figure is what you're actually worth, and tends to anchor the negotiation much more firmly than simply saying $75k - $85k.

You should probably also cite sources e.g., or at least reference the 'research on industry standard salary for this position in this area' to back up whatever number you give them.
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:37 PM on June 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for your input, I did add more reasons to support my worth. I let the title go as they are both executive positions... the one they called it is actually an umbrella term which encompasses my usual title, for one. Never heard it actually used but it's still the same level so I'm okay with it. Email is sent, fingers crossed! Thanks!!
posted by Snackpants at 3:48 PM on June 7, 2013

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