Help me negotiate for more pay/days off
May 10, 2016 7:38 PM   Subscribe

I was laid off at the end of January. I have had a few interviews and just got an offer. It's less than I was making, and with a little less vacation time. But, it's a position that sounds like it's good experience. And the company seems stable. How can I tactfully negotiate for more money? I'd like about 20% more to be where I was when laid off. I'd also be interested in a little less than 20% more if it meant that I got more vacation days. What's the best way to do this without sounding greedy or lazy? Or just take it and keep looking because it's a job.
posted by bodgy to Work & Money (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You should call the HR person and ask for more money. 20% more may be tough. I'd say I'd like 10 (or 15%) more and one week of additional vaca! They will either say yes, here is something in between, or no. They probably won't take back the offer if you make a reasonable request.
posted by Kalmya at 7:42 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you done your research in terms of other firms to determine fmv of what other positions similar to what you'd be doing pays? Its a stronger bargaining position if you can point to a third party source and say "I've done my research and job positions of this nature with similar experience and background are higher in range of salary and benefits." being able to justify it that way is a much stronger position than an amorphous "I'd like to make more than I did previously"
posted by Karaage at 7:57 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

First, go to Glassdoor, and see what the company and the salaries are like. This will give you an idea of what's feasible.

HR doesn't really care what you'll accept, once I got indignant and they added $5000 to the salary. Like in less than a minute. I might counter with, "This is significantly less that I had in mind, I was thinking from Foo to Bah (Foo being what you were making, and Bah being slightly more) I suppose I could compromise a bit on the salary if I could get more PTO. Is there an annual bonus?"

But do consider the entire package, perhaps the 401(k) has a more generous match, or there's a bonus, or the benefits package is staller. Do they let you go to professional conferences? What about training and professional development? Review the whole thing and if it makes you reasonably happy, accept it.

Mazel tov on the offer!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:31 PM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

"I'm really excited about the job, but the salary is quite a significant step backwards from what I was making in my last job. I do realize you offer a lot of stability and (other additional benefits), but I would like to discuss how to close the gap."

Then ask for a 25% increase (the extra 5% is for the missed vacation days) and be prepared to negotiate it down. If you end up with less than the 25% but with an amount you can live with then I would say: "I understand it isn't possible to start me at xx even with all of my previous experience. Would it then be possible to:"

a) Add more vacation or PT
b) Add in a predefined salary review based on certain criteria (if they cite your experience in the company as a reason to not comply.
c) Bonus or incentive scheme

As Ruthless Bunny notes, please look at the whole package, including benefits, and understand how it really stacks up against your former job, but don't be afraid to negotiate. As long as you do it in a respectful way, it should be fine.
posted by frumiousb at 9:46 PM on May 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

You are not greedy - you're worth it - you made it in the last position. You're not lazy - in fact asking for more vacation time is trendy these days. HR doesn't care as long as you aren't a giant pain (meaning, say, yelling and acting unprofessional, or threatening, or lying that you have other offers, or you keep coming back 10 times for more concessions after you get some increases.) Simply asking for a counter offer is not being a giant pain.

Practice in a mirror if you're having trouble asking. Sounds dumb but it works - I wanted amount N, and my mentor told me to ask for 3N, and I just couldn't do it until I practiced. (I got the 3N.)

"Yes, thanks for the offer, but I was making Foo in my last job, so I was hoping you could up the salary to Bar. " (or vacation or whatever - like the other folks have coached.) Just ask. They are expecting you to. You don't need any more of a reason than that.

Worst thing they can do is say No, and then you take the original offer. Most places have built in a buffer so they will likely be able to bump you up at least a bit. You don't get what you don't ask for.
posted by troyer at 1:17 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here are a few other salary-negotiating things you can say (pick one or more):
Is there any flexibility on salary?
My understanding is that the market range for this type of position is $X to $Y.
I was hoping for/expecting a number closer to $X, and an additional week of vacation time. Is that a possibility?

As Karaage said, I'd focus on market rates instead of exclusively focusing on what you used to make at your last job. (Although I like frumiousb's script if you choose to go that route.)
posted by chickenmagazine at 3:18 AM on May 11, 2016

FYI glass door is mostly rubbish on salaries and company reports, made up mostly of embittered former employees. It should be regarded with extreme prejudice.
posted by smoke at 4:39 PM on May 11, 2016

Be careful. There is evidence that not only do women who negotiate succeed at a far lower rate than men, they actually face a penalty for it (whereas a man will tend to be respected more, even if the raise is not granted).

Lean Out: The Dangers for Women Who Negotiate

Women Don’t Negotiate Because They’re Not Idiots

"Women who negotiate often trigger backlash for gender deviance. Women are supposed to be nice and not overly-demanding. Women who negotiate flout these mandates. The Bowles study found that women’s tone didn’t matter much. Whether women asked simply or assertively mattered very little."...

"But it’s complicated. If women act too feminine and don’t ask, they end up with lower salaries. If they act too masculine and ask, then people don’t want to work with them. Women walk a tightrope between being too feminine and too masculine. Men don’t, which is one reason why office politics are trickier for women than for men."

In your shoes, I would look for advice geared towards women that takes this information into account. (Women are not idiots. If you believe that women are not idiots, then there are reasons that women are much less likely to negotiate than men). Then I would proceed carefully and listen to your gut, which is probably better tuned to dealing with bullshit than you might believe. And honestly, if you need the money, and decide not to negotiate and to take the job, don't feel like a chump. The cards are stacked against you, and you have to do what you need to do, to live to fight another day.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:38 PM on May 11, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you all! I ended up with a 10% increase on my salary and more vacation days!

I used the method chickenmagazine's tactic.

Thanks for helping me realize that I'm worth it and it's ok to negotiate!!
posted by bodgy at 4:53 AM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yay, congratulations! It's amazing how much you can get just by asking!
posted by chickenmagazine at 2:37 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

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