Salary (Re-)Negotiation?
June 14, 2016 4:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm on the hunt for a new job and, because I'm an idiot, low-balled myself when Company A asked for my intended salary. Which they happily seemed to accept without any protest.

While it's still greater than my last place, I researched Company B (who I'm also interviewing with) on Glassdoor and the same role has a salary $15k greater than what I proposed to Company A. More research revealed other companies with the +15k salaries.

I'm in the reference check stages of talks with Company A and am pretty sure I'm going to get an offer. I'm in the mid-stage of interviews with Company B and it's going great. Is it too late to bring up salary negotiation with company A. Is this something that is even done? No offer has been made so far.

I've been lucky enough to be very picky about the companies I'm interviewing with. Knowing I'm leaving a considerable amount of money on the table will make me miserable if I do take the job with Company A.
posted by prufrock to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Tell Company B you are advanced to the refcheck stage with Company A and would like to accelerate interviews with them.

Then, see if you can get an offer from Company B for the amount you want. If you can do that, and you'd still prefer to go to Company A, tell Company A about Company B's offer and ask if they can match it.

If you don't get an offer from Company B...well, you can still try to negotiate with Company A; it can't hurt. But you'll be in much better shape to do it if you have another offer.
posted by phoenixy at 4:17 PM on June 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

phoenixy answered this quicker than I could.

When you have two companies with two offers, you don't need to do any negotiation. You simply state to each company what the other company is offering. They'll work it out between the two of them and you will end up with a pretty close approximation to the maximum you can achieve on the market (assuming both companies pay market rates).
posted by saeculorum at 4:20 PM on June 14, 2016

At the point they've made an offer, chances are pretty good that they want to hire you, so as long as your request isn't over the top for their pay scale, there's likely wiggle room.
posted by Candleman at 4:25 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't consider Glassdoor particularly accurate. The number might include a bonus, or be for a person who had more experience or expanded duties while they were angling for a promotion. Also, there's a fair amount of variance in the same job across industries. An IT job in Oil and Gas will pay more than the same job in Retail will pay more than the same job in Government. And having done all three, I think the corporate culture compensates for the difference so long as you can afford it. So you don't have to frame the issue as leaving 15k on the table if you think you'd be happy with this position and it's a good progression from your previous position.

Otherwise, you can try to use Company B as leverage. Assuming they actually offer the +15k.

Since Company A hasn't explicitly made an offer, you could also use a few other tactics. Say you've readjusted your salary expectations to offset a) perceived reduction in benefits b) riskier bonus structure (company vs personal performance) c) expanded role from prior position. (pick the most honest answer)

All of this carries some risk. If you're out of their budget, they're just as likely to revoke the job offer as stand firm. After all, they'll assume you won't be happy at the original salary. But you're best situated to know if you're comfortable with the risk.
posted by politikitty at 4:50 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wait for the offer. "Wow, I'm super excited about Acme Co., I think it'll be a great fit! Upon further research, I feel that $X+15 is a more competitive salary in line with my other opportunities. Let me know if you think we can make this work!"

No one will ever say "wow what a jerk you don't get the job" if you negotiate a bit. They want to hire you, they might not give you the 15k you want since you already tipped your hand a bit with a lower number, but they'll certainly counter.
posted by so fucking future at 5:12 PM on June 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I disagree. I suspect Company A will think you're a jerk if you try reopen negotiations after you named your price. You'll look unprofessional, unprepared, or out of touch with professional norms.

If you get a higher offer from Company B, that's a different story.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:44 PM on June 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree with so fucking future. It would be different if you were already at the offer stage, but you certainly have room for a counteroffer if they make you an offer, and you can explain that in the interim, you've interviewed with other companies and have a better sense of the market.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:22 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

You don't have an offer from either company, so there really isn't a negotiation that's happening yet. We're still in the mutual evaluation stage here.

You have reason to believe that Company A has a good evaluation of you, references are getting checked, etc. So an offer is coming. Then the negotiation starts, and it will involve way more than just $X amount of salary. It's entirely possible that Company A has corporate policy listing pay ranges for specific positions and levels of experience, and the initial offer may actually be $X+15 or close to it. Or it could be $X. Then there are all the other benefits offered; e.g. Company A could offer $X, 8% matching on 401(k), and a "Cadillac" health insurance plan; while Company B could offer $X+15, 2% matching on 401(k), and a "Bronze" health insurance plan. One or the other may be worth more to you, depending on your own situation and how you value the other benefits.

So, in short, the amount of $X you gave during initial interview is not binding. It's OK to ask for more. Any employer that is not OK with this is showing you a gigantic red flag, and you should look at any other options you have.
posted by jraenar at 8:00 PM on June 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

The best salary advice I was ever given was by a hiring manager and was this:

whenever I am hiring a top performers, someone who I want in my organization, I expect to have to negotiate with them. I expect that. It is part of what makes them a top performer. You can absolutely go back and force negotiations with them. You can say that upon reflection of what your skills are, what the role demands and how well you perform, you deserve X.

Seriously. This gave me a great insight into what attracting top talent means.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:47 PM on June 14, 2016 [7 favorites]

Yes, I think you can absolutely negotiate, but you also need to have better information in hand than numbers from Glassdoor. Another offer would be the best, or maybe there are some places that are putting salary ranges in their job ads. If you ask for 15k+ and it turns out that you are now 14k over the going rate, that negotiation isn't going to go far. There is a point where they will want to talk money, usually when the formal offer is made but I have had that happen more informally in the lead-up to the formal offer, and that is when you can have the real salary negotiation.

And look at total compensation, which people often don't do. Time off, medical benefits, sane work hours, and a better commute all have value and may be worth accepting a lower salary number to get. You want to be comparing apples to apples.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:25 AM on June 15, 2016

Oh, I missed that A hasn't made you an offer yet. Yes, you can still negotiate if they do.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:29 AM on June 15, 2016

Thanks for all the info guys. I recognize Glassdoor might not be the most trustworthy of sources, which is why I looked at Angelist and other sources that mention salary ranges as part of the listing.

The consensus I'm hearing is that since there hasn't been an offer yet, its still okay to negotiate, mentioning that I now have a better sense of the market.

I would absolutely take into account vacation, benefits etc in addition to just the raw number.

Thanks again!
posted by prufrock at 3:08 PM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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