Too late to negotiate?
September 22, 2016 6:43 AM   Subscribe

I was offered a new job, but I'm not sure if I can negotiate a better salary at this point. Don't want to upset the apple cart, but don't want to get short-shrifted either. Advice?

I was verbally offered a job on Monday with basic information (salary, PTO, start date). Over the course of the week, I did a background check and asked if I could start a bit later than they requested, which they agreed to. I've mostly been dealing with an outside HR recruiter who seems pretty terse and non-negotiable, but the manager seems friendly. So, I wonder if I should have negotiated a better salary (HR told me that it was on the high end of the spectrum, but I don't know if I believe that). It's kind of a unique job in that I can't find other examples of it online to compare it to at or glassdoor. Since I just got the official acceptance letter and its awaiting my signature, can I request a better salary? Or, at least, see if they are open to negotiating?

I should point out that I've never really done this before as most of my jobs were a set pay for anyone starting in that company.
posted by princeoftheair to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You haven't said if you're unhappy with the salary you were offered, or if you just feel that you "should" negotiate. There's a real difference between knowing what you want to get for a salary and just negotiating because that seems like a good idea and it's the advice everybody seems to be saying these days.
posted by xingcat at 6:48 AM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Are you ready to walk away / confident that they are not ready to walk away?
posted by durandal at 6:49 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

You haven't signed the offer letter. It is not too late to negotiate. That's why they call it an offer letter. Make a counteroffer, but follow xingcat and durandal's advice as well.
posted by Etrigan at 6:54 AM on September 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

It doesn't sound like you're willing to walk away if they don't up the offer, but that's fine, it shouldn't stop you from at least trying to negotiate. If you want to be gentle about it, you could simply ask "is there any flexibility in the salary?" A stronger approach would be "I understand you offered X as a salary and Y as other benefits; could you get to X+10%?" If the answer is "no," the "no" should be "no our offer is X," not "no and we revoke the offer altogether." If it's the latter, it's probably not a company you wanted to work for anyway.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:39 AM on September 22, 2016 [7 favorites]

I did this recently. HR rep asked me verbally before flying out for an interview what my opener was for salary and I was taken off guard and lowballed myself a bit. After the interview an offer with offer letter was made with a salary that was at the high end of the range I'd requested. I looked at it and asked for the salary to be bumped by 10%. They readily agreed (probably should have asked for more, darn it). All was friendly and it had no impact at all on our working relationship. It's worth a polite, but firm ask.
posted by goggie at 7:54 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

To clarify, I'm happy enough with the amount, but think it would be worth it to push for more. Since I have almost no experience in negotiation like this, I worry what the worst case scenario might be. Like goggie, I wonder if I low-balled myself early, but like I said, I don't have much to compare it to.
posted by princeoftheair at 8:15 AM on September 22, 2016

Asking shouldn't cause them a problem. Taking a long time might? Sometimes companies need to fill positions quickly. But you only heard a number three days ago. So ask now.

If you're embarrassed to ask, blaming somebody else might help. Something like: "Thanks for the offer, I'm excited to start work. My spouse and are discussing our budget. A salary of $X would make this a simple decision for us, is that possible?"
posted by floppyroofing at 8:41 AM on September 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

I had almost this exact thing happen last week. I wasn't unhappy with the offer and would have accepted it immediately had it not been for outside forces. Because I had to negotiate the start date I was able to reflect and request a higher salary. They didn't accept outright, but I'll get my requested rate after a good 60 day review. This is written into my offer acceptance contract.
I was terrified to propose a higher salary. I read an actual script while I was on the phone with the words I needed to say. I'm very glad I made the effort. I strongly encourage you to try to negotiate better pay.
These are the words I read:
"Based on the responsibilities of the job and my experience, I was thinking of XXX thousand a year."
AND THEN SILENCE, which is the most important and hardest part.

If you're accepting the offer via the recruiter then that complicates things, because they probably get no benefit if you get a raise after 60 days (or whatever). But it's in their interest for you to get hired - if the employer likes you then they have only their commission to lose if you don't end up taking the job.
posted by smartyboots at 9:17 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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