I need them to show me the money ... now how do I ask for it?
December 14, 2007 3:41 PM   Subscribe

I low-balled myself when called about a job prospect. How can I turn that around in the interview?

I just got a phone call about a job for which I've applied (that frankly, I'm a tiny bit overqualified for ... but I only plan to keep the job for a year or so). The HR woman told me that they were impressed with my skills but before they brought me in, they wanted to know the salary I was seeking. The numbers I came in with (I gave her a range) didn't seem to phase her and I was asked to come in for an interview. Now I think I should have gone higher. Is there any way to finesse that if I'm offered the position?
posted by notjustfoxybrown to Work & Money (11 answers total)
See if you can negotiate a 30-, 60-, or 90-day salary review.
posted by occhiblu at 3:51 PM on December 14, 2007

They likely already have a figure in mind for the position before you even called. If you get an offer, that is the time to bring up any concern over the salary.

Don't mention it in the interview.
posted by Argyle at 3:53 PM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

What Argyle said.

Get through the interview and then negotiate once you have an offer. What you said now isn't somehow binding. Just say you did some research on the offer and felt you were worth a bit more.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:23 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What bitdamaged said.

Don't think about bringing it up in the interview. Impress the hell out of them, then wait for the offer. Write a nice letter, or e-mail, or fax, back to the HR people, and tell them that you now know more about the job, and you are a perfect fit, but you think that your experience and the job responsibilities should command a higher salary.

When an HR department is dealing with money, it is their function to pay you as little as possible. If the people that interview you really want you, they will deal with HR for you.

I have only once accepted an offer as written, and that was just because I needed the health insurance yesterday. If they won't negotiate, it is their loss.
posted by bh at 4:31 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

The job interview should always be used anyway as an opportunity for you to learn about the details of the job while they're learning about your capacity to fulfill it. Take lots of notes of what the job really entails. There will surely be more responsibilities mentioned, or elaborated on, than were in the posting. Those are your basis for the new starting price. You gave them a preliminary quote based on their preliminary job description; more accurate info --> more accurate quote.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:16 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

The numbers I came in with (I gave her a range) didn't seem to phase her

So you wanted her to say "oh, wow, that's much too pricey for us, thanks anyways".
posted by smackfu at 6:03 PM on December 14, 2007

Response by poster: No, smackfu. I would have expected something like "that's a bit higher than what we have budgeted for the position." Of course, if she were going to be an asshole, she might say what you said.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:12 PM on December 14, 2007

I'm doubtful that you would get any response of that kind from an HR person, asshole or not. They don't particularly need to show their cards until the end. She may have heard the range and her goal number was at the bottom, so she was OK with that, whereas you're thinking your high number was below their goal number.
posted by smackfu at 9:35 PM on December 14, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, the last position for which I applied ... I got exactly the response I wrote down. They then asked if I'd be willing to accept a lower salary in exchange for some other perks and I said no ... so perhaps all HR's are not created equally.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:02 PM on December 14, 2007

I disagree with negotiating every offer. IF they come in at a price that you would accept, I recommend accepting with the understanding that they will give you a raise in 6 months if you are doing well. The only time I negotiate is if the offer is such that I would not accept it as written. There is a lot of goodwill generated when you accept without negotiation. But, only accept if you are satisfied with the terms.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:30 PM on December 14, 2007

I am involved in a lot of interviewing (at least one or two each week) and our recruiters don't negotiate salary. They ask what the candidate is expecting, and will only say something if the expected salary is well above (at least 20%) the high end of the anticipated salary range.

Most of the folks who ask for too much either have an over-inflated sense of their worth or truly are overqualified for the position. We can't hire either of these types.

I've gone into interviews knowing that if we liked the candidate, we were going to have to make an offer well below what they were asking.

After the interview you will get an offer. You may actually be right on target with what the job pays and may get an offer for exactly that amount. It's a little harder to negotiate up from there, but if you are a good fit for the job, the person doing the hiring may play ball. Don't read anything into the HR persons response. He/she did exactly what they were supposed to do.
posted by MCTDavid at 7:12 AM on December 15, 2007

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