Salary Negotiation Advice Needed...Fast

The good news: I received a job offer tonight.

The bad news: It’s not exactly the salary that I’m looking for.

The worse news: With the available jobs out there, I’m not in a position to be too damn picky.

Money has never been a deal breaker for me so I’ll likely take the job. However, I’d like to approach my soon-to-be boss to see if he has any flexibility in his offer.

Good idea? If so, then what’s the best way to approach him. I’ve earned anywhere from $54k to $67k doing this same job. There offer was only for $57k. :frowning:

Bad idea? Do I just suck it up in these wonderful economic times?

Honestly, I’d take it. It’s not like it’s an insulting offer (you’ve made less, as you point out).

To me, it’s not really an issue of $57K < $67K, it’s $57K > $0.

But then, I don’t make that kind of money, so maybe I’m no one to judge.

Well, I’m not making $0 now. I am working the same type of work but on a commission base only. Last year I made $55k and didn’t have to work too hard to get that. HOWEVER, the work is getting more and more sparse as corporations are looking closer at their bottom lines. I fear that without the same amount of new work it will be hard to sustain that salary.

I hate hate hate commission. Hub works commission too and when your check can fluxuate between $50 and $3500, you can’t plan for anything.

I think that you should counter. The key is, always, that your new boss always knows without a doubt that you’re excited about the opportunity and that what this is is merely working out the details. If they come back and say they absolutely postively can’t go any higher, well nothing lost. But possibly a couple of grand gained.

Even in these tough times, I’d still at least ask.

“Bossman, I’m excited about the opportunity and am looking forward to getting started. I’ve considered your offer carefully, and I believe I bring a lot to the table. Based on my skills and experience, I would ask for $60,000.”

Then say nothing. Count to three. He’s either going to come back and give it to you, come up a bit, or say he can’t do it.

If he doesn’t give it to you, maybe you could ask for an extra week of vacation. Or telecommuting two days a week.

If he’s a dick and rescinds his offer and goes ballistic and calls you a greedy bastid… well, even in these tough economic times I’d have a hard time working for someone like that.

I think if you are respectful, clear about how you do want the job, and realistic any potential boss worth his salt is going to respect you for it. Even though times are tough, I can’t imagine this company has made it’s absolute best offer out of the gate.

What are the benefits? 401k matching? Nice health insurance? Do they add up to anything more than you’re getting now?

Working on commission has always seemed scary to me.

If you honestly feel you are in a position of strength, then maybe.

In other words, just accept it and be grateful. There will be plenty of time to demonstrate what a valuable employee you are. Then you will be in a stronger position to discuss your salary.

Ask for $64k, take $59k.

If you ever feel you’re in a position of strength, you must counter, without any doubt, period. And the OP is in a position of strength. They’ve said they want her. No boss worth his salt is going to make a top offer out of the gate, and even if they are making their top offer there is no risk, IMO, to respectfully aknowledging that you have worth. If someone is going to rescind a job offer over a salary negotiation, that is not the kind of person you want to work for.

Plus, I’ve always been told that it is much harder to get a raise than to negotiate a salary.

I have no doubt that Ruby’s potential new employer will be pleased a year from now and know they made the right decision and that she’s worth it.

ETA: I have also never heard of an employer rescinding a job offer because the applicant countered. Never.

The compromise is to ask for a salary review in six months, instead of a year (or three months instead of six, whatever their standard period is.)

Women tend to not negotiate well (or at all) in salary discussions, and tend to feel on some level that asking for more than is offered is rude, or greedy, or runs the risk of having the job offer rescinded.

Salary negotiations are a game, and the first offer is almost always lower than what the company intends to pay. If the company says that no additional money is available, there are other aspects of compensation that can be discussed - office location/size, telecommuting options, more vacation/personal time, paid cell phone/computer access, etc.

Sounds like making a counter offer is a good idea. Now for the strategy…

Salary negotiations are not my strong suit. What about

  1. Tell him that I’m very excited about the opportunity to work for him and the company.

  2. My only concern is the salary.

  3. Short list of my best attributes.

  4. “I believe with my experience and skills, I am worth X”

??Can you tell I’m struggling with this??

My understanding is that it’s not rude to ask for up to 10% more than the initial offer. So assuming you think the first offer is fair, which I believe you do, you can effectively ask for around 62-63. Settling on 60 or 61 would still be a win for you.
And I’ve also never heard of an employer that’s rescinded a job offer for asking for more money. In some jobs I’d almost consider it a requirement to do it. You’re going out there to negotiate or sell for us and you can’t even sell yourself?

Maybe it would help to decide beforehand if you would take the job at 57k (you said “likely” but that’s not quite a firm yes) and if not, what your basement salary would be. It might change how you approach the conversation. But either way I don’t see the harm in asking. If he says no then you’ll know you tried, and maybe he’ll point out some perks that you hadn’t fully considered. If you don’t need this job then you want to go in feeling like you got a fair deal, if negotiating helps you get there then do what you need to do.

What is the current median salary for similar types of jobs in your area? Do you have a relatively long history of work experience (that would therefore justify a median salary or better)? Or do you work in a relatively uncommon field where salary statistics wouldn’t be terribly meaningful?

This can happen if your offer is substantially more than what the employer is willing to pay. It just doesn’t make sense to try to get a candidate to work for substantially less than that candidate believes he/she is worth. It just results in an unhappy employee.

You should always ask for more compensation. I recommend picking one or two areas in which to ask for an increase, and have a fallback position. Often, the fallback position can be a different area of compensation.

For example, you ask for $5k more, but they say they can do $2k but no more. You could then counter with $2k and one more week of vacation. It is possible that your boss has no flexibility on base salary due to corporate restrictions, but he/she may have flexibility on vacation time as it is not a “direct” expense (i.e., less work gets done, but the company does not have to write a bigger check).

Note that when asking for more compensation, it is a good idea to have a reason why you deserve more. For example, the job posting asked for five years experience but you have eight, or you bring an unusual (but valuable) skill to the table.

Also, I recommend having a “face saving” story prepared if they will not increase the offer at all. For example, “Well, it’s not quite as much money as I would like, but I really do like the company and think I can learn a lot, so I will settle for a little less than usual”. It is important to make the company think you are happy with whatever deal you make.

Best of luck, and congratulations on the offer. Well done in this economy. :slight_smile:

Was there a published salary range when with the job listing? Are you near the top or the bottom of the range?

In my experince the only flexibility managers have is with a starting salary. Everything else – leave time, 401k contribution, etc. – is set as a matter of corporate policy for all but the highest level executives.

What I did was ask how they came up with their number, and specifically how many years of relevant experience they ‘credited’ me with having. I explained that much more of my past worl was in fact relevant to the job at hand, and they ended up offering me 25% more. I didn’t specify an amount , I just said no, then the HR person and me had the discussion of experience, and I asked them to come back with a better offer.

Well, I did it. He has to talk with his boss and will get back with me.

Gah. <biting nails>

That seems like a good sign. In your imagined worst-case scenarios, he would have immediately countered with, “Oh, hell no, fool!” or simply laughed in your face.

He didn’t do either of those things. You may now cross your imagined worst-case scenarios off the list. :slight_smile:

Wishing you all the best!

Then you thank him for showing you what kind of an asshole he is before you committed to the job and walk out the door. :slight_smile:

Good job, Ruby. Keep us updated!

Yeah, the first time you negotiate a salary it can be nerve-wracking. But then you see how standard it is and you’ll never not negotiate a salary ever again.

When he comes back, regardless of what he says, thank him and reiterate that you’re excited about coming to work for his company.