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During an interview I was asked how much I wanted, so I said a number.

The interviewer (who would be my boss) said we would talk again and that this was not the final conversation because he needed to check with the HR, but to be honest this was my first discussion ever (I'm entry level) and when he asked me how much I wanted I kind of said a little less than what I actually wanted.

Is it okay to change my mind, and what would be a nice way to do it / bring it up?

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possible duplicate of Does the first person to mention a number in a salary negotiation lose? –  Chad Jan 19 '13 at 14:06
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@Chad That question is definitely related, but I wouldn't call it a duplicate :) –  Rachel Jan 19 '13 at 14:46
    
@Rachel it is the same question. –  Chad Jan 20 '13 at 5:31
    
I guess whether or not you 'usually' lose, is not exactly the same as should I ask for more money anyway, is pretty much the same thing. –  JeffO Jan 22 '13 at 1:36
    
This is why you should always have a response to that question ready ahead of time. And the response should never be to give a number. –  enderland Jan 23 '13 at 4:06
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5 Answers

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I wouldn't advise it. Here are the reasons why:

  1. You're not aware of whatever approvals, preparations have already gone towards carving out your price from the budget. You can't be sure that there is room for amendment after the necessary approvals have been granted for a previous figure. I'm not sure any hiring manager will want to jump through his corporation's red tape for such an increase.

  2. What is your bargaining chip? Certainly not your experience. On what grounds are you going to ask them to up the ante? You've in essence indicated how much you think you're worth by dropping a figure. What has changed between then and now to improve your market value to the prospective employer?

  3. It's your first gig. Unless you have a couple of other offers lined up, you're taking a risk by calling their bluff on this. Unless you have a niche set of skills (a mainframe programmer perhaps), they might not have any motivation to acquiesce your request.

Generally, you're poorly positioned to increase your asking price if you don't have a cogent reason to. Look on the bright side: in a year or two, with a good performance on the job, you can negotiate a raise or at least change jobs. The salary you've negotiated now should just be a starting bar in your career, not the final destination.

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I would be very careful in your situation. Just changing your mind by no reason might make you look wierd or non reliable. Imagine buying a TV, when you ask for the price, its €500, you are happy. Then you reach for your VISA card, but then you are asked for €550 instead - but it's still the same TV. Would that feel nice? Would you trust that salesman and buy more from him? Probably not. The same goes for you and your future boss. He might have some understanding if this is your first negotiation though.

What you can do, is to try to figure out a great reason why you have increased your salary demand. I'm not sure what applies to you (don't lie!!), but some reasons might be:

"I just read the details in the agreement, and understand overtime is not paied out in this contract, which I expected. I would like to compensate my initial salary request for that by xxxx"

or

"I was just called by another big company and was offered a higher salary over there. I still would like to work with you, since Blah Blah, so if you could match that offer, I'd be happy to join".

or, perhaps a bit vauge but probably the easiest "excuse" to request more salary. That is, say you misunderstood the position and that kind of position should pay more.

"I had the impression that this was a very basic entry level position, but during our last discussion I start to realise there is quite a bit of responsibility involved from day one. A reasonable salary for that kind of responsibility would rather be XXX than what I previously stated".

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In a buyer's market (the employer is the buyer) you can, but you probably won't get very far.

You might get lucky if they've already decided that the position is worth more than the figure you've said. They would have already set the budget for this amount so as long as your new figure is within this budget they might say "OK".

The real danger with going back with a revised figure is that they will not offer you the position. If there is someone else equally capable of doing the job and willing to do it for less than you they will offer that person the job. So unless you have some quality that no one else has, the other person is more attractive.

However, this doesn't mean you should necessarily inflate the amount you want in the first instance. You might price yourself out of the position from the outset or if you do get the position the company may well have higher expectations of what you can deliver for them. They are going to want a return on their investment and the higher the investment the greater the return.

In a seller's market (you, the candidate are the seller) if you think that you can get a job elsewhere without too much trouble then there would be no harm in raising your required salary. If they say "OK" you win, if they say "No" you go into the next interview armed with the knowledge that you should ask for the figure you want (or a little bit extra).

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I should mention that this is in Germany, Europe. There is a generally a shortage of qualified professionals. –  hermann Jan 19 '13 at 12:41
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Given the circumstances (first job interview), you're talking about a junior position. As you suspect, coming back on your offer does not build trust. But for a junior position the starting salary isn't that important anyway. Discuss the training you'll get, and how a completed course will be rewarded. Ask if there will be an evaluation after a few months, and whether that will influence your salary. This is common for junior positions.

If such questions are answered negatively, i.e. the salary will be fixed for a year or more, then you can at that point come back on your number. That's negotiating - trading benefits you expected in exchange for a higher salary.

Of course, if the additional benefits are better than you expected, then just accept the job and negotiate once you've proven your value to the company.

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I beg to differ. The first salary is very important, since increments in salary often is discussed in % and relative numbers rather than absolute numbers. At least where I am from, Sweden, not sure about Germany though. –  Petter Jan 19 '13 at 22:54
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Ways in which you can reasonably justify asking for more money, include

  • You have another offer of a job, that they have offered a higher salary for. If all things are equal, then you would accept this job, are they able to match the salary?
  • Ask "What additional skills or abilites would i need to demonstrate to get €x as the salary?"

When you are interviewing people for the role, the price tag doesnt matter at first. You have to decide that you would want the person on the team, that their experience and ability are comensurate with their CV etc.. Its likely that they will interview 10 people and find only 1 or 2 suitable. They will be deciding who they choose to employ based on a whole range of issues, with candidate ability and social fit being much more important than salary.

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