I received a return offer after my internship and am in the negotiation phase.

Is it appropriate to reach out to my intern friends to discuss the offer? I currently don't know whether they also got a return offer or any other details.

The benefits are clear: more information means more bargaining power. By talking I will know how many candidates the employer is considering, whether the offers are the same, how far is the employer willing to budge. These are valuable information specific to this employer and this negotiation. It's about peeking into the employer's hand.

What are the costs?

  • Is it icky to broach the topic with my intern friends? As mentioned, I don't know if they get an offer or not.
  • If the employer finds out that I talk to other candidates, how will they view it?

You can discuss it with anyone you want. But you're better off discussing it with someone more experienced rather than other people the same as you.

Whether the company would think it odd or not would be specific to them, but I doubt they would care much except that people who need crutches are deemed less capable, and some would be wary of anyone who discusses money freely with others.

  • To get a salary range for my position, it's indeed more beneficial to talk to more experienced folks (or see Glassdoor). Talking with other candidates also in negotiation has the unique advantage of learning about the employer's position right here and now. – Bob Dole Oct 6 '17 at 5:56
  • No, I don't see that as an advantage, I see it as a potential failing, and giving your information away for little if any return to people who potentially might be competitors. – Kilisi Oct 6 '17 at 6:00
  • Would you consider the following advantages? 1) If I know whether only me got an offer, I can gauge how much the firm wants to hire me. 2) If others have successfully negotiated for more, I can have a lower bound of how far the firm is willing to budge. And, given that offers have been made, are my intern friends still competitors to me? – Bob Dole Oct 6 '17 at 6:08
  • Nope... but good luck – Kilisi Oct 6 '17 at 6:46
  • If the candidate can get exclusive knowledge on the offers the company made to others without divulging anything about his own, he well be at an advantage compared to this current position. But that is unrealistic, of course. – NoBackingDown Oct 6 '17 at 8:17

What are the costs?

Asking that to your friend could compromise his job, as you are probably asking for restricted information that should matter to the recruiter only.

It could also compromise in a way your application if this is found out, as can be seen as you "pulling your strings" on your contacts to obtain some vantage point over other candidates, when the most important factor should be your skills and what can you bring to the job.

If you want more insight a more ethical or safe way of doing it could be doing research (on the web or some other public information, even Stack Overflow has their Salary Calculator) on the industry you are applying to, so you know the low and high income ranges for that job.

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