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I am a software engineer with 6.4 years of experience. I live in the Central Florida region and am trying to negotiate salary with a company in the area against my peers in my salary band of my type of experience.

The HR representative ASKED me to quote a 10K salary range. I gave 105K to 115K and after interview I've received an offer. They offered me 100K with 5K sign on bonus to leave my current job. After discussing over the phone my feelings toward the compensation, the HR rep asked I send an e-mail to help her make a case to increase my offer amount.

She also mentioned that she took into consideration people in my years of experience and salary range and doesn't feel that she can get me a whole lot more but is willing to do what she can with the hiring team. She and I understand the time to do any type of negotiation is now.

My reasoning is the following:

  • I know that getting raises in the company is difficult so I am trying to perform negotiation up front prior to accepting the job opportunity
  • I have a good job that I don't have to leave but I'm interested in seeing what is out there.
  • As an engineer, I feel that my contributions and level can net me a salary around 108K (which is my goal).
  • I am starting at a high number (~115K) and giving concessions (~112) as things go
  • I can go overseas that will give me nearly $6000 extra a month untaxed. The signon bonus is taxed, has a 1 year stipulation, therefore I am using leverage to request a larger sign on bonus.

Are the above thoughts sound and reasonable and can be taken the same by the recruiter?

As supplemental data, here is my letter:

Hi HR Recruiter,

Once again, thank you for the offer that you and your team have extended towards me. As mentioned earlier, I feel that as a software engineer I am dedicated, resourceful, and have a proven ability to design, develop and implement code baselines from start to finish, and have strong communication skills.

I mentioned a range in our earlier e-mail correspondence and although I understand that salary ranges require to be in a certain band, I feel that my contribution to any team or program at Prospective Company outweighs the compensation that I would be getting. Of course, if I can't show why I'm worth more, perhaps I shouldn't be offered the job. Additionally, at Current Company, I have an opportunity to go overseas that is paying a per diem rate of 200/day un-taxed and I also have to take into consideration this when considering any new opportunities.

My upper end salary requirement was $115,000, I am willing to concede to $112,000. In addition to this, the overseas work will be for around 3 to 5 months. At 3 months, this is approximately $18000. The $5000 sign on bonus doesn't help cover the cost on losing this opportunity and I understand this doesn't always happen so in order to work at your company, I am flexible and would consider a sign on bonus of $15000.

Once again, I appreciate the time you have taken to hear out my concerns and going over the benefits package with me personally. I look forward to hearing from you and your hiring team on your decision. Have a wonderful weekend.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Dukeling, Masked Man, Snow, gnat, Chris E Nov 20 '17 at 15:01

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    If you are unhappy with the offer you should counter. I personally wouldn’t talk about the opportunities at your current employment. – Donald Nov 18 '17 at 1:39
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    If they offered you 105K would you accept it? Your original range started at 105K, so that seems to be your expected salary. They need to increase their offer by 5K to meet your minimum. – Brandin Nov 18 '17 at 10:57
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    If 105K was unacceptable to you, you shouldn't have named it as the bottom of your range. It's going to look like bad faith when you say you're only willing to go down to 112K now (unless you can convince them that the overseas work is another offer that's only just arrived and changed your position). – Julia Hayward Nov 18 '17 at 13:38
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    You need to frame your request as it relates to value for them. It doesn't matter what you might earn from someone else doing something else. What matters is how valuable you are to them doing the job they need done. – cdkMoose Nov 18 '17 at 18:46
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    What a strange request. The only justification you need for a higher offer is that you won't accept the one they gave. It's that simple. Make a counter offer. They can either do better, or keep searching for someone else to fill the position. That is, of course, assuming you are ready to walk. If not, you have no leverage. – Seth R Nov 19 '17 at 4:20
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I think your thoughts are sound, except for the following:

  • You talk in some detail about your current salary, without explaining why that's relevant. You either need to eliminate this discussion, or to clearly explain that it currently makes more sense for you to stay where you are than to accept their offer (I recommend the former).
  • You don't mention your achievements or experiences, or any technical reasons why you're the right person for the job (i.e., why are you worth that much?)
  • You gave this range of $105-115, and now you're saying $112. You can't start at the top of the range! You need to reiterate what your range is (if something has changed since you gave that range such that you would no longer consider/accept $105, you need to explain this).
  • The wording is a bit clunky.

Going through your letter:

Paragraph 1....

Once again, thank you for the offer that you and your team have extended towards me. As mentioned earlier, I feel that as a software engineer I am dedicated, resourceful, and have a proven ability to design, develop and implement code baselines from start to finish, and have strong communication skills.

A few issues here:

  • These skills are very wishy-washy. Everyone can claim that they are "dedicated" and "resourceful." It is better to remind them of a specific accomplishment or skill
  • You should never write that you have good communication skills while you're communicating (show don't tell...except maybe on a resume, though I would omit it even then).
  • Clean up the unnecessary verbiage: "that you...have extended toward me" doesn't add anything to the sentence.

Paragraphs 2 and 3:

I mentioned a range in our earlier e-mail correspondence and although I understand that salary ranges require to be in a certain band, I feel that my contribution to any team or program at Prospective Company outweighs the compensation that I would be getting. Of course, if I can't show why I'm worth more, perhaps I shouldn't be offered the job. Additionally, at Current Company, I have an opportunity to go overseas that is paying a per diem rate of 200/day un-taxed and I also have to take into consideration this when considering any new opportunities.

My upper end salary requirement was $115,000, I am willing to concede to $112,000. In addition to this, the overseas work will be for around 3 to 5 months. At 3 months, this is approximately $18000. The $5000 sign on bonus doesn't help cover the cost on losing this opportunity and I understand this doesn't always happen so in order to work at your company, I am flexible and would consider a sign on bonus of $15000.

Comments:

  • Why so vague? Paragraph 2 really just boils down to "I think I'm worth more than this."
  • Your complicated payment arrangements at your current company are only relevant if you're willing to reject this job and stay at current company. Are you? If not, I wouldn't mention this at all.
  • You said that $105 was your minimum. You can't "come down" to $112 if you said that $105 was enough. Two options here:
    • If you are willing to accept $105, then you need to say something like "Given these factors, I think I am worth $115, but as I mentioned, I would seriously consider an offer above $105."
    • If not, you need to say "I originally gave a range of $105-115, but now that I understand the job's responsibilities [say something specific if you can], I think a salary of $112 would be more appropriate.

Putting this all together, I think you should write something like this:

Thank you for the offer! I am very excited at the opportunity to work at YYY company. As you know, I have a proven ability to design, develop and implement software from start to finish; in particular, my experience bringing the XXX product to market seems like a great foundation for this position.

While I appreciate your offer of $100,000 + $5k signing bonus, this is a little below my range of $105k - $115k. Given the responsibilities of this role [be specific if you can] and my 6+ years of directly relevant experience [be specific if you can], I really think even $115k is not unreasonable. But I really want this to work out, so I would definitely accept an offer of $108k. I hope this will be doable; I really think I'm the right person to do X for you.

FirstName, I really appreciate the time you have taken to hear out my concerns and especially to go over the benefits package with me personally. I really hope we can bring this together, and I look forward to hearing from you.

  • My prediction: they will offer $105. By suggesting $108, there is a small chance they will say, "OK, 108, done", but that's a long shot (and being more aggressive makes it even less likely). If they do offer $105, I think the only way they would go higher is if you give a firm "no" (which you may not want to do). – cag51 Nov 19 '17 at 10:15
  • I used your example as the base for my e-mail. I got a response saying that they would not be able to increase the offer. The reasons they stated was due to internal peer equity (meaning their other engineers that are 6.4 years of experience, etc). Is my next move just to walk away or ask if there is wiggle room? I had countered with 112k, was that too high? – LeanMan Nov 20 '17 at 17:00
  • Note i don't need the job so walking away is an option for me unless its an offer I cannot pass up. – LeanMan Nov 20 '17 at 17:03
  • Yes, I think $108 would have been more likely to work out than $112, but oh well. At this point, what's the minimum you would take? Would you accept part of it as a signing bonus (the bonus has the advantage for them of preserving equity)? Think carefully about these numbers - no point asking for X and then turning it down if they say OK. Then I would write something like: "Thanks for the update. The minimum I could accept is X. I could also accept X' with a signing bonus of blah. If neither of these are doable, I'm afraid things will not work out." Good luck! – cag51 Nov 21 '17 at 16:03
  • This adds to another curiosity of mines. When negotiating, what is effective? It seems like whenever one reads about negotiating its like the movies where you write down your number on a piece a paper and then the countering party reads and and then moves up from their initial offer. I don't observe this behavior. They just give what you ask for and if your number is too high, they just say good bye. They don't budge or consider offering lets say 103k, or even my minimum 105k. Does this mean I have to be choosy about my number, like if I countered 108k, would they have tried to find a middle? – LeanMan Nov 22 '17 at 17:35

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