The wage negotiations went in an interesting direction for me. Over the phone, I gave an amount that I was comfortable with. They countered with an offer that was $7 above my initial amount and asked if it was okay with it. I said that I was fine with it. I just got my offer letter in the mail and the amount is $2 above the originally agreed upon amount. Everything else in the offer letter is the same as what was agreed upon over the phone.

I have read enough of these posts to know better than to blindly trust HR. What does the company gain by increasing my pay?

This is for an internship position at a large and well respected tech company. This will also be my first time working.


I emailed and they said that it was fully intentional and that they could get me a bit extra on my hourly. I'm going to go with what A. I. Breveleri said as being the likely reason.

  • Is this intended as a wage, or just to cover your expenses? Is there any published data what this company pays interns? Are you likely to find out what they're paying other interns there? It may be that you just pitched your number far too low and they don't want you to end up in financial difficulty or think they've acted in bad faith - after all they could have just paid you your original number.
    – Rup
    Dec 11, 2017 at 0:58
  • 2
    Not sure I'd call it a "counter" if they're offering you what appears to be a significantly higher salary, and I'm also confused why they'd ask you if you were okay with getting more than what you asked for... Are these actual numbers for an hourly wage?
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 11, 2017 at 8:37
  • 2
    When you call to confirm the pay, say something like "Hi, I just wanted to confirm the hourly rate listed on the offer letter. It says $x per hour. Is that right?" Under no situation do you bring up that you had accepted less. They'll likely say "yes, that's right." at which point you tell them thank you and accept.
    – NotMe
    Dec 11, 2017 at 14:55
  • I've never had an employer "counter" with a higher sum. JACKPOT! Dec 11, 2017 at 22:32

5 Answers 5


The $7 bump probably was because they have an official salary range for the title and position they're hiring you for. The amount you asked for was below that range; the amount they offered you would get you into it. The $2 bump may be for the same reason, as HR decided that it would look bad to put someone with your qualifications at the rock bottom of the range. Or it could be an error; you'll have to ask.

Remember, an internship is as much an opportunity for the company to sell itself to you as it is for you to sell yourself to the company. A large and well respected tech company would not want you to find out that they should have offered more money, nor would they want to get a reputation for pinching pennies or exploiting its interns.

  • This is the most likely scenario, in my opinion. I would assume that's what happened, and not say anything about it.
    – mhwombat
    Dec 11, 2017 at 16:14
  • 1
    Or even "they realize they are getting a great deal, and don't want OP to leave or feel taken advantage of when he/she realizes the market for their skill set." Dec 11, 2017 at 19:18

What does the company gain by increasing my pay?

This most likely is an oversight or typo by the HR folks. You have two choices, one is to just go with it and hope they pay you the extra cash and do not notice. This approach has risks in that it could make you look bad later on down the road.

What I would suggest you do is have an honest conversation with the individual who signed the offer letter and clear this up. An honest relationship with any employer is best.

  • 3
    Note that some companies have decided to be transparent about their pay levels. This means publishing their high and low wage level ranges. If you have asked for a reasonable wage, and they are pushing you to accept more money, you may be below their low range for the position. This can happen for a large number of reasons, the most common being that you have greatly underestimated the cost of living. Your number is likely a good one for your home (if relocating) but might not be enough to live off of in another city.
    – Edwin Buck
    Dec 11, 2017 at 15:23
  • I sent them an email. They said that it was intentional.
    – Evan
    Dec 11, 2017 at 18:13
  • @Evan That is awesome. Good for you!
    – Neo
    Dec 11, 2017 at 18:27

It's in the company's interest to pay you as little as possible, but only within limits.

It may be that during the interview, the company decided that they really like you, and paying you $2 more very much reduces the chances that you don't take the job, or that you leave quickly for something paying better. The $2 they pay you would be nothing compared to the cost of replacing you.


Given, that this is a big company, your position`s salary limits can be mandated by internal policies. And from my experience, salary can be affected by something as your education level, experience etc.


For crying out loud, do nothing.

You get paid more than you should, but it is small enough to escape notice. Forget you noticed. On the off chance that this is some honesty test, where all current employees have passed, you don't want to work there.

Seriously, the offer letter, or more to the point, the contract - is the contract. This is the document of reference, it is - in itself - the agreement between you and the company, regardless of what have been discussed before (or after!).

Accept it in good faith, and make sure you work 9$ harder and smarter than you would have. And don't forget to smile, life just handed you lemonade, when it meant to hand you lemons. It happens rarely enough.

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