15

I was just offered a position at a company I'm very excited to work at. During the initial phone screening I tossed out a really high number to set the negotiation bar high. Well they ended up offering exactly that number and threw in a generous annual bonus and excellent benefits as well.

There is a part of me that says I should ALWAYS negotiate. But for the first time, the initial offer was so spot-on that I don't feel the need to ask for more. I almost feel greedy.

Should you always negotiate, or is there a point where you should just accept?

  • 5
    being completely satisfied means that you most likely missed something. Thing to do in cases like this is not to negotiate but to analyze: check and re-check your data, expectations and assumptions – gnat Mar 31 '13 at 14:09
  • Can you negotiate latter on or must this be something done soon? I wouldn't feel greedy if you tried to get the most amount of money possible, if you want more money it's not immoral to ask for it. It's not like you'll loose the job over asking for more money. – user8119 Apr 1 '13 at 0:21
  • 2
    @Celeritas, you can indeed lose the job by asking for more espcially when they offered more than you already asked for. Even if you still get the job, it gives a poor first impression. Save negotiatiing for when they didn't offer you what you asked for. – HLGEM Apr 1 '13 at 14:01
  • 2
    I meant you could lose an offer – HLGEM Apr 1 '13 at 17:51
  • 4
    It seems like you already negotiate. You told the company what you would consider they matched that offered and even offered you a better offer. Why would you continue to negotiate? – Donald Apr 26 '13 at 20:31
15

A Means to an End

Very few people like to negotiate. It's a huge headache for everyone involved, and a successful negotiation is usually when both sides feel the other side got the better deal. This is not a very positive way to start out with a company.

If you can't get what you want by asking, negotiation is a necessary evil.

So that begs the question...

What Are You After?

You wanted to get this job with a good salary.

They went above any beyond what you asked for.

What will you gain by negotiating further? Just negotiating for the sake of negotiation may just be...

Grasping Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

You asked. The company delivered. No negotiation necessary. They are so happy with you that they gave you what you wanted to get you on board.

What will it say if you push for negotiation just for the sake of it?

  1. "I don't know when to quit while I'm ahead"
  2. "It's about the principle of the thing -- I am never satisfied"
  3. "I didn't really want the job and just wanted to use a good salary offer to dangle over other companies I am negotiating with"

Nobody likes moving goal posts (especially not hiring managers).

Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

That said, this is your last and best chance to set where you start from.

It would be nice to think that the company will correctly evaluate your salary next year and give you a bump if deserved, but many companies don't work that way. Salary increases are usually a percentage of your base salary, so a bigger salary with a similar percentage increase will mean compound growth on whatever gains you get from this negotiation.

At the same time, it may create some bad blood with the hiring folks at your new company, so who you're negotiating will have a big impact on how you should proceed. If you're going to be negotiating with your new boss, who has the power to determine your salary increases in the future, he may give you more now at the expense of raises later. That's something you will have to decide.

The Grass is Always Greener...

Humans are designed to regret losses more than they value gains, so the thought of not negotiating at all would feel like a loss that's hard to stomach.

At the same time, what makes us happy isn't money, it's a good work environment. If the money is good enough for you, it may be worthwhile to minimize the potential negativity that could come from a negotiation, and be happy with what you have.

Either way you decide to go, tell yourself that it's the right decision, and don't second-guess it. That will only cause gnashing of teeth in the future. No sense crying over spilt milk.

33

As a hiring manager, I would not appreciate further negotiation if I have met every request that the applicant has made.

If we haven't met every single item, some negotiation is fair and expected. Otherwise its a sign that the applicant could be more trouble down the road with unreasonable requests at the least expected moments.

It could also lead me to not entrust any critical jobs/roles to the person as he is liable to want to insta-negotiate when he has any leverage or even hold the project as hostage.

Negotiations at the annual review or even three months down the road OTOH, are fair game. At this point in time, however, I have demonstrated goodwill by offering what was requested and I would expect it to be reciprocated.

As you have also mentioned,

During the initial phone screening I tossed out a really high number to set the negotiation bar high.

Since any gain is going to be minimal anyway, why risk antagonizing a future superior?

First impressions are notoriously hard to change and giving the wrong one now might cancel out any initial gain in the long run anyway......

  • I totally agree, if someone offered me more than I was asking for in a job situation, I'd only risk negotiating if there was something really important that was missing or inadequate. – huntmaster Apr 1 '13 at 16:34
  • 4
    Let's imagine the positions were reversed. They made you an offer; you accepted it; now they change their mind and make you a lower offer. What would you think about them? Well, that's what they will think about you. – DJClayworth Mar 12 '15 at 13:58
7

This question is related (though not identical).


I would find it difficult to try to negotiate a number I gave them to be higher. It's somewhat like

  • "Hi guys, remember when I told you I wanted 75k a year? Well... I changed my mind and now want 80k after you actually offered me 75k, is that alright?"

Perhaps this is just me, but I would feel somewhat dishonest (though it is also very unlikely I would ever have given a number in the first place...) to go back on "my word" and change my mind.

Should you always negotiate, or is there a point where you should just accept?

You really want this job, presumably, which means you need to determine if the risk is worth the potential gains in asking for more. You:

  • Already got your really high salary figure
  • Already have a job offer you are excited about
  • Already got a great compensation package

Are you willing to risk that (even if it is just a really small chance you mess up the process and irritate someone) for more money? It's a question none of us here can definitively answer for you.

5

While I can understand the urge to request a higher salary, my general recommendation is to avoid it if they have matched your request. As other answers have stated, it could create more problems than it solves, and if the offer as it stands appears good to you, it's probably best to take it.

An exception here might be if you have learned of something that you didn't know before. For example, let's say the potential employer had you complete a job application before you interviewed. A "Required Salary" was part of that application and you gave a number, assuming a 40 hour work week for the job. Then, during the interview process, you learned that the job will require 80 hour work weeks on a regular basis. Here, I'd think it would be acceptable to say something like "When I gave you that number, I assumed a regular work schedule, but now that I know a longer work week will be required, I will need a larger salary of (what ever larger number you want to try for)." (Of course, you may also want to just say that such a work schedule is unacceptable.)

Assuming the above is not the case, if you really feel the need to negotiate, there are things other than salary that you could request. For example, you could request more vacation/paid time off. If you're interested in getting another degree, you could ask for tuition assistance (even if they say they offer that, make sure to find out how much they offer - I've found that many places that offer tuition reimbursement do not offer enough to pay for one course per year in my area). You could ask them to cover more of costs of your insurance, or match more for your 401K. However, if you do try to negotiate, keep in mind that your only real options if they can turn down these requests are to take the job anyway - in which case you may be in a weaker position with the company - or to turn them down and continue your job search.

3

They are offering exactly what you asked for, plus generous bonus and excellent benefits?

And you still want to negotiate for more?

Tread lightly here. As a hiring manager, negotiating for more in this instance would make me very, very wary. I never want to hire a high-maintenance prima donna, who constantly asks for more.

You may be so good that they will do anything to land you. But you may price yourself right out of a job.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.