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I got a job offer at a small company. The founders are upper middle age and a bit intimidating but very smart people. I want to join them because I feel a lot of learning and growing opportunities there. But they don't seem to be very open to negotiation and are trying to pay me less than the market rate.

After a few messages, I still have not made much progress and they don't seem to be very open to negotiation. I even tried to say "Salary you are offering is below the market rate and other offers I got and I have to think about think about the offer" to scare them a bit, but it is not working much.

Now I have a meeting with them soon on Monday. I requested them to schedule it so I can ask some questions about the job and working conditions.

I want to bring up this part again. I have received more competitive job offers including one from a very small startup with unlimited work from home possibilities so I am honestly disappointed in their offer. I am wondering what points should I bring up during the meeting to increase the chance of a better job offer.

Some of the points I can think of:

A) Mention other job offers and their benefits

B) Show them my open source contributions.

I don't know if these are good points.

They also mentioned they have a performance review after 6 months and to rather wait for it instead of asking for a higher salary now. That way they will have something to confidently evaluate my skill level. I don't know if it is a good idea and if I can trust them.

While a little bit underpaid, I still feel joining them can be a very good move for me in the long term. I am still considering accepting the offer anyway because of the possibility to grow. Maybe I will also be able to show my self-worth while working there.

My question is what are the points I can bring up during the meeting to increase my chances of a better job offer? I believe there is no harm in trying to negotiate. Even it don't work in this case, I will learn a valuable skill.

Update: I am working there for 1.5 months now. Turn out the company is excellent. It's very relaxed place and everything is pretty great there too. Even if I don't get any raise after 6 months, I will still be very glad to work there because of other perks.

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    If they are being so difficult with you now, and you have better offers on the table, why are you still interested in negotiating with them? What do they have to offer you that the other companies don't? – user1666620 May 5 '18 at 13:34
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    My reaction would be "I can do without all that stress". If they are difficult before you are hired, they will be difficult after you are hired. I can guarantee that your performance review will not lead to a higher salary, because they dont want to pay you more. – gnasher729 May 5 '18 at 13:41
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    There are two types of managers: Those who plan for 3 years from now, and those who plan for 3 days from now. These are 3-day wonders. You are a disposable commodity to them, not an investment for long-term. Any "growth" here will be entirely from your own efforts, which you can apply somewhere else where you'll be appreciated. These guys are "selling" the job to you. (as you say, they are salesmen.) Personally, I wouldn't even attend the meeting. – Wesley Long May 5 '18 at 15:48
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    @coderface - well, at the risk of appearing smug, I do pride myself in the amount of effort I put into developing my reports' skills. Of course, a bit of that is self-serving. I need them to know what I know so that I can take a vacation now and then. – Wesley Long May 5 '18 at 16:23
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    @coderface but you only have 1 year of real world experience you have to realise that you are not a "mid level engineer" and cant expect that salary – Neuromancer May 5 '18 at 18:01
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While a little bit underpaid, I still feel joining them can be a very good move for me in the long term.

There you go. If you can pay your bills, don't sweat the salary. IT salaries increase very quickly with a few years of experience.

How to increase your chances of a better offer:

Tell them that the job is underpaid, but you feel like joining them will be a very good career move in the long term.

This implies (don't explicitly tell them) that the salary expectations for someone like you with 3-5 years of experience are much higher, so in 2-3 years, they will have to pay you more or you will get poached by a recruiter.

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    It's over finally earlier today. And I did exactly same as your answer on my own (I just read it though) – coderface May 7 '18 at 17:47
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    congrats on the new job! – user86403 May 7 '18 at 17:48
  • @coderface In spite of you accepting this answer, it is not the correct one. Glen Pierce's answer is correct: an employer that's making a lot of fuss about salary will always be trying to underpay you. For your long-term happiness, you should take a different offer. – Cronax May 9 '18 at 12:02
  • @Cronax I think it's my personal decision. It's very long story but I didn't performed very well in interview too and I strongly believe if I prove my self-worth, they won't hesitate to raise my salary. – coderface May 9 '18 at 13:34
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    @rath workplace.stackexchange.com/posts/111764/revisions :). And of course I don't have to work their forever. – coderface Jun 21 '18 at 18:15
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If they're difficult when negotiating salary, they'll be difficult when negotiating for raises. They might consider you too junior to put on the interesting projects from which you'll learn the most, assuming you're junior and assign you junior work.

They also might be low on cash and income so recruiting other talented seniors from whom you can learn more might be unlikely.

Don't accept the job. Even if they eventually match your salary requirements, you're unlikely to enjoy the environment and growth opportunities will be limited by either their penny pinching attitude or actual financial limitations.

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First off- after one year of professional programming, you are entry level. Just accept it. It isn't a bad thing, it's just reality. If you continue in the field, you'll learn more and level up. But if you think you're a mid level after one year, you don't even realize how little you know yet.

As for the negotiation- stop. They don't want to pay you more. They've said so. It's time to either accept their offer or move onto one of those other positions.

Do not fall for the "review in X months" line. That's the oldest trick in business. If you do take it, you'll get either nothing or a 1% bump at that point. It's a carrot to dangle to make you quiet.

  • Your question indicates you only have 1 year of experience, “I have around 1 year of experience.“, even at 2 years your still very fresh. You might find an employer who believes your ready for more responsibility but it isn’t the company your talking to – Donald May 6 '18 at 20:36
  • @coderface there's more to the determination of your "level" than the number of years and a one- or two-question post about primarily technical factors on a Stack Exchange site. – alroc May 7 '18 at 11:33
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The negotiation is over. They don't value you on the aspects that you need to be valued with. Take another offer.

  • Unfortunately we can hardly give you a more focused advice because we have less information than you have about your plans, your career and opportunities in that company.Just few words about midlevel. definitions are pretty vague, for example is better a mid-level with 6 years of experience in 5 companies or a junior with just 3 years in 1 company? Also, it's your "duty" to show, during interviews, that your knowledge is much more than what your seniority makes them suppose (but don't ever pretend that practical prolonged experience isn't something different and maybe what they're looking for) – Adriano Repetti May 5 '18 at 17:12
  • I'm not in your shoes then I can't be objective but...why don't you ask them? Politely asking "which skills and experience I lack of?" may help you to understand their reasons, you already have an offer then I think it's acceptable to discuss about it. Then you can decide what to do (personally I'd move away but it's just my very opinion, some humility in some cases will repay). – Adriano Repetti May 5 '18 at 20:54
  • @coderface if they're not open to negotiation and you're not satisfied with the current offer, you politely decline and walk away. You cannot force it to happen just because you think they're being unfair or they aren't playing by your preconceived notions. I'd expect someone who considers themselves above entry-level to understand that already. – alroc May 7 '18 at 11:37

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