36

I recently received an offer letter from an employer. During the interview, the manager said that they cannot give me an exact number before they calculate the budget (or something similar I cannot remember, although I did provide the expected salary at the very first interview and he definitely knew it), which did not leave me a fair chance to negotiate the salary during the interview.

The offer letter I received shows a salary that is much lower than I expected. I would like to know: is it appropriate/common to negotiate the salary after receiving the offer letter? Will this affect the offer or make them reconsider whether they should hire me?

  • 24
    I think that after getting the letter with a real salary on it would be the only time you could negotiate, right? Previously they wouldn't even tell you a salary so there was nothing to negotiate over. – JPhi1618 Sep 10 '18 at 21:10
  • 1
    the answer in the question linked by Dukeling exactly addresses this – Qsigma Sep 11 '18 at 16:30
  • Remember, in the U.S., if a person is receiving unemployment, they cannot continue to do so after turning down a job offer. I think one can usually expect the salary of one's most recent job-positon (but not anything higher) but check with your state-agency, if this is relevant to you. – JosephDoggie Sep 12 '18 at 14:12
80

If you don't agree to what is in the letter then you have an offer but one that is not acceptable.

Yes you can (and should) negotiate. When you are in agreement with what's in the letter then you have the job.

If they are low-balling you and will not negotiate then it's time to look somewhere else. If this is how the company operates then what will happen later?

  • 32
    Just remember only promises in writing are real. Everything else is irrelevant until written down. – Nelson Sep 11 '18 at 0:51
  • 13
    @Nelson That's rather cynical view. If the company lets you down after a verbal promise, it has its own consequences (such as, after that they know you will be pissed and may start looking for other opportunities immediately, so the whole hiring expense is at risk). While not as good as a written offer obviously, verbal promise is not worthless. Now it's still advisable to get everything in writing, and if this becomes a problem it is a red flag, but I would strongly advice against making an impression like "I don't trust you one bit, provide it in writing because your word is worth nothing". – hyde Sep 11 '18 at 7:52
  • 3
    @hyde - Verbal promises are indeed worthless. They get made without being thought-through, they get forgotten, and (yes) they get made with no intention of follow-through by some bad actors. Get everything important to you (salary, training promises, remote work guarantees, benefits) in writing. This is standard practice and no one on the up-and-up should interpret a request for something in writing as impuning their integrity. If a company gets shirty about putting their promises in writing, it's a red flag. – T.J. Crowder Sep 11 '18 at 8:34
  • 10
    @T.J.Crowder If you're sitting in a one-on-one discussing salary and you say "10" and they say "8", then you don't have to ask for that in writing before you say "9". If they say verbally "9 is ok" and then you receive a written offer for "7", then you have no legal way to demand 9, but it shows how they act towards their employees, which can be far more valuable for your decision making. I, for one, currently don't work under someone whose verbal promises are worthless, and I would never want to. – R. Schmitz Sep 11 '18 at 9:24
  • 10
    @T.J.Crowder I completely agree that you have to have an unshakeable final agreement (= in writing), before you yourself make an unshakeable final agreement with your old employer. I'm just illustrating what comes with simple, absolute statements like "Verbal promises are worthless". "Verbal promises aren't contracts" would be better, it just misses the dramatic punch you wanted. – R. Schmitz Sep 11 '18 at 9:35
25

Absolutely!

They have made you an offer. If you feel it is too low, or that it could be improved upon, make them a counter-offer.

10

I would like to know is it appropriate/common to negotiate the salary after receiving the offer letter?

It's perfectly appropriate to try and negotiate for more if you think the offer is insufficient.

Many folks do just that.

Will this affect the offer or make them reconsider whether they should hire me?

If might affect the offer - hopefully in a positive way.

If might make them reconsider if they should hire you. Although that is rare, it does happen - usually when you price yourself out of their range.

5

Yes!

Generally the interview is there for both you and the hiring team to decide if you are a good fit for the position; not the time to negotiate salary.

If the team decides they want to hire you they will tell HR or the recruiter to make you an offer.

Now that you have an offer you have an opportunity to:

a) accept it
b) decline it
c) negotiate a better offer

Congratulations!

EDIT: to address your last question "Will this affect the offer or make them reconsider whether they should hire me?"

This is situation dependent but it is unlikely that trying to negotiate a better offer will make them reconsider hiring you; they may not agree to a higher salary but i think it is unlikely they would revoke the outstanding offer based on your attempt to negotiate.

0

You could also flat out reject the offer. As that would be a waste of time for both parties, negotiating is the next best alternative.

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