3

I'm a college senior and I'm applying for my first full-time position. I recently got an offer for around $70k for a data analyst position. HR initially told me that the salary was negotiable, so I submitted a letter of justification (per their instructions) with my desired salary. According to a friend who works there, the head of the department thinks I'm the best candidate for the job and went to HR to get approval for the higher offer.

However, this made HR very upset for some unknown reason, and HR stonewalled them. I then received a phone call from HR telling me that they are no longer willing to negotiate salary, and I also only have till the end of the week to give them an answer. I explained to them that I'm in the interview process for other companies and will need more time than the end of the week, but they seem extremely resistant to giving me any more time and essentially told me that they'll call again on Friday, and if I still haven't made a decision, I can turn down the offer (although they implied there's a chance they might revisit an extension when the time comes).

Is there anything I can do at this point to get a better initial offer? My friend told me that he got a significantly higher offer after negotiating for the same position last year, so it seems that I've just gotten caught at the butt-end of interdepartmental drama. It definitely sounds like the department head really wants to hire me, so would it be wise to email them directly? Perhaps I could get them to push harder on HR to get approval for the salary if they know that I'm inclined to turn down their offer. I'm worried that dealing with HR further won't go anywhere since HR won't be negatively affected if the other department loses me.

  • 2
    " they'll call again on Friday, and if I still haven't made a decision, I can turn down the offer" -- Don't turn down the offer. Make them withdraw it. – Blrfl Mar 6 at 12:45
  • So you're working on getting your first full time job, with no real world work experience, and $70K isn't acceptable to you? Maybe have another look at whether or not your expectations are realistic for a person in your scenario. – joeqwerty Mar 6 at 12:47
  • So you're working on getting your first full time job, with no real world work experience, and $70K isn't acceptable to you? Maybe have another look at whether or not your expectations are realistic for a person in your scenario. What's the average expected salary for someone with 0 years experience in their chosen field? – joeqwerty Mar 6 at 12:47
  • @joeqwerty Maybe you need to have another look at whether or not you're drawing conclusions based on facts not in evidence. There are plenty of instances where $70K would be an adequate, but not high, salary for a fresh-out. Maybe the job is in an area where the cost of living is very high. Maybe the salary is in Singapore dollars, which aren't worth as much as US dollars. – Blrfl Mar 6 at 13:16
  • 1
    @joeqwerty Whether or not OP's expectations are reasonable doesn't have anything to do with the question asked. I just don't think OP needed to be dressed down like that. – Blrfl Mar 6 at 13:46
8

Every organization have their principles and policies. As an external or internal part of the organization, all are expected to follow them.

In this case, if the HR can do away with

  • proposing about salary negotiation, and then
  • suddenly cut you off from the communication without having a fair chance of discussion proposed

I'd stay away from that organization. It's not only about this time or this negotiation, this is a strong indication that the policies and rules are not well-established and can be tweaked as per the willingness of certain people. This is not a sign of a very healthy workplace.

I'm worried that dealing with HR further won't go anywhere since HR won't be negatively affected if the other department loses me.

That's good of you to think, but let's agree, at this point, you cannot do anything about that, if they feel losing you is at the best interest of the organization - let them be. Carry on and find other opportunities.

  • I agree; stay away. A good way to achieve this is to do what they told you and stop negotiating on salary. Add 30-50% to your desired amount (or whatever you already told them), and state that its not negotiable. (or whatever amount you think will scare them off). In the unlikely event they offer, ask for more, non salary stuff, or take the offer. It seems unlikely you'll be there a long time. – Justin Mar 6 at 8:43
3

If that company is bullying you even BEFORE you are their employee, that tells a lot about them and about your expected life if you are unlucky to get there.

I had the same experience. What is "best" (in my case) is that the same company tried to get me as an employee several times, each time applying another strategy of bullying. I never accepted / swallowed their attitude, not even when I really needed a new job.

Short answer: STAY AWAY!! There are many fish(es) in the pond.

  • 2
    I wouldn't say the company is bullying the candidate; they've extended an offer that, because of their own internal squabble, is unlikely to result in a hire. That's just poor negotiating and is good reason to walk away. – Blrfl Mar 6 at 12:44
  • Now it is true that internally, the company might be mostly incompetent rather than ill-intended - but does it matter? From OP's point of view, it is more like bullying: "take or leave it, b*tch!". However, it is good that we agree on: "good reason to walk away" :) – virolino Mar 6 at 12:49
  • Another thing: it is relatively common in some companies that different people play the roles "good guy, bad guy" - with the purpose to break the candidate into accepting ugly conditions. When this game is noticed, the best course of action is to just go away - hopefully that is not the only company in the area. – virolino Mar 6 at 12:54
  • Every offer has a take-it-or-leave-it element, but I wouldn't read bitch into it unless somebody actually said that. On your second comment, Hanlon's razor is usually sufficient to explain it. – Blrfl Mar 6 at 13:10
  • If it was a unique or rare event, I would not talk about bullying. But there are many stories (in my personal experience, here on stack exchange and in general on the internet) that all managers agree on one good thing and then HR pisses against the wind. I can only understand one thing - that it is a common practice to play the "good guy - bad guy" game in some companies. And seen as a whole (the behavior of all these companies) - it is pretty much the definition of bullying. NOTE: there may be a more suitable word than bullying, but I forgot it home - I will gladly accept suggestions :) – virolino Mar 6 at 13:25
2

There's a point here, and it's not necessarily about salary. If HR is already this unflexible and uncooperative during the offer stage (when the company has the most incentive to keep you happy), then you can extrapolate that turned up to 11 when you're actually working there. So my advice is to take this as what it is: A good indicator of what working for them will be actually like.

Is there anything I can do at this point to get a better initial offer?

First, decide for yourself if you still want to work there. Then, as all negotiations, it comes down to your willingness to walk away. Make up your mind about a number you want or otherwise you won't want to work there. Negotiate for that, and be prepared to walk away (be diplomatic about saying it like that though). Then, if the offer isn't met, just walk away.

But in general I'd reconsider if I wanted to actually work there first, regardless of salary.

1

Is there anything I can do at this point to get a better initial offer?

You can appeal to the hiring manager. But it seems likely that he won't be able to do anything more than he has so far.

My friend told me that he got a significantly higher offer after negotiating for the same position last year, so it seems that I've just gotten caught at the butt-end of interdepartmental drama. It definitely sounds like the department head really wants to hire me, so would it be wise to email them directly?

It's worth a try. But you'll need to do it quickly.

Perhaps I could get them to push harder on HR to get approval for the salary if they know that I'm inclined to turn down their offer. I'm worried that dealing with HR further won't go anywhere since HR won't be negatively affected if the other department loses me.

Your worry seems justified.

Be prepared to make your decision one way or the other by the end of the week. If you want the job at the current salary offer, then accept the offer. Otherwise, just turn it down, move on, and don't look back.

1

If HR is stonewalling then there is nothing you can do about it. All you can do is contact the department head, he probably knows what you want, and it’s up to him to get the offer to you, or not. He will know who he can contact (for example, the head of HR when you are being stonewalled by some HR drone who is one step away from being fired. Or the CEO telling them that they are being stonewalled). All up to them, how much they can do and how many favours they want to use up to hire you.

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.