Its a long story but here goes. I had an offer from Company ABC on Monday and they asked me to get back to them by Wed. The pay offered is higher than expected, just that I am not sure I like the job scope. I also got a verbal/tentative offer from Company XYZ (which I like alot more but pays less) on Monday and they said they will be able to give me a confirmed offer by Wed.

By Wed I still haven't received the confirmed offer from Company XYZ even though I called up and asked again if the offer was solid. They said yes and because I was pressurized by Company ABC to give them my answer I rejected the offer because I knew I would rather work at Company XYZ.

The thing is, I intended on asking Company XYZ to match the salary offer from Company ABC. But now that Company XYZ had gotten back late, I already rejected Company ABC's offer.

Nevertheless I decided to ask Company XYZ anyway if they could match Company ABC's offer and now they are asking me for Company ABC's official offer letter (as proof I suppose).

I don't have that letter as I was informed of Company ABC's job benefits/pay/details via phone and I can't very well email them to ask now.

So what should I do? Please help! I don't have much time.

  • 3
    Even if you had ABC's offer in writing (which you need before you commit to them), I would advise against giving it to XYZ. If ABC finds out that you've given another company a document which they expected was between you and them, they may get upset. IMHO you have no obligation to "prove" ABC's offer to XYZ as there's no proposed transaction between ABC & XYZ that's relevant to it.
    – alroc
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 10:56
  • Yes! That's exactly what I was wondering too. I didn't think it was proper for XYZ to ask for a 'proof letter' because firstly it wouldn't be fair to ABC, and secondly because I felt XYZ had no right to demand me to reveal what company this ABC is/the EXACT terms they offered. Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 13:09
  • @JoeStrazzere I meant I asked them if they were definitely going to send me an offer because up until then all they told me was there is a 'tentative offer'. I didn't want to reject ABC until I was sure XYZ had something for me. Also do you mean they are right to ask me to reveal everything about ABC (including who they are and what the job offer is) once I asked them to match it? Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 14:57
  • 2
    How did this end up playing out? I'm curious.
    – Miro
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


"I don't have that letter as I was informed of Company ABC's job benefits/pay/details via phone". You just tell them that.

XYZ will now make you an offer and you accept or decline.

XYZ may or may not believe you about ABCs' offer, they may believe you and still offer lower (for whatever reason), but these are all speculations and don't make a difference to the facts.

  • Thanks for answering! I told them that but they said in order to process my request they will need to see that letter and without the letter the offer will not increase. Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:32
  • So please advice, what should I do now? Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:40
  • If everything has been said, it is not your call right now, it's theirs. Wait for their offer.
    – user8036
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:42
  • Thanks Jan and Joe! I should've requested ABC's offer in writing but the HR manager explained everything clearly to me over the phone and I didn't realize how essential that would be for salary negotiations. I've learnt my lesson. Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 13:25
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    Because you had nothing in writing, you didn't have an offer from the first company. Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 17:04

The bottom line is - a company will pay what it's willing to pay. The reason for Company XYZ to increase the offer is because they are afraid you'll take another opportunity. Given that you don't have an offer in writing, in their eyes you don't have a legitimate opportunity. While it is possible to get employment without an offer letter, from the purposes of bureaucracy, it's not real until it's on paper. This is true for both unemployment payouts and competing offers.

In hindsight, you might have been able to get a delay in Company ABC's deadline if you had asked for the offer in writing... generally churning out the paperwork takes a bit of time.

In the world of hiring and job seeking, there's not a fixed price. Your value as an employee to one company is not necessarily the same thing as your value as an employee to another one. Your knowledge, skills and willingness to do a job are specific to the job, and your value to the business is specific to what the business is doing.

Even with an offer in hand, there's never really a guarantee that one job opportunity will match another employer's offer.

I'd consider this one a lesson learned, and take or leave the offer based on how much this salary difference matters to you. Chaulk it up to the cost of learning, and next time, don't turn down an offer if you plan to use it as part of your negotiation.

  • "a company will pay what it's willing to pay" -- or strictly speaking, in an auction the company will pay at most what the other guy is willing to pay, maybe plus one bid increment :-) Telling XYZ what ABC offered turns it into second-price from XYZ's point of view, even though ABC might already be offering more than the second price. Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 9:21
  • In an auction - yes, absolutely - but the first question is - "is this an auction" - you have to have two parties willing to up the ante, for that to work. All too often, I've declined to raise the offer when I had a good enough but not perfect fit. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 16:27
  • At risk of leaning too heavily on a technical definition: it's at least a single round sealed bid first-price auction! To make it a multiple-round auction you don't need to have two parties willing to up the ante, you merely need to give them the opportunity to up the ante. A very short auction is still an auction if it has the rules of one ;-) Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 8:59
  • nerdy but delightful. Thanks. :) Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 20:54

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