4

I am currently interviewing for Company A. However, I already have an offer from Company B. A would be my ideal place to work (so much so that I told B I need more time to decide on the offer), but are quite selective, making me feel lucky to already be here.A is, however, notorious for asking about other offers. I have told them that I do have another offer. I would like to not divulge the position or the pay the offer is for.

I know it's common to give pay details, but both pay well enough (I need enough money to live, not to become Scrooge McDuck). Given what I know about A pay range, it's above B's pay range (A actually pays well above market rate). However, I would be fine if A underpaid me (either in comparison to other's in the company or in comparison to B's offer) as it is above what I need, although I wouldn't want to artificially depress my pay by telling them this.

How would I politely refuse telling them the pay of the other offer, the position of the other offer, or what I've been payed in the past if asked?

1
  • I was once asked in an interview how much I would need to live on. I gave an honest answer. Followed by "and I want twice as much". Which I got. You don't need enough money to live on. You need as much as you can get. – gnasher729 Dec 2 '20 at 21:05
13

Embrace the power of no.

Tell A "I'm sorry, that information is confidential to the other company and I can't share it."

You're not willing to betray the unnamed company B's confidences for the same reasons that you'd keep A's proprietary information secret as well.

6
  • It might be worth mentioning in your answer that Company A might know about Company B’s pay ranges, and therefore even disclosing its name could weaken the question asker’s negotiating position. – aem Dec 1 '20 at 4:25
  • 3
    "I'd rather not say" is also a fine way to put it. – mcknz Dec 1 '20 at 4:48
  • @mcknz if you know the asker is going to be persistent, an firm no that doesn't leave room for arguing will work better. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Dec 1 '20 at 17:44
  • 1
    Is the offer's pay and position title considered proprietary? Telling another company is "betraying confidence"? Why? – lwl59438cuoly Dec 1 '20 at 20:06
  • 2
    @lwl59438cuoly Technically it's not. There's nothing to prevent you from sharing that information. I'm sure the company would prefer you keep it confidential, but it's not like you signed an NDA or anything. It's just not to your advantage to tell them. – mcknz Dec 2 '20 at 3:16
6

I would like to not divulge the position or the pay the offer is for.

That's a good idea.

Any information around salary/position/benefits is between you and the company who makes the offer. No one else has any right to that information.

I know it's common to give pay details

It's common, but a mistake, because it reduces your leverage. Once you divulge pay information, then the company has a better idea of what to offer, and it's generally not in your favor.

In fact, the recommended strategy is to tell the company what you are looking for in terms of salary. If you keep your salary information secret, the company will not know if your number represents a 5% or 50% raise for you.

How would I politely refuse telling them the pay of the other offer, the position of the other offer, or what I've been payed in the past if asked?

You don't want to be rude, but there's no need to be apologetic about it either. Companies always ask for "salary history" or the details on a competing offer, because it gives them an advantage. It's part of a rigged game you don't have to play.

It's enough to say you don't want to discuss the details. You don't need a reason.

However, I would be fine if A underpaid me (either in comparison to other's in the company or in comparison to B's offer) as it is above what I need

I know you say that you would never mention this in conversation, but it's important not to be in that frame of mind either. Don't go in to a negotiation thinking they are paying you too much, or that you don't deserve the amount they're offering.

Companies will rarely pay outside of what you are worth in the market. Even if you think it sounds like a lot, companies make offers for a reason. If it sounds high, perhaps your skill set is in demand, and the company is having a hard time finding candidates.

Negotiate confidently, giving away as little on pay as possible. Let your experience and interviewing skill convince the company that you are worth what you are asking for.

3
  • This job is a stepping stone. Most people stay a year or so, but get placed very well afterwards with a significant pay bump. Whether I make +/- $10k for one year relative to an already high salary is not going to make a difference if I get a 2x pay bump 1 year later. Hence, the mentality of being willing to take a pay cut, if it gets me the job; for what it's worth, I'm actually underqualified in my opinion right now, but I do learn quickly – lwl59438cuoly Dec 1 '20 at 20:06
  • 1
    @lwl59438cuoly Even so, you never want to leave money on the table in a negotiation. If you're really going to get a 2x pay bump, then that +/- $10K turns into $20K, $15K into $30, and so on. – mcknz Dec 2 '20 at 0:32
  • 1
    I used 2x as a general term - it's industry knowledge what someone is paid at firm A, so future job offers go 2x that. I know (distantly) someone who employed this strategy, took the pay cut, and is now making 2x what A's normal salary is. Nevertheless, I understand your point; thank! – user760900 Dec 2 '20 at 8:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .