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I got a phone call from HR at company A in the morning saying that they are considering an offer with X amount of salary (average in the area). I may not have sounded excited on the phone since I really don't want to go to a no-man's land where the company is located. I asked a policy related question and she said she would discuss with her manager and try to get back to me in a day.

Then I got an email on the same day from the recruiting manager at company B, with an offer (pending approval from the VP) asking if I would consider Y amount of salary (which is almost 38% less than X). Since the offer was for a lower title position and I was interested in working for company B, I tried to negotiate with a reply like this:

I am happy to say that your company is undoubtedly my first choice since I really like your culture and the hiring manager's personality as a leader, yet I would like to mention that I have also received another senior job offer with X amount annually from a company in the same field at XXX region. Based on my research, the salary for your position is about 25% more of Y in your region. But I totally understand that every company has different situations and I am willing to be as flexible as I can for a good solution. Therefore, I would like to ask the possibility of a Z (20% more of Y) annual salary and hope that we can come to a mutual agreement.

It's been three days without a response from either of the company and I feel like I blew up my opportunity with both of them. Now I feel dumb to have failed at the negotiation because realistically it makes no sense to me that any candidate in their early career would prefers a much less paid lower level titled job. I don't regret in negotiating since it is lower than my expectation, but perhaps I wonder if I shouldn't have mentioned details of a significantly better proposed verbal offer? Hope you guys can provide some insights about similar situation during negotiations.

Update: Seems like I was right, company B directly told me that they are going for another candidate since they can't meet my requirement. No room for further negotiation, basically a good luck you greedy bastard. The thing is that in my field, there is always a competent candidate who's okay to get paid lower, and one has to play carefully in negotiations.

TL;DR:

I used a verbal offer from another company with a higher compensation to negotiate a different offer from another company, but failed. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned the other job offer during the negotiations? Maybe you can provide some insights and experiences about similar situation during negotiations.

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    @musefan I read the question as follows; " Shouldn't I have provided all those details of a significantly better proposed verbal offer?"
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 10 at 15:28
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    @musefan Well, lets see if the OP can clarify what question they'r having, but my wild guess is that they want some clarification if their strategy was a shot in the knee and some advice on how to navigate in such a situation to their best advantage..
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 10 at 15:37
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    @iLuvLogix: Why are you taking it upon yourself to edit other peoples questions and answers without asking them if it's ok? Especially when you are adding information that just never existed in the first place. Just seems straight up rude. If you have a different opinion, post your own answer.
    – musefan
    Aug 10 at 15:47
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    @musefan doing that is pretty standard here. It's a Community, users edit other's posts all the time for improvement. If you see room for improvement go for it. There's always the "rollback" option if the OP doesn't agree or something goes wrong. Usually, it's better to swiftly edit, into a shape that one thinks it's logical, than waiting for OP to give feedback... in my experience, if we wait and don't edit the post starts getting negative feedback, downvotes, no answers (thus no help) etc, etc. .. Yes you are right, it's better to ask OP but in the meantime one can use common sense to edit.
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 10 at 15:55
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    It's all cool guys.
    – Xeami
    Aug 10 at 16:23
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Three days of waiting for a reply from either company aren't something that should make you immediately think that you blew up both of your chances - here are some points to consider from your perspective:

  1. Companies and recruiters will frequently have delays, from press of things which have to be done right now, vacations, etc. This is not a long time.

  2. If they are considering your offer, they might have a delay since people have to get the budget approval, or they are comparing you to others, to see which way they should go.

  3. Sometimes a company does not want to meet your conditions. If you are employed at a tolerable job, then you'll wait until you get one which does.

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3 days is not long in HR terms

It's likely both companies are finalizing offers. From "we want to hire you" to HR has run a background check and filled out all the paperwork can be a week or more.

It's generally a smart move to negotiate with companies and make them aware of competing offers. It's very unlikely to be seen as a red flag. The 2nd company may not be able to match the first, which means they won't extend an offer, but based on your post that's ok with you.

A friendly reminder - don't quit your current job until the official offer is extended. Verbal offers are worth the paper they are printed on.

EDIT: More info on American hiring practices

Most American companies extend a verbal offer with salary + Paid Time Off and other information. The new employee said "Sounds good, send over the paperwork". Once the new employee gets the paperwork they authorize the company to do a background check, credit check, and contact previous employers.

That last sentence is key. The verbal offer is usually contingent on you passing all of them. Every time I've verbally accepted an offer I always say

I'll turn in my 2 weeks notice as soon as any background check and other pre-employment checks have come back clean, and you extend me the official written offer.

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  • Are verbal contracts not legally binding in the US? Just wondering. I get that it is hard to prove that someone said something.
    – bibleblade
    Aug 11 at 7:12
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    I've had 2 verbal offers extended to me that ended up falling through during my career. Anyone who has interviewed for more than a few jobs has had at least 1 verbal offer not pan out. It's a known fact in America that verbal offers aren't official, regardless of legal status (I'm not a lawyer). Aug 11 at 14:19
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    good to know. In Europe I have never encountered such a problem. I know that verbal contracts are legally binding here, it is just harder to proof without anything written of course. Usually it is good to ask for an email to "get an overview" of what has been said, so you have something written down. And whenever I got the contract I always read over if everything that has been said is included. Usually I got a better written offer than what was promised. Guess when I interview in the US I should be more careful then
    – bibleblade
    Aug 12 at 8:07
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Your approach is standard as far as I know. But, the the technique I would use with Company B is to lead by asking, "Is there any room to negotiate? I'm considering another offer too," (after saying the nice things) rather than jumping into negotiating. If they say no, they mean it and you will have no risk. If they say anything open minded you can lay out tour position, adjusting as necessary.

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