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I am interviewing for a firm, and am at the final stages of getting an offer. Initially, the HR had asked me for a salary "expectation", to which I quoted a number. However, I have recently been intimated that I will be promoted by my current company in this cycle. That is going to bump my salary up, so I now am looking to expect a higher figure than what I had quoted to the HR. My interviews have gone quite well (not sure if that matters). Also, the HR had told me that it is an "open budget" position, so I can write anything as my salary expectation.

Is it ethical/ok to revise my estimate given the above reason, or will it create issues?

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    Are you willing to stay in your current job, now that it seems that you may be getting a raise, if this new company is not willing to match your new expectation?
    – DarkCygnus
    Oct 12 at 21:49
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    @DarkCygnus Not per se, but certainly I am prepared to wait for a better offer in the near future from someone else if they are unwilling.
    – user121416
    Oct 12 at 21:51
  • Thanks for clarifying. Another question, are you completely sure that the promotion is a fact? Who told you this and how?
    – DarkCygnus
    Oct 12 at 21:59
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    Sure no problem. My manager and the manager of my manager both told me about it.
    – user121416
    Oct 12 at 22:00
  • There's a very wide range of actions which are ethical and will cause you issues. Oct 12 at 22:08
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Is it ethical/ok to revise my estimate given the above reason, or will it create issues?

I am very sure this is not unethical, but that doesn't mean it's completely harmless to you and your interests...

Be aware you may get a no for an answer, in case they are not willing to accept the new estimate. In other words, disclosing this new reason should imply that you are willing to stay in your current job until a better offer presents to you (which you seem to be ok with, as stated in comments).


Side note: Don't know why but in the back of my mind I can't help thinking that saying "my original estimate is now X+y because I was told I will get a promotion" still isn't 100% solid reason (for you). Not to be negative or anything, but until you actually get the promotion, sign new contract, etc. everything is still ethereal and not 100% guaranteed to happen.

For the new company perhaps this could be a valid reason, but still they are free to say yes or no to your proposal.

So for the sake of completeness, do keep in mind that there is a non-zero chance that you end up not getting a promotion and also not getting this new offer... I know it's grim, but a valid possibility nonetheless.

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  • Thanks for the answer. I am not in a desperate situation and do not find getting and clearing interviews very difficult. So I'm willing to wait it out; and also take the gamble of asking for a bit more - I just wanted to know their reaction won't be "woah woah, what the hell?". If they can look at it from an objective angle I'm confident of negotiating it.
    – user121416
    Oct 12 at 23:00
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Is it ethical/ok to revise my estimate given the above reason, or will it create issues?

You can always revise your salary expectation, for any reason. It may cause "issues". You may not care.

Remember though, the fact that you believe you will be getting a promotion at your current workplace does not make you worth any more to this potential employer.

Asking for more because you will get a promotion signals that you might accept this new job, but only if it is more lucrative than your current job. And for some potential employers it could also signal that you would only work for them until an even more lucrative job happens to come along.

All that is fine, and if you are a very appealing candidate, the new firm may offer more than they initially planned. But they may not.

As long as you are okay with losing out on this new job, you can always ask for more.

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I don't necessarily think it is unethical, but I do not completely understand your reasoning.

When you were asked for your expectation, you had a certain estimate of how 'valuable' you are: what you would want to earn and/or what you think you deserve to earn. Your skills didn't improve suddenly because of the promotion, so the promotion does not affect what you will be doing at the new company. So why should they pay you more?

However, you can ask for it. Your new title would change your market value somewhat so in that way it makes sense. But I wouldn't give the real reason, for the reasons I explained above. You can mention that due to circumstances your salary expectations have changed, and don't go into details. But do not expect them to simply agree to it.

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    "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it." Fundamentally an employee is selling their time. It doesn't matter what an employee thinks they are worth. It only matters what the employees think others think they a worth. Therefore, a payrise changes the equation. Oct 13 at 14:48
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    Imagine if the internal salary bump through promotion was equal to the new expected salary of the OP (i.e. so it aligns with their own perceived market value). Now, if the new company stays put at the initial range, one of the big benefits of changing jobs (salary bump) is no longer there. If you're unhappy in your current role you may still want to move anyway, but it doesn't sound like the OP is in that boat. There's always a risk-reward judgement when changing jobs, as you're going into the unknown a bit, so the onus is on the new company to offer something that's worth moving for. Oct 14 at 11:16
  • Suppose I own a plot of land, and person X asks "How much would it take for you to sell that to me?: and I say "Probably around $500k". Then person Y offers $700k, and I tell the other person "Actually, you'll have to pay $700k". By changing my number, am I asserting that person Y offering more somehow makes the land more useful for person X? No, I'm just telling person X that if it isn't worth that much to them, then they're not going to get it. 2 days ago
  • OP isn't saying "This other offer increases how much I expect the company to be willing to pay", they're saying "This offer increases how much they would have to pay to be the best offer". 2 days ago

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