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I've applied for a job offer that suits my needs (role within the company, technical stack...). After a few technical and HR interviews, I got a job offer with what I describe as a highly interesting salary.

From a personal level, it is higher than what I'm expecting, a +20% increase compared to my current annual income and by making a quick search online, I found out that it's higher than the average salaries for engineers in my future position/experience/location.

I accepted. But I did it without any negotiation attempt. Now, I'm starting to regret this approach!

It's the first time that I accept a compensation without scratching or bluffing during my interviews and now some questions started popping in my head : what if I hit the lower bracket? What if I was able to negotiate more advantages (salary or other...)

So given what I just wrote : Knowing that I already signed their initial proposition, do you think I should put on the table this subject again? Or will it be poorly looked upon by the company?

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    Once you have signed the contract, any further discussion of compensation is not negotiation, it is asking for a raise. Aug 9, 2022 at 21:02
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    @A.I.Breveleri No contract was signed, just an initial agreement. But by reading the responses, it looks like there's a consensus :) thanks everyone
    – Radhwen
    Aug 9, 2022 at 22:07
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    "No contract was signed, just an initial agreement" - Offer + Acceptance a contract make by ANY law in ANY country. There may be form requirements, but this initial agreement is a valid contract and can open you for damage claims for not following through.
    – TomTom
    Aug 10, 2022 at 11:31
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    @TomTom: " but this initial agreement is a valid contract" no, it is not. Here (one of the ANY countries) you need to have an actual contract signed, and that contract by law must include many items. Without these items it is not a labour contract and thus is void.
    – WoJ
    Aug 10, 2022 at 13:07
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    @TomTom Don't be ridiculous. in an "at-will" state in the US, you can walk away from a labour contract at any time with no consequences. Also there has to be more than Offer and Acceptance for a contract - in England and Wales for example there has to be consideration in both directions (but not in Scotland). There are other conditions depending on the jurisdiction. Signing the initial agreement may create a contract - but to say that it does so in all jurisdictions is nonsense. Aug 11, 2022 at 10:46

11 Answers 11

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So given what I just wrote : Knowing that I already signed their initial proposition, do you think I should put on the table this subject again?

No.

Or will it be poorly looked upon by the company?

Yes

You've stated that it's higher than the average and higher than you expected. Why would you need to negotiate? Negotiation isn't a requirement. It sounds to me that you got a very good offer. Leave it at that.

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    Agreed. Don't overpush just for greed. If you think about it, you'll always find new "What if" and it will ruin you. Enjoy what you manage to get.
    – Mouke
    Aug 10, 2022 at 12:05
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    @Mouke Buyers remorse.
    – paulj
    Aug 10, 2022 at 14:27
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    @Mouke Indeed. I had that with the new job I'm starting next month. I got the exact salary I asked for (without negotiation), so of course I started worrying whether I asked for too little (I didn't, it's a very good salary for my experience level). Let it go and enjoy the already high salary!
    – Dnomyar96
    Aug 11, 2022 at 5:26
  • @Dnomyar96 you could certainly have gotten away with more, otherwise they would have counter-offered with something lower than what you asked for. If they said yes without negotiating, it means they saw your ask as a bargain all things considered (e.g. they were in a hurry to fill the role, etc.)
    – Jivan
    Aug 12, 2022 at 11:42
  • I find this answer too absolute and rigid. If the candidate suddenly has another offer with a much higher salary, it would make absolute sense to re-negotiate. Yes it would come with risks (of course), but whether the candidate should do it or not is not a clear cut.
    – Jivan
    Aug 12, 2022 at 11:54
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I would find this rather unprofessional. Consider if the scenario were reversed, and the company sent you an email stating that your already agreed-upon salary was actually too high, and that they wanted to negotiate a lower salary with you. This would be a major red flag for a company to immediately renege upon a business agreement, especially with the knowledge that this decision was based on absolutely no change in material circumstances, and was merely a second-guessing from someone who apparently didn't think things through the first time.

It would be unacceptable for an employer to try to renegotiate a signed job offer for lower pay. It's not really any different for you to try to renegotiate a signed job offer for higher pay. Trying to renegotiate at this point could result in anything from success to having the offer rescinded, but there's no scenario where this course of action is looked upon favorably.

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    "Consider if the scenario were reversed" is not a great line of argument, because employee-employer relations aren't symmetric in this way; for example, it's obviously normal/common/accepted for an employee to ask an employer for a raise, whereas it's abnormal/uncommon/sketchy for an employer to ask an employee to take a pay cut. So you can't reliably extrapolate from "wrong for an employer to do to an employee" to "wrong from an employee to do to an employer". (In this case, though, it does happen to give the right result, namely, don't try to renegotiate an agreement you've just signed!)
    – ruakh
    Aug 12, 2022 at 6:44
  • @ruakh -- I agree with the logic you have. However, I still think that the OP should NOT try to re-negotiate, because it would be wrong. Presumably if the job goes well, raises and possibly promotions will come! Aug 12, 2022 at 20:30
  • @ruakh most people seem to agree this explanation should help the OP get the idea…
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 13, 2022 at 7:15
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If you re-opened negotiations after accepting a job offer you better be bringing something unique and valuable to the position, because I would be inclined to withdraw the offer.

Part of running a business is hiring people, but it isn't the part people want to spend a lot of time on. You are presenting yourself as someone who will create problems instead of someone who solves them.

Don't do it.

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You already negotiated. This was the result. Well done!

For reasons that I cannot understand, some people have the idea that "negotiation" means two parties shouting numbers at each other and doing a big histrionic production. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Negotiation is just the process of coming to some agreement. In this case (and probably most of your other job offers), the overwhelming majority of the actual negotiation was the interview.

Don't get stupid or greedy: You already have a result better than you expected; take the win.

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First of all, a negotiation isn't mandatory. Many deals are good enough to take as is.

If you go into negotiation, your negotiating power is your ability and willingness to walk away. Are you willing to walk away from this job offer, if they refuse to budge?

If definitely not, you did the right thing in accepting the offer as is. Yes, you could have asked for more, and they could have given you more. Or, they could have decided "they want more, they might leave soon for an even better offer ... is the runner-up still available?"

The chance of a company doing this if you simply ask for more during the salary negotiation phase is very slim, because they expect you to. Most times they'll just tell you there is no room for adjustment, but even then it's non-zero. The chance of a company doing this during any other phase is much higher.

Negotiating after signing an offer is a particularly bad idea. This will reflect poorly on your ethics (walking away would be breaking a signed deal) and foresight (not having thought of negotiating sooner). By simply doing this, you reduce your value proposition.

If you're a superstar, you might win. If you have a better offer, you can win in terms of money either way. The hit to reputation can outweigh it, if the company's a top player in your field.

If this is your best offer, and above expectations, as it seems to be, don't bring a knife to a gun fight. It's not your last, there will be reviews, raises, promotions, new offers.

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It’s dangerous. You got a good offer, better than you expected, and now you think you could have got more.

Similar situation, if you had made the mistake of accepting a genuinely bad offer, you’d negotiate to improve it. And it would have a good chance of working, because they would know it was a bad offer, and letting you negotiate it up from a bad to an Ok offer will make you a lot better at the job.

But you already got a very good offer and signed for it. Trying to get more is unlikely to work, and it will leave a bad impression.

Take it as a life lesson. Do your next negotiation better. And be happy with the good offer you got.

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Tech Hiring Manager here. There've been quite a few speculative answers, so I wanted to provide a different point of view for you to consider.

First, I've seen this happen a few times successfully recently. I normally hire "hot" roles, now focused on cloud engineering. While we offer good rates, when you work in a hot field, our assumption is you've gotten multiple job offers, and we do our best to be competitive. That said, on a monthly basis what is competitive could radically change. As an example, Azure recently has seen a salary spike for senior architects. We found out because one of our candidates politely quit a day after joining because he got a higher than anticipated offer.

We have a salary range we target for each role. Assuming the candidate does well in the interviews if they ask for a salary beneath that range, we give them a higher offer because we know they will leave us immediately when they get a better offer. If a candidate's request falls within the range, we continue with the interviews. If a candidate's request falls above the range, it is up to me to decide if their skill and the market support an increase. Depending on the amount of the increase, it may impact my staffing plan and budget, so I need to ensure their knowledge and practical experience would allow us to forego another position to help pay for the increase.

After a candidate has accepted an offer, they may come back and ask for an increase. If their skill is in demand, I assume we're competing against another company for the talent. I revisit their interviews with the interviewers and see if there's something which could support the increase. Some times, yes. Many times, no.

While I do assess a higher risk of flight for folks who ask for a bump immediately before starting, if I feel they aren't ethically sound to work on my team, I won't. However, if they have a solid explanation for the bump, I'll bring them on board. HOWEVER, all of my hiring contracts include a 90 day walk-away period. If I get a bad feeling about an individual during their first 90 days, I'll give them an opportunity to accept the other offer.

So, what's my advice? Be very careful. If your experience is weak, or the market doesn't support your new request, it will be denied and your original offer will get pulled. If they do accept it, you had better be able to prove yourself quickly, or could find yourself without any offers.

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  • Good points although the op didn't indicate he had another offer, he was just being a tad greedy despite indicating that the offer was 20% more than he anticipated. In the situation you are laying out. it is reasonable to have a better offer in hand and use that as a negotiation tactic. In his case, he was risking losing the initial offer.
    – rhoonah
    Apr 27, 2023 at 20:35
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I was an engineering manager at my previous company and a potentially similar thing happened to me. I interviewed a relatively junior engineer (less than 5 years of experience) and the interview went well. I decided to offer him the job at the conclusion of the interview so we negotiated a salary and he said that he would accept that offer. Great. I explained that the "official" offer would come from finance but that he would be hearing from them in a day or two. I put the offer together and when he received it, he rejected the salary that we had agreed upon and wanted more. What happened? I pull the offer altogether and wished him good luck. He attempted to backtrack and claim that he didn't understand the FANTASTIC benefits that we offered, etc. and had he understood he would have accepted the offer. This annoyed me even more because I always started off an interview selling the company since we did offer an amazing package.

The moral of the story is that you have a window to negotiate compensation and if you have already signed the offer letter and agreed to the terms of employment then you have missed that window. Attempting to renegotiate now would be bad form and put a bad taste in the company's mouth which might result in them parting ways with you so operate at your own risk ESPECIALLY when you are admitting that they offered you 20% more than you were even expecting. It would be foolish to risk losing such a great offer.

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Let me supplement this discussion with another aspect to consider.

One could posit that the idea of negotiation is between an employer and an employee is that both sides get their worth's worth: employer wants a person with a specific skill set at their disposal, while employee gets adequate remuneration.

Now, if the employer is serious and smart, they will offer you what you are worth and enough to motivate you as well, thus achieving both their goal and yours, which is the optimal place for both parties to be in.

To me asking for more money in the situation you describe would not be good negotiation skills, it would be unjustified greed, which could be construed as unethical, and most likely as unprofessional by your employer, as others have pointed out. My rule of thumb is to never ask for more if the other party's offer surpasses the most optimistic amount you set for yourself (if you negotiate as a private person and have any idea what the market is like).

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I won’t comment on whether you should do it or not — you are an adult and this is your decision — but if you do want to proceed, you must absolutely bring something new (real or imaginary) to the table.

Example: after you signed, another unexpected offer came up from a different company, with a much higher salary.

Be prepared to be possibly rejected, though.

Contrarily to the other answers, I wouldn’t (as a seasoned recruiter) find this unprofessional, if I was (as your recruiter) convinced that the other offer is genuine.

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    @JoeStrazzere people lie (big or small) all the time when negotiating, be it commercially or for employment purposes. Whether this particular lie sits above or below your personal threshold of what’s professional or not, is not relevant to the OP’s situation.
    – Jivan
    Aug 12, 2022 at 12:18
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Never hurts to ask. Worse thing that could happen is they say no but at least you can ease your mind by knowing whether their answer is yes or no.

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    It can hurt to ask. Employer can rescind the offer. Aug 12, 2022 at 8:29
  • It can always hurt to ask. The worst thing that could happen is they pull the offer and he loses out on the opportunity. I pulled an offer to an engineer once for a similar reason.
    – rhoonah
    Apr 27, 2023 at 12:31

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