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I received a job offer this past Monday. The job offer, requiring relocation to a different, more expensive city, was attached to a salary offer that was a couple thousand dollars more than I currently make, but given the expense of living in the new city, taking the job would require about a $7K a year cut in my lifestyle, in real terms. So I did some research, and according to multiple cost-of-living sites, my current salary projects out to about $7k a year more than I currently make in the new, more expensive city. Also, I checked references like payscale.com, and given my education and experience, the city, the industry and the firm size, a fair salary offer is about $9k more than their offer was for.

So after checking with multiple business sites around the internet (e.g. HBR, Forbes), I decided that I would politely communicate these points and say that I thought my value was about $5K more than their offer. This company decided to send the offer letter via email with no call, so I decided that I would respond with an email of my own, pointing these things out (in a very polite and positive manner).

That was Monday night. It is now (at the time of typing) Wednesday afternoon. The office manager I was in communication with never responded to my email. It's like the guy fell off the face of the earth.

So here is my question: From the employer's perspective, what are some common salary negotiation tactics that are used? I googled around and everything I saw was from the employee-perspective. What are the tactics that the other side is trying to use, and to what end? This would be very valuable information for me (and I am assuming others).

It's hard to believe that this firm (or any firm) would just cut off communication and say "screw you" without even a note that says "sorry, but that is out of this position's salary range."

  • You should have read-receipt/delivery-receipt requested on the email. – acolyte Aug 15 '12 at 19:18
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    @acolyte Those are pretty much meaningless. I know I would turn them off for mail coming from external sources, especially if I was doing something like recruiting. – Tacroy Aug 15 '12 at 19:27
  • I would have called. Anyhow, You sent it Monday night. It is now Wednesday afternoon. It's not been that long. Maybe the office manager is out of office a couple of days. Maybe the hiring manager needs to decide if they want to take you up on the offer and he's out a couple of days. Maybe they have another candidate and are waiting for a response from them before getting back with you. Email is nice, but if you are so anxious to get an answer, you should have called. Now I think you need to wait until next week before you can call. – Dunk Aug 15 '12 at 20:11
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    just curious, did they ever get back in touch? – PsychoData Feb 21 '14 at 22:35
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    now i'm curious too. what was the resolution? i like to think the OP turned them down, but made a startup in the exact same industry, paying a fair wage and giving a percentage of profits to charity. – bharal Jan 22 '15 at 10:51
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When I act as a recruiter (it happens 1 or 2 times each year), I know exactly the range that I can allocate to hire someone. During the last interview (in which I make a job offer to the person) I give the information on the non negotiable aspects of the job offer. For instance (since the person I hire are mainly software engineers working on research projects) I make sure that the person understands that he will travel in Europe each month, that he must be in office at least X days a week, and that he can or cannot freelance on his free time, etc.

Every aspect that I don't mention during this interview is negotiable. And what I am waiting for is the start of a negotiation during the interview, then by phone, with a mail by the candidate summarizing his expectations. Then I make a phone call to find an agreement, followed by a formal mail if the agreement is reached. Otherwise (no agreement) I send a formal letter with a deadline for a formal answer with my terms. The latter is to free the job offer so that I can move to another candidate.

I don't use tactics, I know what I can give, and if the requests are outside my range, I will look for another person, it's that simple since most job offers can be fulfilled by more than one unique person.

Concerning the read-receipt/delivery-receipt, I don't think this is a good practice. E-mail read-receipt is not a reliable medium, for various technical and psychological reasons. If you want an acknowledgement that the mail has been received, ask explicitly for it by email or phone, or use snail mail with delivery-receipt.

Finally, a point concerning what you ask to the company. You ask for 5k$, so you are telling the recruiter that you are ready to lose 2k$ compared to your current lifestyle. I think this does not send a good message to the recruiter. Unless the job is far more interesting or with better prospects. Why did not you ask for 10k$ with the idea of accepting 7k$?

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    This is a good answer. To answer your questions, I asked for $5K because the offer was already $2K more than I am making now, hoping that we would eventually settle on $2500. This position comes with a bonus plan (although no percentages were explicitly mentioned), better contributions to retirement accounts, and it represents a good career move for me. I honestly didn't think they'd give me the $7k. – jdb1a1 Aug 15 '12 at 20:33
  • I like the trick of asking for a receipt instead of turning it on. Tricky way to see if they got it and care. – PsychoData Feb 21 '14 at 22:47
  • Actually DAR and AR reports have been in email standards for a very long time – Pepone Feb 8 '15 at 0:29
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The bigger the company, and the more volume they are hiring, the less flexibility the recruiters have. If this was a one-on-one negotiation for a single position, I'd be very surprised if the manager in question would behave this way. On the other hand, if he's in the box of "get me 10 for 100K each", once you're out of the box you're of no further interest.

  • Yeah, this is a small company (150 employees) and I was the only candidate they had lined up for a niche job. I am also very surprised that they cut communication off like this. – jdb1a1 Aug 16 '12 at 12:51
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Here is my take at it. I can't speak for how much you can make or the company can provide you.

First before salary negotiation started you should have had the references and rough figure on your wishlist right? So why did not you bargain for that before the offer letter was extended.

1

Worst part in interviews is still people don't negotiate what they are worth and how much it costs for a living in fear of being turned off by employer

2

Employer says he will extend offer but will awfully make you wait

  • just to check your urgency
  • is this job important for you
  • is this the only job offer you got ( YES!! they will try to play you down most of the times since you haven't started any relation with them you are worth nothing to them except filling the vacancy)

3

Now quickly fire a email (before they offer the letter) stating it is a request to "Reconsider salary" stating the reasons you had in the question ( reasons are so true that i will do what ever it takes to give you that figure provided you hit a home run on the interviews )

4

The email did not work? call them to ask if they received the email and what they think about it? not the points on why if they feel you are not worth that money, what practical difficulties they face

5

Did not work?? Congratulations there is a Bigger opportunity that is waiting outside now you knew what employer wants for that sort of money

Community: Feel free to add more behavior tactics and negotiation tactics

  • Everything I've read seems to suggest that you should wait until you have the offer in hand before you relay your desires. – jdb1a1 Aug 16 '12 at 12:50
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    @jdb1a1 Which makes a certain amount of sense - there's no point talking about the details if the core issue of "do we want this person" aren't settled. (And from an employee view, you're in a better position if they've already decided you're a good fit before talking dollars and cents.) – Allen Gould Feb 21 '14 at 17:05

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