I got a call from a recruiter and he gave me an offer, I was nervous and excited when I agreed to it. He said he will submit it for approval and will take a week. I hung up and forgot to ask about other benefits, so I called him back. He explained a few more things and also told me he told the hiring manager I agreed and is super excited I am on-board.

Once I got home, it all sunk in and I realized I should have negotiated. Is it too late? If not, what can I even say?

  • There's a fairly major difference between this and the "duplicate" question: this only has a verbal acceptance (the candidate has not seen or signed an offer letter), in the other the candidate has accepted in writing. – lambshaanxy Sep 19 '14 at 22:36
  • @jpatokal are you suggesting reopening? I don't know. At this point I won't vote either way since I have a conflicting interest with an answer here. jules, I see you're new here, welcome, note that if you accept an answer, you'll get plus 2 to your rep, but you may prevent others from answering as well if this is reopened. – Aaron Hall Sep 20 '14 at 0:45
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    @jpatokal (and jules, et al.) If you edit this post to make it more clear how it's different, the post will get bumped back to the top of the main page. Additionally, edits put the post in the review queue, where users with 3000+ reputation can review and vote to reopen, if they feel the edits have fixed the problem (or even if they disagree with the closure to begin with). The idea of on-hold is to clarify anything that may be confusing, even if it's clear to you but unclear to others. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Sep 20 '14 at 21:44
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    @AaronHall - See above comment... also, you can always use The Workplace Chat to get support for helping to edit/improve and reopen an on hold post. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Sep 20 '14 at 21:44

You've greatly undermined your negotiating power by accepting their offer without knowing your price. At this point, there's very little you can do.

Perhaps the worst they will say is "no." On the other hand, they might consider this a bad sign, and call off hiring you. I do know this would really make me reconsider a potential hire, if after accepting my offer, they call back asking for more.

I recommend you consider this a learning experience, and wait for your next offer to negotiate. Being currently employed puts you in a much better position to negotiate. If you get an offer for more than 30% more any time in the near future, no one would think poorly of you for leaving for it. If you can't get such an offer, that means you've probably accepted a good salary for your current level. Either way, you're not out much for this learning experience.

  • If it turns out that you receive significantly less than the others doing similar work at the company, you could also negotiate raises over a few years to bring you closer to par with your colleagues. This goes hand in hand with Aaron's "being currently employed puts you in a much better position to negotiate"; once you show your value to the company, no reasonable boss should look twice at you for asking for more money, but you must be prepared to back it up with facts and take a counteroffer that perhaps is less than you were hoping to get going into that meeting. – user Sep 19 '14 at 9:46
  • I agree with you in theory, but I think the force is weaker than you put it. My own experience suggests that firms would rather take the chance that employees will stay due to inertia rather than pay all employees enough to competitively retain them all. I believe this is the reason some career advice suggests moving as frequently as necessary to increase one's compensation significantly. Very key employees can have the bargaining strength you suggest, but this means that the company is in a very bad competitive position. – Aaron Hall Sep 20 '14 at 0:42

Since you haven't signed anything yet, you can ask for the offer in writing, and then try to dispute the contents: "This says you're offering $X, but I thought you offered $Y earlier?"

Needless to say, this would be unethical and dishonest if you were not actually offered $Y earlier, and could backfire on you pretty hard if they figure you're lying.

As Aaron says, it's probably best to take this as a learning experience: the next time somebody makes you an offer, ask for it in writing before you accept.

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