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Last week I went to a conference where I met a very interesting company, they quickly showed their interest in me and quickly on the spot offered me an opportunity that i'm really excited about and during that day I had 4 meetings with their top management.

During one of the meetings, I was discussing the opportunity with one of the senior managers and later on he asked me about my current salary, I quickly responded with the exact number not a range "my horrible mistake" I was trying to be honest and then move to ask for a higher package but before I continue he told me that he has no problem with that number I was trying to take the initiative to negotiate but suddenly -since it's a conference- one of his friends interrupted the discussion and sat on our table and quickly asked him to join their dinner. I was confused and didn't know what should I do, i felt uneasy to discuss salary in-front of that person so I didn't even try.

At the moment, I'm confused and not sure what to do, I'm sure they gonna offer me the exact same salary though I want to negotiate more since I don't feel I had my chance to negotiate but at the same time I'm worried they take negativity and I lose that amazing opportunity.

I have reached out to the same senior manager and asked him for another meeting regarding the opportunity.

My questions are:

  1. How negative would it look if i open the subject again?
  2. If i should take my chances, what is the best way to reinitiate the discussion?
  • Nothing wrong with saying "we were interrupted before I could finish the sentence -- I'm getting $x now, but to justify changing employers I'm really looking to increase that." I have no opinion on whether you should add "my target is $y" or wait for them to propose a number. – keshlam Nov 28 '14 at 15:47
  • @JoeStrazzere No i'm sure that i will accept the position even though the salary would be the same. but I feel that I have a chance to get a better salary and i'm blowing that off and on the other hand i'm worried that if i negotiate after what happened i might lose that opportunity – trrrrrrm Nov 29 '14 at 4:54
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When he said "I have no problem with that number" he almost certainly wasn't saying "Excellent, I'll hire you for the same" - he was suggesting that you're in the right ballpark.

He will definitely be expecting you to ask for more than that. How much more depends on your field, how much higher level the current job is etc, but typically he'll be expecting you to ask for something like a $3,000 or 10% increase, whichever is higher. Note this is only typical, your field/region may be different, or you may have other reasons to expect a larger rise in your next role.

The point is that he isn't expecting you to turn up for that same amount - it's a risk, and also you've surely gained experience since taking on your current role. As long as you aren't going to be asking for an unreasonable amount more (for your situation) then he will likely have no problem with it. I doubt he even remembers the exact number you mentioned, he will just recall that it was around what he'd expect for that role.

Don't think of that discussion as the salary negotiation: it wasn't. The salary negotiation comes when they make you a verbal offer and say "So I think we should discuss money", or when they make you an offer around/a little above what you're currently on, at which point they'll be expecting you to counter-offer.

At the next meeting, gauge their response, but I'm sure an opportunity will arise in the conversation. Just make certain they want to hire you before talking money.

  • This. So long as the OP doesn't feel like he's drastically underpaid (and thus wants significantly more than what he is on now) a variation of 5-10% is probably not going to be an issue. – pi31415 Nov 28 '14 at 20:46
  • based on what i felt and their response i feel it was a salary negotiation session. I'm also worried that if they offer me the exact same amount and i counter-offer it might look negative as if if you interview someone and he asks for X salary you offer him what he asked for and then he counteroffers with Y. what i'm saying is that based on their understanding they think its X what i want and i'm worried that my counteroffer might look negative. – trrrrrrm Nov 29 '14 at 18:25
  • It definitely wasn't a negotiation - no company would sensibly expect you to leave a stable job for the same salary elsewhere unless you had some exceptional reason for abandoning career progression. – Jon Story Nov 30 '14 at 20:08
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You did the correct thing by answering the question as stated. If they take that as your required salary to take this new position then that is their problem.

At this point you have a verbal offer with no salary. The next step is a formal written offer. I would not push for another meeting. Write a thank you / cover letter and attach your resume. Do some research on the company and show that you have done some research in the cover letter.

If the $ is not good enough when you get a formal offer then simply tell them $ is the only thing stopping you from taking the offer. If they say but that is what you are making now then you can respond but I am not going to leave for the same amount of money. Make them ask you for a number and be ready to walk away. You need to know the other benefits to decide on a $.

  • Actually, it would most likely have been better not to give a number. The OP is now almost certain to get $OLD_SALARY plus a bit, even if he had a shot at $OLD_SALARY * 2. kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation – jpatokal Nov 29 '14 at 4:06
  • Thank you for your answer but as @jpatokal stated it's always wrong to give the exact number, plus if i do what you suggested then i'm worried it look negative since i guess they thought we agreed on a number and once there is a contract i change the number, simply take it as you interviewed someone and you asked him how much salary he wants he said X then you offered him and he came back asking for Y it's certain that you wont like that "at least in my opinion" – trrrrrrm Nov 29 '14 at 4:52
  • Get you story straight. Did the interviewer ask how much you are currently making or how much you want? Because your story is changing. – paparazzo Nov 29 '14 at 5:35
  • @jpatokal Really? What part of op was asked for current salary is not clear? So OP should have said I am not going to answer that question. Great interview advice - don't answer a direct question. – paparazzo Nov 29 '14 at 5:45
  • @Blam Being asked for your salary is not an interview question anymore, it's an offer negotiation question, which can and should be politely dodged until they venture a number. – jpatokal Nov 29 '14 at 9:53

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