I had an interview recently and at the end I was asked about my salary expectation.

I am a student and this is an internship but I think I didn't manage this professionally. I don't want to get the job then go to the office and observe that another intern makes more than me. This would make me feel bad.

In your opinion, if I receive the contract with this X salary, is it a good idea to re-negotiate my salary or this will show that the money counts more than the experience for me?

  • You want to re-negotiate on what basis? What's your leverage, that you're going to quit if you don't get what you want? Personally, if you were trying to re-negotiate with me, I'd show you the door. I am not taking the chance of having an unhappy employee on my hands. – Vietnhi Phuvan Feb 3 '15 at 2:55
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    Well, internships are all about learning, and I'm guessing you learned something today. On the plus side, they're also temporary, and salary expectations are not "set" by your internship rate. You're not going to have to live with this very long. – Wesley Long Feb 3 '15 at 7:17
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    @Dr.Programmer Agreed with the comment by Wesley Long. Focus on picking the right internship that will give you the best experience and contacts to advance your career. You will make much more money later in life if you advance your career now. The pay should be a tie-breaker between two equally attractive internship opportunities. – maple_shaft Feb 3 '15 at 11:42
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    You also need to learn not to care what others are making (which frankly is none of your business). Salary is unfair everywhere. Don't base your internal worth on what others make. Negotiate for what you want. You will end up higher than some people (even some better performers) and lower than others (even some people who are not competent) but if it is what you wanted, then be happy with it. – HLGEM Feb 3 '15 at 14:42
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    Salary and benefit negotiations are usually about getting the company to weigh your skills and experience against the possibility of you backing out because they haven't offered enough. I believe there's usually a long line of students lined up for internships who will be happy to step into your shoes. Consider carefully giving your new employer a monetary reason to change their mind and grab the next one in line. – Alan Krueger Feb 4 '15 at 6:38

With an internship, I think many companies may withdraw the offer if you start trying to negotiate salary with them. Though I disagree with it, as you said, often the attitude is that interns should be super grateful for any experience they get at all, and there are even some industries where interns are expected to work completely unpaid. And in my personal experience, the salary offered to me as an intern wasn't even negotiable, they just named a wage -- take it or leave it.

So I wouldn't try to renegotiate at this point unless one of the following is true:

  • You're willing to take the risk of the company withdrawing the offer in order to get a possibility of a higher wage.
  • You have a reasonable expectation that the particular company would not withdraw the offer just because you try to negotiate.
  • The minimum number you gave is actually too low for you to be able to live.

Being an intern gives you a big leg up on getting a permanent position at the company. If they start talking about offering you a permanent position, definitely then would be a good time to renegotiate salary.

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    Citation needed: "many companies may withdraw the offer if you start trying to negotiate salary with them". No (sane) company is going to drop the offer because you ask, they'll just say "not negotiable". – lambshaanxy Feb 3 '15 at 2:21
  • I'm not so sure when you're talking about an internship. Of course this is just anecdotal, but I've had an internship offer withdrawn because I tried to negotiate for more time to make a decision, as I'd applied to multiple places. – Kai Feb 3 '15 at 16:05
  • Asking for more time is not the same as asking for more money. Although, on rereading the OP's post, if they've already agreed to a salary, attempting to negotiate at that point is unlikely to go well. – lambshaanxy Feb 3 '15 at 23:12
  • I don't really see it as different. Negotiating a higher salary costs them money. But interns are kind of the opposite of a critical position that they need to fill immediately, so it's not like the company would have been negatively impacted by waiting a little longer. In that sense, I think companies should be more willing to accept that the intern wants a little more time to decide over the intern wants more money. – Kai Feb 4 '15 at 16:50

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