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In initial talks about a job, the office manager told me that they thought a fair salary range was between x and y - let's say "$50-55k". The higher number was $10k below the expected range I gave them. I was just officially offered "$50k". The office manager then called me off the record and suggested countering for "somewhere within $50-55k" (and asking for relocation reimbursement). I assumed they suggested this range because they knew it would be a safe bet for me.

But before I heard this, I was going to counter anyway and ask for $60, assuming we'd eventually "compromise" at $55. Should I go against the office manager's advice (which I assume would end in less than $55)?

Thanks for any input.

  • The person making the offer is then advising you? Sounds like a bit of underhanded negotiation – HorusKol Jul 1 '15 at 22:48
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But before I heard this, I was going to counter anyway and ask for $60, assuming we'd eventually "compromise" at $55

So you need to decide if you want to take a "safe" approach as suggested by your potential office manager, or take what might be a "less safe" approach.

Part of the decision process should involve:

  • How much you need this particular job
  • How much the extra salary is "worth" compared to your needs
  • How much you trust the advice of the office manager
  • How lucky you feel

Only you can weight those factors, and determine your next move.

If it was me, I'd go with your gut and ask for $60k, but your mileage may vary.

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    Are you going to be happy if you get a saalry that is well below what you want? If not, then asking for what you want is no risk as you should turn down the job anyway if it doesn't meet your minimum.. – HLGEM Jul 1 '15 at 15:15
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    Also keep in mind you obviously have different perspectives on the salary range. It sounds like the OP thinks the salary range for this position is $65k+ and the company thinks it is 50-55k, it's unlikely this will end up in a situation where both are satisfied. – enderland Jul 1 '15 at 17:19
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A few things to think about:

  1. Understand what companies think about when it comes to comp versus what you think about when it comes to comp. Obviously you're looking to get paid what you think you're worth. This is how everyone thinks...except for companies. When a company determines a range for a position they're not thinking about what someone is worth so much as establishing a price they hope is competitive enough to get a set of tasks accomplished. It's a slight but important difference. If you're expecting more than what they're willing to offer it's quite likely you're bringing more skills/experience to the role than they really need. You might want to have some follow-up conversations about what this role will be like down the road and make sure it's not something you'll be bored with in a year.
  2. Asking for 5-10% more than what they're offering is rarely going to be a losing strategy on your end. Worse case scenario is that the say no. As a recruiter I loathe back and forth salary negotiations and usually push hard to get a candidate what they're looking for. This is someone's career and income, not an '86 Chrysler! In my experience it's fairly common for a company to give a candidate what they're asking for so long as the amount is at or below the midpoint of the range. Going a little over the range usually isn't an issue assuming the candidate brings a lot to the table. Sometimes it does require additional authorization from the powers that be. Going significantly over midpoint is a bad idea for many reasons.
  3. Again, you're not buying an '86 Chrysler. This is the money you need to put food on the table, pay your rent/mortgage, etc. You should know how much you need to support the lifestyle you've become accustomed to. If a company offers something exceptional - an opportunity learn, break into a different field, long term promotion opportunities, etc. - then it's OK to consider taking a short term pay cut within reason. Otherwise you shouldn't expect to take a decrease in pay for a role that isn't that different from what you're currently doing. Conversely, you also shouldn't expect a pay increase simply because you're switching jobs (though sadly these days this is often the only way to get any real bump in pay)

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