I'm a software developer working for a Small Company (SC). I have worked with them for four years, and they are my only professional development experience.

A recruiter for Big Company (BC) invited me to a hiring event. I informed the recruiter that I am perfectly happy at SC, but was interested to see what BC could offer me.

BC has offered me a starting salary at least 10% higher than my existing rate. Despite that, I still intend to stay with SC.

My question: What, if anything, should I say to SC about the salary BC is willing to offer me? Is it gauche to tell my employer that a recruiter offered me X amount and could SC give me Y?

I really wouldn't be asking SC to entice me to stay, but if I could ask for an out-of-band raise without seeming greedy/grasping, I'm certainly not opposed.

  • The fact that they're offering at least 10% higher could be evidence that you are being underpaid. Address this as a problem on its own directly with SC (which you decided to stay with) without mentioning BC - for example this topic is recommended here - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1025/…
    – Brandin
    Jul 8, 2015 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


If you have already decided to stay with SC, then you really don't have any bargaining power with them. Mentioning that you got an offer for a higher rate makes you a potential flight risk from the perspective of a manager.

If your heart is set on staying where you are, then you could perhaps look at market statistics to indicate what the going rates are in your area, and if your current salary is low you can use that as evidence for a raise.

Otherwise if you plan to use the salary to bargain with SC, you need to be prepared to lose the job at SC and work for BC. Don't put anything on the line that you are not prepared to lose.

  • Totally this. If you actually apply at BC and they give you the offer, you would need to put in your notice at SC. While they may give you a counter offer, they also may just wish you well in your future endeavors. (BTDT, both ways)
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 8, 2015 at 11:12

Tell your boss you have an offer, but you have not accepted until you told him first as a courtesy. If he chooses not to counter-offer, you have your answer. Some companies are very strict about avoiding getting into bidding wars for employees. Others will make an exception to keep a good employee.

You probably have a better feel for how you get along with people at this company and your level of comfort in this type of negotiation.

  • No idea why this answer received a downvote. I did the exact thing to get a raise at a company I enjoyed but was undercompensated at. There was no ill will as I was completely transparent with them, telling them I wanted to stay, but couldn't miss out on a 15% raise. Jul 8, 2015 at 22:39

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