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I’m a programmer (software engineer) in a Russian branch of a big multinational IT company. The company itself comes from US, and its corporate culture is US-based too. I am quite happy with my current job, and was not specifically looking for a new one. But some time ago I gave a talk at a local forum, and after this I was independently approached by two small local IT companies, who offered to talk about my possible move to them. The companies are local, but they try to follow US-like corporate culture too.

Now, I had several interviews at both of that companies, which looks rather successful, so I hope that I will get at least one job offer soon, or maybe two. I hope that the offer(s) will come with a higher compensation (all bonuses etc included) than the one I have at my current position; I hope for at least 30-50% rise (at least I will not agree to a smaller value, and I have mentioned this several times to HRs at the two new companies).

As I’ve said, I like my current job, but also I think I will like the both possible new jobs too. I expect minor disadvantages (say I think that working for a big company would be a plus if at one day I will decide to relocate away from Russia), but overall I think that the compensation rise definitely will outweigh them.

So I would like to take advantage of having a job offer (or two) while having a good job too. I might, for example, come to my current manager and say that I have a job offer and try to negotiate a matching pay rise. I think that this might work, as I feel that I am valued at my current position (my manager has several times expressed his satisfaction on my performance, I am constantly given more-that-average pay rise on a more-or-less regular pay rise events, etc). However, I am afraid that the manager might consider me at least overpaid and will start requiring much stronger performance, or will deny further regular pay rises (the latters average to about 10-15% per year), or will even silently start to look for a replacement for me, being afraid that I will eventually leave.

So, what is the best tactics to take advantage of such a position without having much drawbacks?

Also, if I get two offers, how should I handle this to get better conditions without much drawbacks on my future job?

  • @JoeStrazzer, I think that a new job would not require from me much more than my current job, so I wouldn't want that the current job would start requiring much more. – Ivan Sep 30 '15 at 18:03
  • Try to ask for raise, but don't even mention that you're looking for a job elsewhere. That's what can happen workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/55300/… – Amberta Oct 2 '15 at 14:17
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I would check out this question -- When does accepting an offer to stay with my current firm make sense? -- for advice on negotiating with your current employer after receiving a job offer.

The problem with using an outside job offer to negotiate a raise is that your employer may agree to the raise, but immediately start looking for your replacement. After all, what's to prevent you from doing the same thing six months from now? Or leaving after 2 more months.

Using multiple job offers as a negotiating tactic between the two other companies makes perfect sense -- once you have a number from one company, you have nothing to lose in asking for more from the other company.

Of course you risk being perceived as caring more about pay than the position, which is why there's a limit to the number of times you can realistically pit one against the other.

So either stay or go, but generally, when you start thinking about other places to work, it means something is lacking in your current job, or you see an opportunity to advance your career in a new position and environment.

  • I agree, once the idea becomes embedded of leaving, it tends to happen eventually. – Kilisi Sep 30 '15 at 10:11
  • Ever met anyone who accepted a counter-offer from their current employer and regretted it? Good people are hard to find and keep. Managers really don't like finding replacements if they can help it. You don't give someone a raise and then fire them unless you like paying higher unemployment. – user8365 Sep 30 '15 at 13:52
  • @JeffO I know people who have accepted a counter offer and have been fine. I know someone who gave a 4 month notice and was terminated immediately. I have heard of people who accepted a counter offer and were let go soon after. Whenever you introduce change or doubt into the employment agreement, it's a risk. Counter offers can work, but is it worth the risk? Plus when you accept a counter offer it can be suddenly disappointing when you realize it's the same old thing... – mcknz Oct 1 '15 at 0:46
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    @mcknz - In the long run if change is going to freak them out, you're better off without them. – user8365 Oct 9 '15 at 22:46
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It looks like you value pay over position, nothing wrong with that at all. I would focus on the two potential employers and discount trying to negotiate with the original entirely.

The reasoning is that your original employer might feel slighted that you are applying for jobs at all because it's indicative of the fact that you're quite prepared to leave them, or that you're trying to gain leverage for a raise when you already get compensated over the usual amount.

So while they may give you a raise if they need you enough, in all likelihood they will seriously start looking at replacing you and your job security is therefore in some danger.

Playing the two potential employers against each other is reasonably easy, you're basically running an auction. If you don't like the highest offer for any reason, tell the other employer you would be very interested in working for them if they could see their way to offering more. You could get away with doing this once per employer hopefully.

Any more than that and you run the risk of pricing yourself out of both jobs. And if word got back to your original employer things could become uncomfortable.

  • I'm quite sure 90 % of companies are well aware their employees are always looking for better opportunities. The remaining 10 % would simply be a bit naïve. – Juha Untinen Sep 30 '15 at 13:03
  • I must be in the 10%, because if I had an inkling an employee was looking for other work, I'd help them out the door. – Kilisi Sep 30 '15 at 22:10
  • Kilisi, if you are not paying the absolute maximum anyone on the market is willing to pay to a given employee, you are naive. Sorry man, I am extremely loyal to my current employer, but I'm much more loyal to myself. And I don't find that even a bit unprofessional, on the contrary, I'm assessing my market value to keep expectations at bay, so I can concentrate on the job. – Spidey Oct 2 '15 at 10:42
  • been in business for 25 years, worked for me so far... I'd prefer a solid loyal worker, to a brilliant mercenary, saves in the long run. – Kilisi Oct 2 '15 at 20:51
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Look at it this way. Wouldn't it be fair to your current employer to at least have the option of making you a counter-offer if they wanted to? You may tell them you're leaving and they'll congratulate you and wish you well on your new venture. They may ask why you're leaving. Significant increases in salary is a very good reason. No one should begrudge someone for improving their livelihood.

Another perspective would be if you hypothetically weren't currently employed and were getting two job offers. If one made me a higher offer, I would ask the lesser offer for more money. We're assuming everything else is equal.

In business, people need to be professional and at least adult about these matters. If you're a manger that doesn't like getting into salary negotiations, find another position. You need to know what you're worth and not accept anything less. I'm going to stop perpetuating these myths about asking for more money. Don't be afraid to ask for a raise. Any company that holds asking for more money against someone doesn't deserve talented people.

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I expect minor disadvantages (say I think that working for a big company would be a plus if at one day I will decide to relocate away from Russia), but overall I think that the compensation rise definitely will outweigh them.

Something in regard to this that was not mentioned by previous responses. You might want to rethink the "definitely" part. If you move from a US company to a Russian company, and then try to relocate (e.g. to the US, or anywhere else), this career move might be misinterpreted by HR in the US to mean that you actually preferred working for a Russian company rather than a foreign employer, possibly for cultural reasons.

The question might be, "What is preventing this guy from working here for a year and then going back to his home country, if he happens to be lured by some other Russian company?" If you did it before (while on the home turf) the answer would be, "Nothing." This makes you a riskier bet compared to someone with a history of employment that is more 'loyal' to foreign firms.

I suspect in the world of international hiring, there is a bit of "us" and "them" mentality - either you are working with a foreign employer (which in particular is secondary), or you are with your home country's employer. I realize this sounds binary/simplistic, but in the US especially, there is a tendency to think about the world as "America" and "everything else."

So, even though you mention a longer-term possibility of a move, your thinking about the particular choices you are facing now appears to be more short-term. Therefore I would suggest to think more in terms of long-term consequences of the short-term decisions you are considering. What is more important: short-term financial gain, or greater possibility of a successful transition abroad? These things are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but I have tried to outline one potential trade-off. The rest is up to you to decide. Good luck!

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