My question is at the end, but first I will explain the situation so that you can effectively analyze my question.

Here is my situation, I have known an Executive VP who has wanted me to work for his company for over 3 years now. I recently was able to interview for a role however the position tops out at 130k and I make 150k base. I told the recruiter we could interview and deal with the salary gap after the interview but that I would not be dropping below my base and that my salary expectations would be based on what the role entails.

Upon having the interview I learned the role contains much more responsibility then the job description and I would also be absorbing the responsibilities of a team member who recently left the organization. Finally, I would be required to travel 75% of time where I currently have 0% travel and work from home. (I've traveled before for work, not a big deal, but it does effect comp)

Based on this, I asked the hiring manager to have a salary conversation with me prior to the offer. I am going to position that.

1) The offer should be reclassified as a Director role due to the large amount of responsibility and the significant impact this would have on: -Growth of Service Revenue -Product Launch -Partner Management -Full development of multiple channels

2) I am expecting 180 - 200k for this role. I justify this based on current market for similar roles being from 180-220 across multiple industries, I've validated this against my companies salary chart (we're in the same industry) as well as salary research for similar roles on the Internet. This is also justified b/c I would be assuming the duties of a 100-120k/yr + bonus + benefits FTE. The gap between 120 to 180-200 is 60-80k. They would make money with this deal as they would avoid the costs of recruitment, the lost opportunity cost while the position remains unfilled, and they would get a FTE role without the headcount and would avoid 60k in salary by giving me half of the previous role's salary.

3) By making this move I would be taking on 2 FTE roles, would be leading 4+ people, would be increasing my travel, and I would be losing 20k in stock options. Additionally the 401k is 1% less and the tuition reimbursement is half what I currently get.

My plan would be to explain what the market bears for this kind of role, and how while they have this titled for a position with a cap of 120-130 if we work together we can consolidate the two roles (which they've asked me to do) and can re-title the role as a Director role and position at a market competitive salary rate.

So, with the background of the position, my question is, do you see any gaps in my logic and my plan to explain the gap? How would you suggest I close those gaps?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the answer would only benefit you and cannot be applied more widely. The site does not provide consultancy for assisting with individual salary negotiations! – Marv Mills Dec 24 '15 at 11:31
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    Despite my close-vote, I think you have a well thought-through position here- All you can do is stick to your position and see how it is received. Note that the question in your title does not match the actual questions you asked in the body of the question. – Marv Mills Dec 24 '15 at 11:33
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    I would argue that there are plenty of folks who are in the position where the salary and/or benefits do not align and the answers to this question, while initially addressing my need, can be utilized to help others think through the negotiation process. I expected feedback around what works/doesn't work in the process, which would be beneficial to others as well regardless of specificity of my question. – Phi Dec 24 '15 at 11:44
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    Then please edit your question to reflect that because at the moment what you have asked for is a review of your position and a second set of eyes on your negotiating strategy. – Marv Mills Dec 24 '15 at 11:50
  • You are a VP. You must be able to make this decision easily by logical thinking which you seem to be doing. – Learner_101 Dec 24 '15 at 15:56

You've pretty much nailed it.

For others that may read this later, Phi has done the following:

  • Determined a bottom line "I won't accept the job for less than X" position.
  • Researched the job market to establish (from multiple sources) that X is reasonable.
  • Identified ways (reclassify the position as "Director") that the company could accommodate his requirements.
  • Clearly described why Phi is worth that much.

The rest is up to the company. They have to decide if they are willing to pay for Phi or if they can find someone who is willing to work for less. That part is out of Phi's hands.

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  • Yeah. Though it sounds like the company knew of Phi's fixed salary desire prior to interviewing, so it's possible they have already found a work-around on their end (considering they still went through the interview process). – enderland Dec 24 '15 at 14:43
  • They didn't know how much I wanted bc i didn't fully understand the role. They just knew I made 150 and they were at 130. I said I would interview and we could figure out salary later but that I was not going below my current salary. – Phi Dec 24 '15 at 15:37

Your analysis has some flaws. And a company that doesn't know what job it's advertising is a mess you may want to avoid. Also, it's not common for job candidates to suggest the creation of a new job or role based on an interview, so you have risks with your approach.

Here are some concerns I would have with your approach:

  1. Changing the title, job description and pay range should require the company to re-advertise and re-interview for the position. HR should be concerned about equal opportunity. Also these changes should attract an entirely different pool of candidates, some of which may be as qualified or better qualified than you. This eliminates one of your strongest "selling points" since they cannot rush the process.

  2. Creating a director role may not be possible within the department or for a job that is not currently advertised as a "director". Company politics may prevent the creation of that role, or hinder it's creation while they still are in need of at least one person. And the costs are too heavy if they move too fast and make mistakes. What do you bring to the table to make a fast move worth the risk? Do you have special connections or qualifications?

  3. You have not explained how you are best qualified for the position. First, how is it that you are qualified to take on the responsibilities? Your current salary is now below the lowest salary you recommend, in stark contrast to your original concern. Also, if the job is mis-advertised, how are you confident that a new pool of candidates will not be better qualified than you for the pay range you suggest?

  4. In your question, there is not a clear need for a director from the perspective of the company. Has the company grown? Have the department responsibilities changed or expanded? If the company hasn't changed much then there is little basis for new roles like director. Their next step should be to reduce the job responsibilities, and place them with the EVP or another person until it is better justified, and title this role more effectively if necessary ("manager"?). In other words, how does having a director benefit the company if they were doing fine without one? It sounds like this is a new job, but maybe it should not be a director job.

  5. As the CEO of the company talking to the EVP, I might respond to your suggestion with, "A director role will cause a lot of political chaos. Try to compromise on salary and keep the title and responsibilities 'as is'." Then there are no other VP's/EVP's counting their directors or trying to get new directors just to "keep up." Would this mean that you reject the offer? And would other candidates likewise reject it? Compromises can be effective, and it isn't clear why this wouldn't be effective but your answer doesn't seem to allow for compromises like this.

Some suggestions and alternative perspectives:

You do not explain why the job title and description don't really match what you discovered during the interview. You may want to first get a better understanding as to why this is not being advertised as a director position right now before assuming they didn't know that it was a director role. Maybe they have already explored it, maybe politics or practical reasons make them avoid it. Maybe they will reveal market research that provides a different perspective. This would help you prepare for your negotiation much better.

Also, decisions like adding a director role usually are not suggested by job candidates. So you may want to ask probing questions to get them to think of your solution instead of you suggesting it. Being proposed by an outsider may not be received well. So approaching with questions that help them realize they are advertising for the wrong job could help them understand your perspective faster or better than trying to explain it to them.

Consider that if they reject your proposition, as the CEO/EVP I would probably reject you for further consideration for the job. It would sound like your expectations are not aligned with the current state of the job/company. Hiring you after that discussion would be unwise. You should be prepared with how to address this unless you are fine with this, or else be prepared with more options.

To increase options see this as a negotiation rather than thinking up a "solution" and then trying to support/defend it. For example open the discussion with, "Can we talk about reducing the responsibilities and/or enhancing the job title? Either way, I'm concerned about the compensation level, but I think we need a discussion to clarify the expectations around the job itself first." Explain your concerns but focus on trade-offs among the job title, compensation and responsibilities. This is a more flexible conversation which may help you reach agreement.

One last option, you may want to pursue this discussion as an advisor to the company and decline the job (for now). State the reasons you outlined above regarding misaligned title, compensation and expectations. It sounds like you can help create an appropriate role and set expectations since they may not have realistic expectations for this director job. It sounds like they need help and you might want to sit out during this round of company "learning".

With this approach you will likely be seen as objective and interested in helping the company. That objectivity will probably go a long way toward making you more attractive as an employee for the company in general. After advising, you will probably also be seen as a good candidate for filling the role, but sincerely do not expect that since it is misleading. Only take this approach if you genuinely want to help, you are fine if you do not get the job and really do want to avoid what could be a terrible mess.

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  • Let me see if I can add some clarity to this unusual situation. I have been engaged with the EVP for 3 years now and we were awaiting my non-compete to expire. Now that it has expired he asked me to apply for a role they had open knowing that we would have to tweak the role. Then they have a guy leave and they said hey let's combine his role with the role your pursuing. I have a unique set of skills that only a few have in the Niche I work in. I have been told by the executive team that they want to create a role for a career not a job and they want to collaborate with me. Help? – Phi Dec 24 '15 at 18:13
  • The idea of combining roles clouds the issue. It's like gravity and will have a tendency to pull you back into that role instead of progress into a new one. You may want to ask another question regarding how to advise a company when creating a new role with the complexity of a recent vacancy on the team. – Jim Dec 25 '15 at 1:02

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