I understand there are a few similar questions being asked but my situation is slightly different from them as I have been unemployed and searching for work since October 2015.

I worked for a company on contract for 10 months from 2014-2015 (covering a Maternity leave). I fulfilled the contract term and left the company on good terms and my employer was very happy to take me back if in future anything came up.

I then had to take a break due to personal reasons for 5 months during which I was out of country. I came back and started looking out for jobs and got a few interviews where the pay was much higher than what was offered in my previous job. The interviews went well, but the employer never contacted the agency to give feedback (this was the reason given by my agency who arranged the interviews).

Now, this previous employer contacted me again for another position to cover maternity leave which will start in July. Since it is February now, I said that I was not sure if I could wait till then but would be happy to take it if I don't get anything by July. So they want to meet me in couple of days and discuss. I am assuming they want to provide me with a different position till July to fill up the gap (from March-July) and then offer the maternity leave job from July on.

My dilemma is whether to accept the offer or not if given or just wait and attend more interviews. I don't want to get stuck in the same position and not learn anything new.

Can I ask for pay similar to that offered in other jobs?

Is it reasonable to ask for a higher pay as they think taking me back would save them the hassle of training another new person.

Thank you.

  • @JoeStrazzere "you don't provide a huge savings over bringing in someone new" - don't forget the risk of hiring someone who turns out to be useless. They know for a fact the OP can do the job, which is a huge plus. – Peter - Unban Robert Harvey Feb 15 '16 at 15:31

Suppose these people stick their neck out and offer you a position at your old rate. You're going to tell them that you're entitled to a lot more money than you've ever made, because you interviewed for a few jobs that paid more? Suddenly you're a prima donna, and dealing with you on an everyday basis is going to be a bigger hassle in their mind than training someone new. That will be another interview that you think went well, and the employer never contacted you to give feedback. (Seeing a pattern here? If the employer never contacted the recruiter to give feedback, maybe the interview didn't go quite as well as you believe.)

Next, If you liked the work you were doing, then you weren't "stuck" in the position. (If you didn't like it, then don't take the interview. Nobody likes to have their time wasted.) If you're concerned about getting "stuck", then it would be more appropriate to say that you liked the work you were doing, and are looking forward to doing more of it, but that it's also important to you to learn new things and acquire new skills. And then, ask what sort of opportunities there would be for picking up those new skills.

Keep in mind, too, that perhaps they decided that you were a bright guy, and they could use you on some other projects where you would pick up some new skills. There are all kinds of positives about someone possibly wanting to accommodate your needs, so don't let focusing on the possible negatives sabotage your chances with this job before you even find out what it is. Money happens, and opportunities to learn new things happen. Go after this job and do your best at it, and if you don't see your way to advancing, then start looking for something else a few months before the contract ends.

My personal goal as an IT contractor (with 25 years of experience as such) has always been to have people think that when they put me on a project it gets done, no matter what skill set is required. With that attitude, I've wound up doing a great variety of things in my career. That might work for you, too.


Is it reasonable to ask for a higher pay as they think taking me back would save them the hassle of training another new person.

Yes, you can certainly ask. You're not negotiating from all that strong a position because you have been unemployed for a long time. But feel your way through the interview what responsibilities etc,. go with the job and ask them for more than you were getting if you sense it will go positively.

You're quite right, having someone who will hit the ground running is a big savings for them. It depends if they realise that or not.

  • Shalini's negotiation position isn't strong, but that's not something the new employer needs to know. And it's not that bad, because apparently there are better paying jobs available, and eventually he or she should get one. – gnasher729 Feb 15 '16 at 20:13

As far as negotiating goes, you are in a good position because (1) you know the job, (2) they know that you did a decent job in the past or they wouldn't have contacted you, so hiring you is a safe bet, and (3) they don't need to go through some agency, so hiring you doesn't cost additional money.

If you worked through an agency the last time, they would have got payment as well, which the company doesn't need to pay this time. In that case they can afford to pay you a higher salary even though it doesn't cost them anything. So that would improve your position even more.

So your old salary was X and you saw positions paying Y, which is a lot more. Demanding X would be stupid, demanding Y might end up with you getting nothing. A job now is worth a lot more than a job in three months. So you can mention that you have been trying to get Y (just with the right phrasing that you would like to get Y but might accept a bit less, and indicating that you have progressed in the last year), and you can hope for an offer closer to Y than to X.

If they offer nowhere near Y, you still know you played your cards right and got the maximum offer that you could get. If it's not enough, you don't take the job.

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