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I currently work in a medium sized web development company. However, the management sucks, our team sucks, and most of the team is pretty much stuck in 2013 with no means to improve. Why does the management suck? Well, I'm working 60 hour weeks because we're overbooked, so I pretty much have no freetime.

So I've decided to jump ship the first good change I get. Two weeks ago I saw a small ad agency, and I liked the vibe in it, so I sent an application, got a reply within 10 minutes, and the next day I was in an interview. I nailed it, and the interview after that, because a week later I got an email that pretty much said "we want to hire you, but what is your salary request?".

And I'm afraid that at this point I ****ed up. I asked for 20% more than my current job, as I feel I am worth that, since I would be working as a fullstack developer, but a week has passed without a word from them, so I'm not having too high hopes about it anymore.

So if I'm not getting the job, I'm probably going to end up in a similar situation in the near future, but how should I submit my salary request? I made it clear that it is very much negotiable, but should I just make it clear from the beginning? I would've given an estimate in the first application, but I didn't know enough about the company to make an estimate.

marked as duplicate by gnat, Masked Man, paparazzo, Dawny33, Alec Apr 25 '16 at 7:19

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  • Just keep trying, nothing wrong with asking for what you think you're worth. And no point stepping backwards just to land a job which is a risk in itself. – Kilisi Apr 24 '16 at 0:21
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I got an email that pretty much said "we want to hire you, but what is your salary request?".

And I'm afraid that at this point I ****ed up. I asked for 20% more than my current job, as I feel I am worth that, since I would be working as a fullstack developer, but a week has passed without a word from them, so I'm not having too high hopes about it anymore.

The fact that you haven't heard back for a week doesn't mean you f***ed up. It might mean that they will get back to you soon. Or it might mean that the company is attractive but doesn't pay well enough to meet your your requirements. That's not a failure on your part. Would you really want to work for them if they were only offering 20% less than your current pay?

You asked for what you think you are worth - in my opinion that is usually the correct approach. Now try to be a bit more patient and see where this goes. You may get what you asked for, you may be offered less than you asked for, or you may be able to negotiate more.

So if I'm not getting the job, I'm probably going to end up in a similar situation in the near future, but how should I submit my salary request?

Some choose to leave the future salary requirement open, and just refer to their current salary "I'm currently making $X, and feel that I'm worth more. I am open to hearing more about the benefits package and working with you to come up with an appropriate salary." Some don't even mention their current salary, thinking that it "anchors" the offer to a level that is too low.

I made it clear that it is very much negotiable, but should I just make it clear from the beginning? I would've given an estimate in the first application, but I didn't know enough about the company to make an estimate.

Indicating that it is negotiable is often a good thing to do.

A company doesn't want to offer too little or too much. But a company also doesn't want to waste time with someone who is clearly outside of their budget.

I don't think you did anything wrong if you truly feel you are worth 20% more and don't want to settle for much less.

On the other hand, perhaps that most important factor isn't the salary, and instead the possibility of working less than 60 hours per week is your most important requirement. In that case, you may indeed want to settle for less. And in that case, asking for 20% more may have been a mistake.

Instead, you may have been better advised to emphasize that the hours (or working environment, etc) are more important, then seeing what offer you got.

For future negotiations, go in with a clear understanding of the importance of all the work variables - both financial and non-financial. Then you'll be able to weight them effectively, and get what make you happiest.

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Depends on your motivation.

1) If you were happy in your current job, and were only changing jobs because you want more money, then you did exactly the right thing. Ask for what you want, and who care if they say no? At least you have current job.

2) If you are changing jobs because you really want those new skills (full stack developer), then 20% is a bit aggressive, especially if you don't actually have those skills yet. Get the job first, gain the skills, then ask for a raise once you are an established full-stack developer with proven value.

If you have never worked as a full stack developer before (question is unclear), then the fact that they were willing to interview you before you had those skills (yet) means that they may have been looking for a junior developer that they could grow into the position, and pay according -- after you start to bring full-value.

3) If you are changing jobs because you don't like current job, and just want another job -- any other job will do -- then 20% is pretty aggressive. Especially if you are basing it on skills you don't actually have yet. I would have probably said something closer to current salary, unless I was very confident that they are willing to pay the higher amount.

They may still offer you the job, but salary requirement may have made them more cautious, and may motivate them to step back and keep their options open. Hard to guess what they will do next.

If you really want the job, but believe that salary requirement was too high, that doesn't mean it is unsalvageable. It does mean that you may have to bring a dose of... lets call it... "assertive humility". Reach out to them and be honest and direct. Say you are very interested in the job, but are concerned that you may have scared them off with a high salary ask. Then ask them if that's so, and what they had in mind for salary. Try to reach a meeting of the minds. If you want to close the deal, give them a more realistic salary expectation. Don't beg, but leave the ball in their court. And then keep looking while they decide what to do next.

Working 60 hours a week in a job you dislike sucks. Good luck!

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Finding a new job is challenging, especially if you are not simply transitioning between companies in the same role, but you are changing roles at the same time. Testing the waters with pay expectations is important, as it is very rare that a company will offer you more than what you ask for, similarly, it is hard to negotiate up if you have a meeting with them.

Plus, people do have a habit of gauging the value of something by the price tag attached to it. If you had said you would take the job for an absurdly low amount, they would have assumed that you do not know what you are doing, and would have washed you out.

I'd suggest you let time do the job for you, and let them ruminate on it a bit. If you do not hear from them after a while, make a follow-up call to them to ask whether they received your email, whether it was an acceptable offer, whether they had placed someone or were still looking, etc. Costs you nothing to check.

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