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I'm in a very awkward salary negotiation situation. I was sought and recruited for a position with a company by a friendly professional acquaintance. I interviewed for the job and was offered the position. They offered me $8k below my current salary. I said that it wasn't possible for me to accept their offer and thanked them after they informed me there wasn't any room for negotiation.

They came back with a $10k increase from their original offer. I asked for $4k more and was told that they would work on it and respond to me the following day. That was nearly two weeks ago. I followed up with a friendly email stating my interest in their company and position nine days after they said they would respond to me. No response to my follow up email from them.

How should I followup with them on this offer? They had great follow through up until my request for $4k more. Any insight would be helpful.

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    I would've passed after they said "There's no room for negotation" and then suddenly offered $10K more. – Erik Oct 24 '16 at 19:46
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    No response = no – paparazzo Oct 24 '16 at 20:09
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    Next time you find yourself in this situation it would be better to offer a counter offer. Instead of simply saying, "I can't work for that," tell them an offer that you can accept. In this case, had you told them you wanted $6k more than you are making now, they could have acted accordingly. – Lumberjack Oct 24 '16 at 20:24
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    I think they have done their best - but it comes across that you are greedy. I guess that was their breaking point. – Ed Heal Oct 24 '16 at 20:47
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    @Lumberjack Based on OP's description, the salary offer was made in person and OP was told the offer was final and non-negotiable before he even got a chance to say "I wouldn't be able to accept anything less than X". Trying to negotiate when someone has given you their best offer would be very strange and you'd come across as tone deaf in most situations. – Lilienthal Oct 25 '16 at 8:32
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Swing and a miss!

You negotiated for more, and they didn't accept. Sounds like they're not going to. Your best bet is to wait in silence. If they're interested and can't find someone else at that price point, they may reach out again. It's unlikely, but it has happened.

There's no real benefit in contacting them, they're likely to sense an upper hand and either back down on the price or just walk away.

  • I think it depends on whether the OP would accept their last offer. If so, I think it's worth trying to get in touch. – user45590 Oct 25 '16 at 10:20
  • @dan1111 He didn't leave a door open, so he looks desperate, greedy, unrealistically entitled, or a combination of the above. – jimm101 Oct 25 '16 at 10:25
  • Sure you risk looking bad, but on the other hand you might get the job. – user45590 Oct 25 '16 at 10:27
  • @dan1111 It's not an issue of looking bad, it's an issue of losing any leverage you may have in the future. You don't want to start as the unreasonable, overpaid person who asked for too much. Let the company come to the conclusion that they're underpaying, and you may get the job and the $4K. – jimm101 Oct 25 '16 at 11:02
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Clearly this company isn't worth your time. First they lie to you about there not being room for negotation, then they lie to you about coming back to you the following day, and now they even stopped responding to you.

I think it's time to accept that this isn't going to work out and move on.

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    It's not necessarily a lie--they could have had a limit, realized they're not in the correct ballpark for salary, and had to go back and ask management for more, It's hard to track what everyone is worth without feedback. It's not a perfect science. And many places go silent when they're not interested. – jimm101 Oct 24 '16 at 19:53
  • @jimm101 has a point. Hanlon's razor applies here. Don't attribute to malice... – Mindwin Oct 25 '16 at 11:57
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It depends on what you want.

If you are only interested in the job at the salary you proposed, then there's probably no benefit of chasing it, as stated by others.

However, if you would accept the job at the salary they last offered to you, then it is worth chasing this up, and communicating this if they think your counter-proposal was too high. Sure, this will make you look a bit bad. And it's possible that the job is no longer available regardless. But there is at least a chance that it is still available if you come down to their salary level, so if the job is important to you, it's worth pursuing.

Ideally, you would try to reach someone on the phone or in person, as this would allow you to first get a response about your proposal, and then state your willingness to go with the lower number if the answer was "no".

If email is the only contact option you have, you may have to give up on your counter-offer upfront to get a response (but at this point it's very likely the answer is no anyway).

Overall, the message I would go for is something like this:

I have been thinking a lot about this, and this position is really a good fit for me, and the place I want to be. If my last salary proposal was not a possibility, I'm willing to talk about a lower number.

You will definitely have some egg on your face if you backtrack like this, but I do think there is a chance of success.

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