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I recently contacted an old friend/colleague that is now in management/HR regarding some random question. I explained that I enjoyed my time working there and he asked if I would ever consider coming back. I showed interest and was invited in for an interview.

Everything went pretty well, he didn't even want to test my skills for the job, explaining he knows me and knows I am competent already and he ended by asking how much I would like to make.

I gave him a figure slightly above average, he said ok and seemed like that wouldn't be a problem. He gave me his card and pointed out that all his contact info and phone number is on there incase I ever need anything.

He then followed up today via email and said he is unable to offer me the salary amount I requested.

My question is, what is the best way to follow up without encouraging a low ball offer and get a relatively good offer on the table? Note, no offer was made to this point and I want to work towards getting an offer.

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    Did he counteroffer? Or is he expecting you to? – Nolo Problemo Apr 13 '17 at 16:37
  • no offer was made yet, I am assuming hes expecting me to respond – AnchovyLegend Apr 13 '17 at 16:57
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    Negotiate a lower salary offer and see what he says. If you can't agree then politely decline and move on. – user66194 Apr 13 '17 at 20:37
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He then followed up today via email and said he is unable to offer me the salary amount I requested.

My question is, what is the best way to follow up without encouraging a low ball offer, and get a relatively good offer on the table? Note, no offer was made to this point and I want to work towards getting an offer.

Negotiate.

Since you worked there previously, perhaps you know what the usual salary for that position would be. I'm going to assume that you are willing to meet in the middle somewhere and that this "middle" would be a "relatively good offer".

Talk with your friend and say that you understand that they couldn't meet your salary demand but that you might still consider the position for a bit less.

If he's really a friend you could ask him how high he would be willing to go, then base your Yes/No decision on that.

Alternatively, and in particular if you are actually unwilling to work for any less than what you first proposed, then reply with something like "I understand. You have my contact information. Please get in touch with me if the situation changes, as I'd like to work with you again if we could come to an agreement on salary."

That puts the ball back in his court without encouraging a lowball offer. It might get you a better offer or might not.

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To this answer I would add: look at the whole compensation package. I've seen people get an extra week of PTO or a signing bonus (yes I know that's one-time not ongoing). I had a negotiation once where they couldn't quite meet my salary expectations, I asked about extra PTO, they couldn't grant it but had a program where employees could buy it, and I got them to raise the offer by enough to cover a week of PTO -- roundabout, but it actually worked because instead of just asking for $X I was asking with an earmark (money to get PTO).

This person is someone you already know, not an anonymous hiring manager you don't know anything about, so you should be able to have a casual conversation to see what non-salary compensation is possible and then make a proposal.

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These are not bad answers so far, but I'm going to take a different view: What is the value to the company of your work??

If you can make significantly more money for a company than you cost in compensation, continued education, benefits and overhead, no company in their right mind should ever dismiss you on cost alone.

Then reality sets in. Every company is very different. Altruistic reasons a company may not want to give you a salary that both believe is reasonable include that there are others at the company that deserve a raise as well. While some companies don't care a bit about fairness, the ones that are a pleasure to work for often do.

Note that I am focusing on a good reason a company might say no to your proposal. There are dozens more reasons, both good and sometimes bad. Companies that swing toward the latter often don't last long, but don't forget same can be true for employees. Different employers (people, after all) see these same situations very differently, and for very different reasons. Many of the other answers cite some of these aspects and they are very worthwhile to consider.

In any event, the answer to recognizing greater value and a willingness to commit beyond the norm is to tie your compensation to the performance you believe you will deliver it. For companies that have had bad experiences with people who over-promise and under-deliver (pretty much all of them), this asserts to them that they aren't going to hire you and then have you "kick back for the cruise". This kind of negotiation is tricky though. Expectations need to be well-documented and you need to plan to not just meet those expectations, but to exceed them handily.

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Salary negotiation can come with more strings attached, for instance elevated expectations or lesser possibility of conversion.

This is something that both parties need to understand and respect. If you are the prospect employee, already have a good job and think you can get something better elsewhere, salary may not be the only reason why you'd want to jump ship. Asking for more money may also create some resentment and reduce the employer's tolerance for mistakes.

In your case, you need to decide if your friendship with this person is more important than the investment which you make in hiring him, with the possibility of seeing him resign or be terminated and your friendship terminated in the process.

Hiring a friend may make you liable for his shortcomings. The opposite will likely not be true: nobody will give you a medal because your friend turns out to be a rock star.

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