It's a software development job. Did several rounds of interviews and passed them all. In the first round they asked me for my expected salary and I asked for a very high salary (above average). When i told them my expectation they backed-off and told me it's very high, However I remained firm and said it's very expensive to live here nowadays. They didn't reply. The discussion on the salary ended there and we move on to other topics.

After I finished all rounds (over the scope of many days) they told me that they'll send me an offer! I'm definitely expecting them to offer less than what I asked. However my logic says to stay firm and only accept what I asked for. If they would't be willing to pay me that, they wouldn't have proceeded anyway. Right?

I should note that the salary I asked for is being paid by other companies for similar roles and positions. So it's not really that impossible.

  • I don't know that there is a generally applicable answer to this. If one person at the company wants you but does not have the authority to grant the salary you are demanding, the process could certainly continue. One scenario would be where there are no qualified applicants at the end except yourself and the other(s) would have to compromise on the salary. Or if there are multiple qualified candidates, the person who wanted you would have to compromise. – Spehro Pefhany Jun 10 '17 at 14:15
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    They will also expect to be able to negotiate downwards so if they want you at a lower price, this could stop make the prices continue – Rory Alsop Jun 10 '17 at 15:33
  • @SpehroPefhany the guy who interviewed me was the hiring manger and the one responsible for the budget. He has all the authority to do whatever he wants and he knows what i demanded. & yes I'm assuming there are no qualified candidates, they seemed pretty impressed by me and how I fit their role. – Jack Twain Jun 10 '17 at 15:40
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    You named your price. Are you worth it? Well, if they try to down-negotiate you, you can stay fixed, if you think you are worth it or compromise if you see other benefits and perks instead of the salary. But if they agree, you'd better be worth it. As sad as it sounds, the fact that it is expensive to live at location is of no consequence to the company unless your productivity is worth their investment. – Captain Emacs Jun 10 '17 at 17:14
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    just FWIW @EdHeal, the OP doesn't strike me as in the slightest arrogant, just FWIW? (As I mention below, the market is so ridiculously "hot" at the moment, a lot of people are in this situation, I'd say.) – Fattie Jun 10 '17 at 17:16

I think the only salient facts anyone could offer here,

"If they would't be willing to pay me that, they wouldn't have proceeded anyway. Right?"

That one is wrong - they have absolutely nothing to lose other than a little time on their part.

(Say you had absolutely stated - perhaps in writing "To avoid time wasting, I just wanted to be absolutely clear that I absolutely will not take a position for less than X dollar salary ,not including any benefits whatsoever" - that would be different. But all you have at the moment is "some talk" on both side. Talk means almost nothing.)

So, your idea that they "wouldn't have proceeded", is, wrong.

Here are four general points that may be relevant:

1 - For better or worse, almost everyone "buckles" in salary negotiation (or any price negotiation). To take a "bitter" view of the situation, they're just "laughing at" the fact that you asked so much, and, they know very well you'll "take what you're offered" when it comes down to it.

2 - There is an insane demand for software engineers in most fields at the moment, at the time of writing. As a general principal, whatever you asked is almost certainly way, way too low.

(More on that. FWIW it seems to me there is a glut of low-level software engineers, but higher-level software engineers are non-existent, they can just write their own ticket. Just my experience in the particular areas I deal in, may be different for others.)

3 - You know at the moment they said "That seems a bit high." ..... If you think about it: what did you expect them to say? Whenever anyone mentions any price to me, whatsoever, in any context - even if I literally did not hear the price - I just say the words "that seems pretty high". What else would you say? (Conversely on the other end, I just instantly state "that's way too low".) So really, you can pretty much dismiss that they said "That seems a bit high..." in that early conversation.

4 - The absolutely overwhelming issue you face. In any and all negotiations, there is one, and only one, factor that entirely covers the total situation. You can only negotiate if you can walk. If they offer you X, and you have no alternative, what can you do? See point 1. The one and only way you can say No to X, is, if you have another offer (or are confident that you can get other offers in a reasonable time). Indeed, you can "poker-face" them (ie, you can pretend that you're willing/able to say no thanks and walk away), which is gutsy. But simply - in any negotiation - you need alternatives or you literally have zero negotiating power. In short at this time you should be seeking other real offers, as aggressively as humanly possible. Or else "they've got you". You know?

So maybe those four points are worth something to your situation.

Again the answer to you literal question (where you say "Right?") is that you're wrong on that one.

A handy tip: have you considered building more and more freelance jobs/contacts in the meantime? A great way to "not care" about fulltime offers is if you are pretty confident you can whistle up a good amount of freelance anytime. If you're a bit of a "hot shot", make it happen, then you really have the, well, income behind you to have "negotiating power".

Another handy tip: when companies want to underpay, and think they are dealing with a "tough negotiator", the first the place they go is ... offering "benefits". When you're paying for something, "benefits" are an ingenious negotiating tactic. "Benefits" simply cost less than "money paid out", and on the other side (almost all) people think "benefits" are worth more than they are. So be careful not to fall for the line "well we'll give you 'benefits' XYZ instead".

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  • Regarding point #1 i wouldn't take whatever i'm offered whatsoever. I'm currently employed and i can easily wait for a better offer. Besides, I told them that I'm interviewing with other companies. – Jack Twain Jun 10 '17 at 17:21
  • HI @JackTwain ! oh, in that case A - there is no advice, whatsoever, i can give you. B - it's likely that my post will help others, come to the same position you already have, if you see what I mean. Good Luck. – Fattie Jun 10 '17 at 17:22
  • Actually the only thing I would then point out, @JackTwain - see my point 2, it's very likely you are not asking enough. In your narrative, you explain that they said something like "told me it's very high". I make a point of starting at 2x any currently seen number (for the position, contract or whatever it may be), and I'm always careful to state "that's a baseline, it could be higher as we learn details of the situation." So instead of "told me it's very high", your counterpart should be using phrases like "that's totally insane" "that would be industry-defining" etc! – Fattie Jun 10 '17 at 17:25
  • lol i just found that the company had the job posting since 8 months, so it's very likely they couldn't find anyone and i'm their best shot. I've decided to stay stubborn and firm :D – Jack Twain Jun 11 '17 at 12:45
  • it would seem that your question "Why would an employer proceed..." was closed. (The closure "reason" given isn't connected in any way to your question.) So, have fun! – Fattie Jun 11 '17 at 13:20

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