I was offer positions by a dozen engineering firms and picked the one I liked the most. I was told later by HR (3rd party consulting hiring firm) that they do not negotiate salary based on individual elements (same salary for all interns per year). The salary is competitive for the average, but 40% lower than my usual paid.

My main leverage with this company is that I interviewed for several positions with different managers within the same company. All team picked me as their first choice and made offers; some are still in the interviewing process after I picked this particular position, leading me to believe that they do not have a more qualified applicant lined up after hundreds of interviews.

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    How badly do you want the job? If HR said they don't negotiate, odds are they don't negotiate. So, if you tell them you'll walk, you'd best be prepared to walk. – Steve-O Jul 7 '17 at 12:54
  • The job is interesting and the work culture seemed very appealing. But I do not need the job and I will likely be able to get offered a similar position with similar pay in a few days time. I'm thinking about perhaps by-passing HR to speak with the managers who interviewed me first, as the managers seemed to value talent a lot more than their HR. – static_class Jul 7 '17 at 12:58
  • Is it wise to ask someone to do something they specifically told you they don't do? Doesn't that question answer itself? – Bernhard Barker Jul 7 '17 at 12:59
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    The managers may appreciate your talent, but I expect they will defer to HR for the salary, especially for co-ops. If money is more important than this job, take your shot and live with rejection, but if you actually want to work there, take a softer approach. You can still ask about raising the salary without threatening to walk away if they decline. Then you can decide whether or not you'll actually decline after you hear their answer. – Steve-O Jul 7 '17 at 13:00
  • These are very good points. Thank you for your responses; it's very appreciated – static_class Jul 7 '17 at 13:14

For internship and co-op positions, I would only ensure that the pay is sufficient to cover expenses that I would incur plus a little extra to come out ahead. The primary purpose of a co-op is to gain relevant experience to supplement your classroom education, so I would judge the position based on how well the work that I would be doing during the time would help get me to where I want to be in my career.

The one exception would be if you have an immediate need for cash to continue your education. For example, if it's hard for you to get financial aid, scholarships, or loans, you may want to pay a little more attention to the money that you'd be earning. Since you'd most likely be working a full-time, 40 hour/week job, it would be hard to earn money from other sources.

As far as salary goes for interns and co-ops, many large companies do have rules. Some places pay a fixed amount for co-ops and interns. Others base it exclusively on the amount of completed education. If it's a large company, it is highly likely that they can not negotiate on salary or benefits for such a position.

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    Just wanted to add that the reason why no negotiations for this sort of thing is that the budget for interns and co-ops likely has very little flex in it and there is no place to get the money from as interns would be considered one of the lowest priorities of the things they have budgeted. It's a lot easier to find the money to pay for a senior person than a trainee. When you ask for more than the budgeted amount, they have to take money from something else. It is worth it for someone with a track record but not for an intern. Especially since they likely have more candidates to choose from. – HLGEM Jul 7 '17 at 14:30

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