I have been working at my current job for the past year and last month I applied for another job that was located in a bigger city. The team there invited me for two days to for an interview and just learn more about the company and the location. They were very gracious, friendly and I was honestly interested in working with them. Two days after my trip, their HR office formally offered me the position however their salary was exactly the same as my current position (plus relocation assistance) but as the job location was in a bigger and more expensive city hence I declined the offer. Their counteroffer was not enough to compensate the living cost and I did not find any incentive to relocate.

There were two rounds of back-and-forth offer/counteroffer and based on the in-person interview they really wanted someone who knew X, Y, Z technologies. I feel kind of guilty that I wasted their time as they were very gracious during my visit and an in-person interview at the same time I did not want to accept their offer as my original goal of applying for another job was a salary increase.

Should I feel guilty that I wasted their time by failing to bring up the salary expectation during the interview? although I mentioned my current salary in the application and also in the first phone interview.

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    No, you should not feel guilty for wasting their time. You should feel stupid for wasting your time. - The proper time to make a salary demand is as soon as you are finished selling yourself to them, and you never use your current salary as a starting point. – A. I. Breveleri Aug 22 '17 at 1:16
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    You don't want to work for those people anyway. If they won't even give you a raise when they hire you, it'll be pulling teeth from a chicken to get anything out of them later. – A. I. Breveleri Aug 22 '17 at 1:22

Should I feel guilty that I wasted their time by failing to bring up the salary expectation during the interview?

Absolutely not.

Some companies these days, set the salary expectations in between the interviews or before them, so that you and they, both don't waste your time going through the entire interview process. And this actually, is a good practice.

You should've done the same. However, a company needs to properly take care of a candidate when they come down to their city for giving their interview, and this company did exactly that. So, they were just doing their job.

So, take this experience as a lesson learned and make sure you set the salary expectations right, in your future interviews.

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