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I received an offer for a permanent role at a new company for what would effectively be a lateral move from my current position. I'm inclined to accept as it appears to be better for cultural fit and career development.

I understand that both sides takes risks throughout the hiring process, and that throughout a few hours of interviews the new company has assessed my value to be worth X. However I strongly believe that I'm worth at least Y based on: regional market salaries, proficiency, and confidence in the value I will bring.

I intend to try classic negotiations towards that higher salary, however in the event that this fails I'm willing to bet on myself by offering to enter a contract-to-hire period at my target amount Y to prove my perceived value. The idea being: by the end of the period if I met some well defined goals then I'd be considered satisfactory and would continue as normal, otherwise I'd be terminated.

Is this even something that people do? Is this a terrible idea or is it actually viable? Would this help to give more confidence to the employer if the difference between their initial offer and ideal target was 10-20%?

Note: As far as I can tell the company does not offer any true contract-to-hire positions. Most positions are permanent with a handful of temporary

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    You could basically do the same, but in a permanent role. You start the job, demonstrate them that you should earn more and ask for a raise. If their offer then is not satisfactory, you could go job hunting. What if they agree to your "trial" period, but will refuse to make a better offer after it expired? – NoBackingDown Sep 20 '17 at 6:18
  • Worse yet to Dominik's comment: What if they don't renew the contract at all? Likely you'd have little/no notice, and might be back on the job hunt without a job to stand on while you find something else. – SliderBlackrose Sep 20 '17 at 14:47
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Is this even something that people do?

I have occasionally had applicants for a permanent position who actually want a contract (and discounted them from the process). I have not seen this as a salary negotiation tactic.

Is this a terrible idea or is it actually viable?

You want to achieve is a higher salary, and are willing to accept some risk to "prove" your worth. A contract is less binding for both sides so may be construed as though you are less willing to commit. Also, most companies will plan specifically with respect to contractor and employee openings, creating an internal challenge for the hiring manager to convert headcount etc.

I think you can achieve your aims without suggesting contracting. There are two mechanisms to help you here: a probation period, and an agreed future performance-based salary increase.

  1. Suggest a longer probation period in order to give them time to get to know you in position, which communicates the same willingness to accept risk whilst proving yourself.
  2. Propose that the offer may be acceptable to begin with if they can commit to a salary increase on conclusion of the probation period.

Bottom line is that if you are suggesting contracting and I am looking for a permanent member of staff, you may be associated with negative connotations of contracting that you don't want (i.e. less likely to stick around, money motivated, short term planning, etc).

Would this help to give more confidence to the employer if the difference between their initial offer and ideal target was 10-20%?

10-20% increase is the sort of range typical for an iterative promotion, and not an unreasonable increase within the same position. Willingness to put your money where your mouth is is something I would interpret positively, so long as your aspirations are not unrealistic.

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    Excellent answer! Make sure you have the commitment to your target salary in writing. I have seen companies where a yearly performance review and a raise is the norm anyway and I have seen some where you basically stayed on what you entered with. If you keep working below your perceived value for too long it will affect your morale. – Daniel Sep 20 '17 at 7:41
  • Thanks for the reply, I hadn't considered that approach. AFAIK there's no current probation period. If I were to suggest this would it affect benefits in any way, or is this simply an evaluation period? Am I still subject to termination at the end of the period? Is it reasonable to push for both an increase and retroactive pay? – Jacob P Sep 20 '17 at 13:44
  • Counts as normal employment AFAIK. An evaluation period may amount to the same: you are saying you are willing to put your money where your mouth is. Getting something in writing is a really good point from Daniel. I would not push for retroactive pay personally, if you end up with the job you want and the salary you want. – JonathanS Sep 20 '17 at 18:00
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Is this even something that people do? Is this a terrible idea or is it actually viable? Would this help to give more confidence to the employer if the difference between their initial offer and ideal target was 10-20%?

Note: As far as I can tell the company does not offer any true contract-to-hire positions. Most positions are permanent with a handful of temporary

I know of companies who hire on a trial period basis with a lesser salary during the trial period. But I don't know of anyone who has offered to be hired on a trial period at a higher salary.

If the company isn't in the habit of making contract-to-hire offers, your suggestion seems unlikely to be accepted.

Assuming you are in the US, you aren't really making any concessions in this deal. If you are in an at-will state, you can be terminated at any time anyway - even without your trial period offer. You really aren't betting on yourself.

If you aren't willing to accept what they are currently offering, and you can't negotiate an acceptable salary, then you have nothing to lose with your gambit. I don't think it would work, but you never know and it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

If it was me, I'd decide if I could live with their offer for a while or not. If I could, I'd say something along the lines of "I'm willing to accept X, but I feel strongly that I am worth Y and I intend to demonstrate that quickly. Can we agree to a performance review after 6 months?" That would be a real bet on yourself.

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