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Adjusting requested salary?

I'm currently working as an independent consultant. I was contacted about a month ago by a Fortune 50 company that has a strong consulting branch to work for them full time.

At the time they asked what salary I was looking for, and I gave them a number. Since then, while going through their interview process, I've had some additional opportunities come up on the independent side. As a result, I'd like to increase the salary I'm looking for with the Fortune 50 company.

If I explain the change in circumstances to them, do you think a request for an increased salary (about 10% higher) would turn them off?

I'd really like to hear from our more senior/hiring decision type people - how would you react if a prospective candidate contacted you and politely asked for a higher starting salary? (assuming you felt they were worth it). If they weren't worth the higher number, would you just make the offer at the original amount? Or would you think "forget it"?

Interviewee
Saturday, September 13, 2003

Until you are an employee, everything is negotiable, however if you appear to be playing games, you are doomed.

If you accepted a number, then I think you are obligated to the number you agreed to.  While changing your mind is probably not fatal,  it can be to some managers. 

If you are going to try, then go for: "I have been giving it some thought and based on the responsibilities you are looking for me to take on..."

OTOH -- you can negotiate what is still left open.  More vacation, instant vestment, health care, etc.    And while the HR person will tell you those are not negotiable, they almost always are.

Good luck...

Mike Gamerland
Saturday, September 13, 2003


Well, most places I've worked now have pretty strict salary guidelines based on skill sets. It saves the HR types from having to think too hard, you see.

Since the Fortune 500 type companies tend to be large, I'd be willing to wager they all have something like this in place. Your room to maneuver is limited. They will most likely come to you with a figure themselves and say: "This is what we pay people at your level".

Still, it never hurts to ask.

Good luck.

anon
Saturday, September 13, 2003

Mike - good point. I want to clarify that I haven't "accepted" anything. I simply mentioned the number in response to an early "what are you looking for?" question.

And in all sincerity, my circumstances since that question was asked *have* changed, otherwise I wouldn't even consider asking.

Interviewee
Saturday, September 13, 2003

You made a "good faith estimate" of your salary, based on the types of things you expected to be asked to do. Simply tell them that they've added some duties to the list that make you think your initial estimate was low.

Tell them you'd like to wait to discover if they add additional duties to your list. When they're ready to make an offer, you'd like to revisit the issue of salary. Worst case is that you can't get a bump.

If they get offended, then calmly explain to them your original envisioned job requires that led to your estimated salary, and the recent events that caused you to want to re-consider. If they aren't willing to even talk about it, then you better strongly consider what that will mean to your future salary negotiation efforts.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, September 13, 2003

Interviewee, this scenario is actually not unusual. Good candidates, if they make a few applications, will often have multiple competing offers.

Now, here's the important thing for you to take in. The way "hiring types" respond to this is usually not in your interests, and you should not expect to get good advice from them.

Hiring types, especially recruiters, will try to bluff that you just have to decide. They will usually try to avoid having to offer you more money, unless you're actually a bit experienced in business negotiation, and know that's what it's all about.

If you have multiple offers, your value in the market is higher, and other things being equal, a company that wants to hire you must bid higher for you.

It is your call, but I would say you would not be happy to accept the existing offer, if you have other options. So you should tell them you have other offers and wish to negotiate a higher rate. Of course, only do this if you are prepared to lose that offer.


Saturday, September 13, 2003

Sounds like no offer has been made yet. Asking for your current salary is a typical interview question. If you are crafty and the person asking is not, you can usually get out of having to tell them, or suggest a range. You should do all you can to sell the employer on your skills and leave the salary stuff for after an offer of employment has been made. Until they offer you employment, there is no reason to talk further about salary. Once they do, you are within reason to discuss what you think you are worth, just be sure you keep reiterating to them what skill you have and how you will be of value (the value you are asking) to the company.

m
Saturday, September 13, 2003

m is right.  They haven't made an offer, and you haven't accepted an offer.  So neither of you is bound to any specific figure.  Wait until they make an offer, then you can ask for more if it isn't up to what you want.

While it is true that these big companies usually have fixed salary scales, there is still room for negotiation because they will generally will have a range for each position, not a fixed figure, and their first offer won't be at the top of the range.

T. Norman
Sunday, September 14, 2003

I had a friend who always refused any job he was offered quoting 'salary' as the reason. Every single time the employer has come back offering him a couple of grand more - moral, most employers are willing to pay more than they offer you.

In your case, I'd say something like "I've been offered a job elsewhere on more money, now I'd like to take the position at your company - I find it more interesting - but I'm not happy to pass over that extra 15% for it."

Most management wil understand the call of cash.

Mr Jack
Monday, September 15, 2003

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