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Calling all sharks

I am such a bad, bad, negotiator when it comes to myself. It's frightening, really. And I've never found myself in quite this position before. The offer from the job referenced earlier has arrived. And the position itself is perfect. I really liked the managers who interviewed me. It's 5 minutes from my house. But the $ offer is *way* (and I do mean *way*) below my present salary. So far below it that if it weren't for the fact that the job itself and the title actually represent forward career motion, I'd be afraid the salary level would doom me to repeat most of the last 8 years in which I worked my way up from a temporary administrative position in a big consulting firm to achieve again the current salary level.

So I'm looking for advice. I really want this job to work. And from a bare-bones perspective, I'd say the difference between what I thought was my absolute minimum acceptable salary and what they've offered is about $9,000 (that's about half the difference from my present salary with hour long commute each way).

How should I approach them? All the standard benefits are included, 401k match is good, and to ask for more vacation would only result in my having more vacation than I could take. Do I ask them to meet me halfway? Do I insist on my former minimum? Must I suck it up if I really want the job?

Seriously. I've never had to do a negotiation on salary before; folks have always come to me and made offers I couldn't refuse since I left that old consulting company. This is an offer I could easily refuse, but don't want to...

So what's the right way to go with this? I did tell the recruiter who extended the verbal offer that the salary was *significantly* below my expectations and that I'd need to talk it over with the family before getting back in touch with her. Made no implied acceptance whatsoever.

Oh. 'nother note: I did know I'd have to take a cut for this job. The reason companies locate to an area like mine is to get cheap land and labor.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
mommanerd
Oct. 16th, 2003 07:10 pm (UTC)
I've been in a situation where I had to take a salary reduction in order to put myself into a workplace where I could potentially move up farther than I could at my previous workplace.

So this is an important question to ask: If you take the cut will you gain the ability to be promoted into a better position?

The pay cut you describe is much more significant than the $2000 cut I took 13 years ago, but now I'm making three times what I was all those years ago so it was worth it.

Also, you would not be at all out of line to let them know what you would be giving up to work for them -- it might make them appreciate you more and it will give them a guideline for negotiation. If you aren't specific they won't know, but if you let them know, "This represents a $xx,xxx decrease in my salary, but I'd love to work for this company. Could we discuss a compromise?

They'd be lucky to have you.
chrisjournal
Oct. 16th, 2003 07:40 pm (UTC)
Mommanerd, those are *perfect* words to summarize my situation.

Much gratitude and bowing and scraping!
10zlaine
Oct. 16th, 2003 07:17 pm (UTC)
I'm no better for myself. But, if you have already researched the company and their assets, etc, and if you know they can afford you...

keep in mind that:

they will lowball you. possibly offering the minimum in that particular salary range. There is always room to negotiate.

If they want you badly enough, even if you turn them down, they should counteroffer. Don't ask them to do anything. Tell them what you want. You have to have pride in yourself and your abilities, and remember that you have much to offer that they should be willing to pay for. I know it is tough, since you really want the job, but don't be scared.

My first full-time job, I took the offer they gave (job similar to Annie's), and I later found out they offered their first choice $300 more a month. In CT, I got base $300/week--I took the offer, thinking it was the best they could do (it was through a recruiting agency). I found out that someone at my same position in the same dept. was hired at $500/week. The salary range should be broad enough to accommodate you. You aren't a beginner; treat this like a sale--you are selling yourself. High-ball them and meet them in the middle. Make your recruiter do the work--it's her job.

Well, that's my advice based on not knowing much about much or the situation! You can do this. really.
chrisjournal
Oct. 16th, 2003 07:44 pm (UTC)
Ya know, there was a *reason* I posted to LJ. You folks are simply amazing. Between Mommanerd accurately reading my psyche, your hardball approach, and FirstRabid's excellent 'read your heart and follow your dream' advice, how can I lose???

I'll report back. And thanks, Tammy!
(Deleted comment)
chrisjournal
Oct. 16th, 2003 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Not a shark...really more of a minnow...or maybe a Coi...
Do they make cuddly fish? You are a cuddly fish. I know! A porpoise!

Thank you, Raeann, for such to the point advice. I'm certain that this isn't the best they can do. Not a doubt in my mind, actually. The doubts are all around whether I could possibly we worth it, I guess. You point me exactly where I need to be in making a decision about this, though...

Dream job? Hmm. No, but definitely a lifestyle improvement. The dream job is what I get to do when I get a retirement nest egg built or win the lottery: write.
shadowlass
Oct. 16th, 2003 08:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Not a shark...really more of a minnow...or maybe a Coi...
If they can offer more, they *should* be offering more--it's not really a good sign, to me, that they know what a huge pay cut this is for you but expect you to just swallow it. When they're trying to convince you to join their company is when they should be *most* persuasive.

Eh. I know that companies will try to lowball you with the salary offer. But once they have you in their tight little grasp, they tend to get cheaper, not more expansive.
chrisjournal
Oct. 16th, 2003 09:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Not a shark...really more of a minnow...or maybe a Coi...
It's crossed my mind that this could be a 'test' of sorts, actually. Will she swallow it? Or will she be assertive? That cuts both ways, of course, and I have no idea which way is a 'pass' of the test (one hopes the assertive, but one is skeptical of corporate America).
mintwitch
Oct. 16th, 2003 08:56 pm (UTC)
I agree with the above; it is in your best interest to be very honest about exactly how large the salary differential is, and that this career move should be forward motion, not backward. Your recruiter should be your advocate, especially if she is on commission.
They should counter-offer, and you can reasonably expect to meet in the middle, and you can ask for periodic mandatory minimum raises and other benefits (like stock options) over the next 2-3 years in order to meet your salary criteria at a pace they can afford. They are hoping you will grow their business, and you can ask to be compensated for that, without hesitation.
Do consider mentioning alternate compensation: bonuses, better benefits, options, term life insurance policies, retirement and discretionery medical funds, and even paid continued education. Often these forms of benefits can make up the difference for you, and provide tax relief for both you and your new employer.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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