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Negotiating the new job

December 3, 2014

It’s official now, I’ve accepted a new job!

You’ll note that I previously said the offer was better than I anticipated.  I expected to have to negotiate to get it up, but was thrilled that they came out with a reasonable offer out of the gate.  I almost took it as a reason to let myself off the hook for negotiating.  After all, they say the effect of a commute is worth a 40% raise, so why ask for more?!

Still, I wanted to help buck statistics.  I can’t find data that I’m confident in, but at least one source stated women negotiate less often:  26% of women, 36% of men.  (Actually, both of those numbers are surprisingly low, and I found conflicting data.)  The hardest part about negotiating was deciding to do it.  To ease your mind, remember:

  • It is extremely unlikely they will rescind an offer.  It is totally normal and expected to negotiate.
  • Often, the person you are negotiating with is NOT an experienced negotiator either.
  • Sometimes the hiring manager is prepared to give you more and just needs you to ask so they can go to HR with your case. They might even be (slightly) on your side.
  • The worst thing that will happen is that they say no.
  • If they did rescind your offer over a reasonable counter, they are crazy and you don’t want to work with them.

The job had posted a salary range over $40k wide, and offered me 95% of the top number.  I asked for the other 5%.

I came up with a “script”, practiced it with T, wrote it down, and used it during the call.  Here is an excerpt of the notes I used:

This is the most efficeint negotiating tactic ever – very easy, very effective.  Ask for what you want succinctly, then stop talking.  Never negotiate with yourself!

The script I used was brief and largely lifted from this article.   “I appreciate the offer, and I understand your pay structure [suffers from XYZ limitations], but I was hoping for something a little more competitive.  Given that my experience is such a good match for the position, could we look at going to the top of the posted salary range, at X?

Then I followed my own advice and stopped talking.  You can be prepared with reasons for why you deserve more, but you may not even need to share.  Plus, then you have something new to say if they counter.  The position was essentially opened FOR ME so it was obvious we both agreed I was a good match.   The comment about their pay structure was to prevent them from having an easy reason to deny my request.  I wanted to note I had taken that into consideration.

For the next 4 hours, I was pretty happy and proud of myself for negotiating.  Then, I devolved into irrational anxiety.  Haha.  I got an e-mail early the next morning that said they could indeed meet my request, and raised the offer by 5%.

The result is that my compensation will be essentially flat compared to 2014 earnings, and a 5% or so cut to 2015 projections.  However, the benefits/retirement are better and all of my compensation is in the form of salary (rather than 20%+ of it being bonus).  And did I mention the commute is < 2 miles?  Salary growth will likely be more flat, but work/life balance and job satisfaction should more than make up to it.

Compared to my 2013 compensation (doing similar work in L.A. area), my salary is up about 25%.  Granted, this area is a little bit higher cost of living- still, good moves!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2014 9:23 pm

    Yay!!! Congratulations 🙂

    • December 3, 2014 9:24 pm

      P.S. I totally hear you. I wanted to negotiate just because I thought I should, not necessarily because an offer was inadequate.

      • December 11, 2014 8:52 am

        Exactly! It is much easier if it is inadequate though. I’m more confident.

  2. December 4, 2014 3:02 am

    oh congratulations!!!!!

    I would have negotiated regardless of if the offer was good or not 🙂 You never know.

  3. December 4, 2014 6:48 am

    That’s awesome! And wow, a <2 mile commute is AMAZING. I drive about 50kms, one way.

    • December 11, 2014 8:53 am

      Right now I can do mine in 45 minutes or so, so this is a HUGE improvement

  4. December 4, 2014 8:03 am

    That’s great! Good for you!!!

    My DH didn’t ask for more salary (we were expecting something that was um… about 70% of the offer they gave him, and he is good friends with the person who recruited him who had tried to negotiate on salary when he was hired and failed and was making the same as DH’s offer), but DH did get a bunch more vacation/leave time and got the company to start a retirement match (which they didn’t have) by asking about it.

    I do hope he talks to them about a raise this year though. The company has been doing very well since DH was hired and DH is partly responsible for that!

    He’s earned some bonuses too (based on things written in his contract), but they’re small (like a thousand or two) compared to the kind of thing you and Leigh see. I also wonder when he’s going to get those and when he’s going to be reimbursed for his last trip… But he doesn’t want to bring that stuff up until January. I can’t blame him– I’m putting off contacting the last university I gave a talk at about the travel reimbursement they owe me. Oh heck, it’s been two months, I’ll just send an email asking for a status update.

    • December 11, 2014 8:54 am

      That’s great – I don’t know how to start the convo about vacation / leave, but the offer was pretty good there. My previous jobs were all small bonuses, and honestly, that seems better. you can count on that. If my company had a bad year, I probably wouldn’t get anything?

  5. December 4, 2014 11:34 am

    That’s so awesome! I’m definitely going to use this similar script next time I’m negotiating. I actually negotiated with my last job offer and they refused to go up despite lowballing me to begin with so I had to pass on the offer. Sometimes these situations apparently can go poorly but I think we all owe it to ourselves to negotiate and get what we are worth!

  6. December 4, 2014 5:13 pm

    So glad you asked!

  7. December 5, 2014 8:36 am

    CONGRATS! And good job negotiating. 🙂

  8. December 9, 2014 4:07 pm

    YES! Congratulations on the new job AND on the raise. I always remind myself, like you did, there’s only potential for winning and very little to lose if you can make yourself take the step of asking/ opening negotiations.

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