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September 28, 2007


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I really want to emphasize your statement that "they've decided that they want you."

I took a class at university from a former Microsoft employee/manager who'd been there from the early days (~300 employees). He'd hired hundreds of people during the course of his career.

He really emphasized your point and said something to the effect of 'what have you got to lose? It's not like they're going to say, 'we're not interested in hiring you now that you've asked for more''

Also, he suggested not giving them a specific amount, otherwise you might ask for less than they're willing to give.
Of course, he gave this lecture a few weeks *after* my wife accepted a new full time position....

Thank You so much for this post. Although i realllllly could've used it a couple of months ago when I took this job, I will definitely use it when making my next move. I know I could've gotten a whole lot more at this one if I would've done my research. Question though: What do you do when they ask you for what you want? Should you say you're open to a fair offer? or should you give a number? I was caught off guard when asked this question since I was freelancing and was called into my boss's office on a whim and told that they would like to have me join the team and asked me what I wanted. I gave a number and then game home and wanted to choke myself. I had totally cheated myself. I did go back the next day and asked for more. Noting that i really didn't have time to think about it but really, I could've gotten so much more. The company pays all its employees well and compared to the pay scale for the city, I'm on the lower end. So, with that said, should I have said "I am open to a fair offer"? and see where they stand in terms of offer?
Thanks again for this post.

OK, to the posters who both said that they "missed the boat", you're deluding yourselves. If the company needed you two months ago, they probably don't need you any less now that you're actually making them money.

Arrange a sit-down with your boss and present the same 3 pieces of information mentioned above. Truth is, you're probably worth just as much or more once you're already on the job.

Say you've been on the job for 2 months and you figure that you're underpaid. By now you should know how underpaid you are and you should be on a project generating revenue. 2 months ago when they offered you the job, they probably had a few more candidates on their stack, but right now they don't. As a bonus, you have way more inside information about the job, the company, the cash flow situation, so you'll be able to pick a better number.

Of course, I'm with a company that belongs to the 30%. We offer a great work environment with lots of the "small benefits" and we offer the best price that we can for the talent we like. We're a small company and we give you lots of ways to control your future pay, so if you come back asking for more money we'll just dump you. Yes you read that correctly, if you ask for more money we will retract our original offer (much worse than just saying no).

If our offer doesn't make you happy, you'll have to find someone else. We've even let go of current staff for asking for excessive pay raises. Now, it's not that we're cheap, it's quite the opposite in fact. We pay well above average, but we're in IT and we meet lots of poseurs. We had one guy who actually has an industry award and wanted a number larger than the top end of the salary range on the job posting. He then proceeded to fail the programming test and our written test.

I have people regularly come in who are unhappy with their current job but they want a significant pay increase over their last job. Unless they can make a good business case for the "ceiling" they've hit, then I don't really want to deal with these people. I want people interested in the success of the business. More business = we pay you more and lots of people don't seem to get this.

Instead of asking for more money, discuss a salary progression plan as part of the job offer. Heck, bring it up in the interview. Talk about the stuff that you can do for the company that will make you (and them) more money. Be progressive instead of opportunistic and your salary ceiling will suddenly become much higher, b/c the people in charge know that they're losing money when the progressive thinkers leave.

Curious what the reaction here might be to my current situation:

1. Went in for the interview & it went very well. I had been instructed to give a salary suggestion prior to interview, which I grossly undersold myself on. Left the interview saying this would need to be a larger amount if I was hired.

2. Was offered the job by phone. They wanted a start date, I wanted to know about the salary, they said not to worry.

3. Received my Contract by email with the original amount I stated prior to interview.

4. I wrote back saying again that we needed to increase this number and attached my earnings from my previous company to show that I was off the mark with that suggestion.

5. They wrote back that they can't see any room for compromise, as my previous jobs amount marks to much of a difference. "Good luck with your further job search"

6. Emails, Phonecalls etc.. I've been blocked out. I can't speak to anyone at the company who made this decision.

The facts are: I'm in a foreign country, The bottoms fallen out of the job market and I'm now desperate as I'd been working on getting this job for a month.

What to do..!
I'm close to call up and accept their first offer.. but it seems they are so scared of my previous salary.. they don't even want to talk. I've already offered a huge drop in Salary by email.. to no reply.

Jim --

That's a really tough one -- complicated by your lowball number at the beginning and their now strange behavior. A few thoughts:

1. You may not be able to do anything. It may be all over. (If they don't call you back, how can you get a job from them?)

2. If they do contact you, you have to decide if you really want to work for this company. If they're this strange hiring someone, just imagine what working for them might be like.

3. Live and learn -- if this one doesn't work out, be clear (and firm) about your salary expectations when you interview for future jobs.

I'll post your situation in a week or so (my first available slot) and let my readers comment on it as well. Good luck!


I'll second what FMF said. When I was hired for my last job, the process was quite strange and not very smooth. Once I started working there I could see why. You should look at this as YOUR interview of the company as well. And it doesn't look like they're doing very well...

I posted a comment on FMF's other thread, but I do want to make a comment about the 'strange behavior'. While I agree that if a company has 'strange behavior' its perhaps reason to be concerned, but what I'm wondering is: What is their 'strange behavior'. Not calling you back or responding to emails could just be them ignoring you. They are busy interviewing other applicants that will accept the amount they ask for.


If they are not responding then it wasn't meant to be. Maybe good for you in the short and long run as well. Never hurts to drop the hiring mgr a note, if they really liked you they may think of you again for a higher paying position. Never burn your bridges because things work out in mysterious ways from my experience.

Keep looking. Something else will come up. Good people are always in demand.


I worked as a teacher for several years, but now I'm going back to school full time, so I've been searching for a job that will grant me flexibility to attend daytime classes. I found a job with a private company as a primary tutor/ educational consultant. The hours are flexible, but of course they require nights and weekends. The compensation on the job listing was $30-35k. When I was asked about my salary expectation in the interview, I stated that I thought the advertised salary seemed fair. Since that time I have learned more about the position and realized that I will be bringing work home occasionally. I completed several assessments and sample essays to prove myself and I was told that they were all suberb. I feel that I am extremely qualified for the position. The official offer that I verbally agreed to over the phone was for $32.5, but I feel I should have asked for more. I will be making about $4000 per year less than when I was a full-time teacher, I will be working about 50 days more per year (I'll no longer be on the school calendar), I will have to pay for my own health benefits (I didn't pay as a teacher), and there won't be a school district paid retirement plan or life insurance policy (I didn't have to pay anything for this). I feel that I should be making more. I haven't signed the agreement yet. The only thing stopping me from asking for more is the flexibility of the company with my schedule and the fact that I already agreed to a small salary. Is it too late? How much should I ask for? Can I ask for more than the advertised salary?

Sue --

I'll post your question in a week or so, but by then it may be too late for you. For now, you need to decide whether or not you want the job at the current salary. If not, then why not ask for more? If so, I'd suggest you bring it up carefully, and noting that the expectations have changed (you now need to work longer hours) so you'd like pay to change as well.

FYI, what you used to make is probably of very little interest/importance to the new employer. They're interested in paying market value (or less) for the job they need done.

Okay I'm in a tough situation here.

I've been working for the same company for about a year on a project, this project is set to finish in around 4 weeks and due to someone leaving, I've been offered another role providing support.

Now, technically it's only a contract extension but it is a higher pay band (my company works in bands) then my last job and probably more work. it was intimated to me that I would receive a raise but when my contract letter came through today it said I would be on the same money.

I'm worried that if I press for more they'll just give the job too someone else.

Probably should mention that my contract ends with the project in four weeks as well, any advice?

Jack --

I'll post your question in a week or so, stay tuned.

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