I got a job offer this morning from a place I interviewed at yesterday for a front end developer position in nyc. I told them my salary expectation is 75k in the email to which they responded to set up the interview. I don't like haggling, so for me when I say 75k I mean 75k. I know a lot of people start at a higher number and then come down to the amount they would settle for. Perhaps this is what the HR person assumed and now they are offering me the job for 70k.

I told them on the phone this morning that I really want 75k and she said she will see what she can do, I just called her back and she still says she isn't able to get that approved and that 70k is really the highest for anyone they hire no matter who it is.

It's just frustrating because I assume if they responded to the initial email then it is understood that they are willing to pay me the amount I was asking for. What are your experiences on the matter, did you end up accepting or declined?


They just called and they accepted the 75k :D. I did learn a lesson though, next time I will ask for more than I want, then "agree" to a lower offer.

  • 4
    I much prefer that to having them accept your first offer with out batting an eye... Always makes me wonder if I was just right priced or undervaluing myself.
    – user4127
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 17:15

6 Answers 6


In my experience of doing software development for a little longer than I care to remember, salaries are always assumed to be negotiable. I know you said you don't like haggling (a lot of people don't) but you'll have to get used to that and you might have to be a little more flexible. Being able to negotiate something as important as your salary is a very important skill.

That said, there might be several reasons why they're not willing to offer more:

  • A lot of large companies have salary bands based on both experience and role. You might be bumping against the top of the salary band here and it's often impossible to get exemptions in larger corporations.
  • They might - as rude as this sounds - think that you're asking for too much money given your skills and experience. I'm not saying that this is the case but sitting on the other side of the table I do unfortunately see this with reasonable frequency.
  • They simply might not have the budget to pay you more than $70k.

Here's what I would do:

  • First rule of negotiations, BE PREPARED TO WALK.
  • Figure out what your absolute bottom dollar is that you're willing to accept
  • If they're not willing to up their cash offer - which I think is not out of the question, they're probably coming in a little lower than they can afford - see if they're willing to throw in some perks/benefits that would counteract the lower salary. Say, they pay you $70k but throw in a $5k annual rail ticket for you to get to work or something like that. Anything that basically would reduce your expenditure or provide something you wouldn't necessarily be able to afford but that's a benefit to you.
  • Did you apply directly or via a recruiter? If you did go via a recruiter, make sure that they understand your minimum salary requirement.
  • Thx, Greg, for the edit. I thought I was pretty current, but IME (for 'in my experience') was beyond me. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 19:28
  • 13
    +1 for the First Rule of Negotiations. I really believe that one deserves capital letters, it's so fundamental.
    – jprete
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 20:56
  • depending on the company, and Equity stake is another non-salary item that could be used to make up the difference in the compensation you want. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 23:47
  • @jprete - caps for you, my friend... Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 0:07
  • @ChuckvanderLinden Equity stake is likely to be worthless. A startup may be a while before it goes public, if it ever does. A bird in the hand and such.
    – Andy
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 23:23

What's relevant to whether you accept the offer should be the compensation package (including salary and benefits) they're offering, the work you'll be doing, and the conditions in which you'll be doing it. The communication history between you and the recruiter isn't really that relevant, since you probably won't deal with the recruiter once you're hired.

So, if this is a job you want to do at the level of compensation offered, accept the offer. If not, don't.

If you suspect that they actually could be willing to negotiate for a higher salary despite already saying that they aren't, you could test this by declining the offer and saying that that last $5K is the only sticking point, but only if your intent really is to walk away from the offer as it stands.


If you take less than you think you are worth, you will hate that job with a purple passion in short order. Either make peace with the amount you settle on or move on.


Not-very-serious companies always try to reduce your pretended salary. This also happens in Argentina. My advice is to look for another opportunity because you have to take into account that if you join the company this will happen again; for example, in the future, they may lowball you on raises.


It depends on your situation. Take the job only if you really need the job and there's no job close to your experience and salary expectations. IMO $70K is not much in NYC given the cost of living there, even if you stay in Jersey City, NJ and take a train. However, it does depend on your lifestyle.

Also, if HR is not willing to keep their commitment now, they generally won't keep any other commitments like negotiated perks as part of the job offer. However, sometimes you may have to compromise because of other factors that make the job desirable: the team, the work, and enthusiasm for the business.

  • +1 for "if the HR is not willing to keep his/her commitment" Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 18:05
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    What commitment? They responded with a counter-offer. Just replying doesn't mean they accepted the terms. It doesn't sound like HR made any original commitment not kept. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 19:08

What I do in those cases - assuming I like the job - is ask for a review in 3-months.
They usually take this to mean I want a raise-review and give me a raise.

What I really want to know is how I'm doing.
Some managers will only give feedback in a review instead of every day.

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