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After a lot of interview rounds and a lengthy process for a tech job I applied, I got a phone call from the recruiter that they'd like to offer me the role. Over the phone, she asked me they are thinking of offering package of $xk/year and asked me what figure had I in my mind. I promptly said without thinking that I have in my mind between $(x+5)k and $(x+10)k since I need a job. She promptly said that ok then it'll be $(x+5)k. I haven't yet got any formal offer letter and this was a phone conversation.

My question is after the recruiter agreeing to the minimum of my specified range, can I negotiate more? If yes, when should I do it? that is, once I'm emailed the offer letter? Also, I was​ called in to grab some paperwork and one of the papers was the job application form which has a 'desired salary' field. Should I just mention the amount that I want in that field? Also, can I ask anything beyond $(x+10)k, which is the upper limit of the range that I specified?

EDIT Have another offer now and have two questions related to it which I have posted here. The suggestions for my questions were really helpful so would request the members who answered to have a look and suggest further if possible.

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    This question isn't necessarily off-topic here, but you may get more responses from workplace.stackexchange.com [and there are likely to already be some answers there close to what you're asking]. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jun 13 '17 at 13:10
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    Can you negotiate? Sure - but think about what that might say about you to your new employer. If you need more than x+10 then that's one thing - if you're just trying to squeeze out every dime that you can, that's another. Work there for a bit and prove that you're worth that much and you'll be better off. How would you feel as an employer if you made a seemingly acceptable offer and then were countered with more than what they originally asked for? – D Stanley Jun 13 '17 at 13:12
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    You can but again it makes you seem a bit greedy. Are you willing to risk the offer rescinded or having a bad first impression over $10k? If you work hard and go above and beyond you might get even more that that in a raise or bonus! I'm not saying you shouldn't, but as an employer I would not look favorably on someone that gave me an "acceptable" range and then asked for more than that after I made an offer in that range. – D Stanley Jun 13 '17 at 13:29
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    (If they simply did not offer you the job at $(x+10)k, that's unfortunate, but it would show some lack of seriousness on their part if they failed to make an actual counteroffer. They were probably expecting to pay far less, in which case one of you has a serious misconception regarding a fair salary.) – chepner Jun 13 '17 at 14:13
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    Please don't cross-post to multiple stack exchange sites @dm1530 if it were judged to be off-topic here it would be migrated there, assuming that was believed to be the best place anyway. Now we have two groups of people answering the same question in two places, with only a tenuous link between them, rather than all of the answers in one place. – Mark Booth Jun 13 '17 at 16:58
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You can, but I wouldn't. Take the job, you need the work per your question. You did not mention this but I feel like you have been looking for a job for quite some time.

Currently tech is very hot. If it remains so, you can jump ship or negotiate a higher rate (if they like you) in 18 months or so. This will probably yield far more than the 7500 or less that you are "losing out" on in the interim.

Tech might cool to the point that layoffs. In this case being new is a detriment, but that can't really be helped. The thing that protects you in that case is usefulness combined with a low salary relative to others. Taking the lower offer may help you keep your job in bad times.

Tech might also just go flat. In that case little hiring is being done. Well that is not really true, the experienced people with highly sought after experience will always be somewhat in demand. Without a job you cannot gain that experience.

The conclusion is that you are better off in just about every case taking the low offer. That 5k can be made up in a variety of was, and it better to have a job than not.

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The direct answer to your specific question

Can I negotiate salary after mentioning a desired range

Is certainly yes - no problem.

Sure, the language you would use is this:

"Now that we know the details of the job, can we discuss salary? What were you thinking on your end? Looking at the market, I'd want to make no less than $___ plus family healthcare..."

Regarding this specific QA however: as a general negotiating principle, the fact that you say: "since I need a job" unfortunately means, you have no negotiating power. So really, if that's true, just secure the job and don't worry about the exact salary.

(You can only negotiate, if you can "walk".)

As everyone has said, software is so hot at the moment that you are hardly facing difficulty.

The overwhelming issue (assuming your overall goal is to make money) is that you choose the most technically difficult possible project during your time there, whether six months, 12 months or whatever.

Every new niche (library, computer science domain, API, whatever) you become expert in, basically skyrockets your salary in this era. That will guarantee you "even more" money when you find your next position.

In the current software market, if you spend 6 or even 3 months on a "soft" project or contract - you're basically throwing your career. There's "no time for that" in this market.

Everyone everywhere is talking about how demand for difficult software is sky high; unfortunately demand for the "easy" sides of software is very low. :/

You could perhaps say it's an "expert's market" at the moment.

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As a rule of thumb, whenever you mention a desired salaried range to a potential employer, the lowest number in the range is what they will target. The higher number does not come into play unless you have multiple offers that you can play against each other. If you want to work at company A which is offering X, and company B has offered you X+Y, you can then tell company A that another company offered you X+Y but you would rather work at company A if they can match it, and maybe they will. If you do not have any other offers it is obviously harder to ask for more in your situation for fear of losing the offer altogether.

However, once you have an official offer letter in your hand there is less risk of losing it. At this point if you ask for more it is unlikely that they would say no and also rescind the original offer out of spite. (But it is possible so be careful.) So, you could try this strategy:

  1. Wait until you have the official offer in hand.
  2. Contact HR and tell them after further thought you'd really like to take the job but you'd prefer slightly more compensation. (Perhaps choose a number below your top range that you previously mentioned.)
  3. If they say no, you could ask if they would be willing to evaluate you and if they are happy with your work they could give you a raise to that number in 6 months time.
  4. If they still say no you could tell them you'd like one more day to think about it. Then call back (or sign the forms) the next day and accept the job.

All that being said, the above is not just a simple "If This Then That" scenario. An important factor is the tone of your past and future conversations with the recruiter which you'll have to evaluate in real time. If the recruiter is noticeably annoyed (and if they work for the employer rather than an agency) you may not want to push it.

  • Not sure if this is a good strategy. You want the HR guys to prepare an official offer, then tell them they'll have to do that again, and give you a raise? – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 13 '17 at 17:00
  • @DmitryGrigoryev - Remember this is only if you don't have other offers. If you can't risk losing the job completely, then this may be a better alternative than not trying at all. – TTT Jun 13 '17 at 18:07
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At the end of the day, negotiation is just that: you and your future employer have to come up with a number you both agree is fair, then you sign the contract. What you say and do before signing falls under "negotiation strategies", which is entirely up to you.

However, negotiating a raise after getting an offer in what you said was the acceptable range sends a negative message about you. Your future employer knows nothing about you aside from your own words, and the first hard fact about you they learn is that you tend to go back on your own words.

Imagine this employer would send you a written offer for $(x-5)k. Would you still consider working for them, or even keep negotiating? Would you still believe they are decent people that you want to deal with on a daily basis in the next few years?

BTW, forget about "acceptable range", this is a flawed and confusing concept. There's only an acceptable minimum, and you have to decide whether it's $(x+5)k, $(x+10)k or something else. I bet you wouldn't refuse an $(x+15)k offer, would you?

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As others have discussed, the short answer to your question is yes you can do that, but you may want to consider whether that will annoy the other parties, who then might consider waiting for other candidates.

You are more likely to get away with this gamble if you can justify reasons for asking for more. For example, now that you know more about the job, you could for example say "This job requires more from candidates than I initially understood." (for example, it might require you to provide out of hours support as well as the 9-5, or be the most senior technical person on the team, or might involve some skills you have that were not initially apparent.) If you ask for more money but give these sort of justifications as to why you are doing it, then people will be more likely to feel you are making a reasonable request, rather than just being greedy.

For example, once I was in exactly your situation, and the company offered me a value of exactly at my previously stated minimum salary. I wrote them a polite email, thanking them for the offer, saying I was disappointed the money was so low, but observing that was a rational move on their part so no offence taken. I told them I had several other interview processes that were nearing conclusion, and although these had not resulted in any other offers yet, I made a counter offer nearer to my liking, and said if they accepted that I'd drop all the other interviews, avoiding any possibility of a bidding war. (For the record, this was all true.) They accepted happily.

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