[b]BLUF, in two-parts:

A. Is it wrong / bad form to attempt internal salary negotiations after the job has been accepted?

B. If not, what is an appropriate method to broach / handle this discussion?[/b]

I was recently offered (and accepted & am looking forward to beginning) the manager role of a different team within our company.

During the interview process, I spoke with the man who will be my new boss. Our company works on a grade-system-by-twos. I am currently a Grade 32. The manager position will be Grade 38.

When we first spoke, we were talking about a completely different job in which the boss said "Oh, the tech support gig is steup so that there's a 4% increase and then a 3% for going to Senior in that role." Basically a tech support would be Grade 32. To become a senior tech, they'd go to Grade 36 so the company would give them 4% for the first two-step grade jump (32 to 34) and then another 3% for the next two-step (34 to 36.)

I'll be going from 32 (to 34, to 36 and then ultimately) to 38.

The HR rep has said they will be giving me a 10% raise (for going from 32 to 38) and then a pro-rate 2.7% merit increase.

I'm thinking that I should be getting at least 11% as the base increase rate.

32 to 34 = 4%
34 to 36 = 3%
36 to 38 = 4%
Merit = 2.7%

The difference between the 10% and 11% is only about $750 and I don't want to look like a schmuck trying to finnagle another few pennies out of the company (especially on the heels of two memos from the CEO about penny-pinching measures we're taking.)

However, even at the 10 or 11%, my end result pay rate is barely above the 25% mark of Payroll Managers in this area. shows a delta of about $23,000 between the 25th and 75th percentiles. In that bell curve, the peak would be about $10,000 more than either the 10% or 11% mark.

The other thing that concerns me a bit is that they're talking about a flat 10% rather than the compounded method the boss previously mentioned. By using the flat 10% instead of 4% + 3% + 3%, they're saving another $250 a year.

$1,000 a year may not seem like much and by all rights, it's really not a whole lot. I know that. I don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face here.

Ideally, I'd like to go back to the boss and say "I spoke with the HR rep and she indicated X salary based on 10% and 2.7%. That seems low for this job in this area. I was expecting more along the lines of X plus $4,000 or $5,000."

And then, if he says "Gee, would love to however we're in a downturn and we'd rather not have to lay someone off to cover your salary" (in essence) or "Gee, that's great but you're a new manager in this company" I could at least fall back to the basics of what we'd covered before ...

"I understand and appreciate that. I want to do my part as a stockholder to help the company thrive however, the basic numbers we previously discussed certainly support X plus $1,000."

Thoughts? Suggestions? (And feel free to be totally honest!)

jhack's picture

Don't try to change the deal now. It will leave everyone with a bad taste, including you.

Do, however, have a conversation about performance expectations and associated rewards. "If I do X, then Y happens." This is professional, and in the long run will return far more than a quick and modest bump in your base.

This is a good time of year for this conversation. You can show that you're looking forward to a good year, not unhappy with the past.


thaGUma's picture

It all depends on timing of infortmation and your acceptance.

1. Do not haggle if the money was agreed (you don't have a proper offer without knowing the financial side).
2. If the money wasn't agreed then you haven't accepted the offer and totally able to seek clarity from your prospective boss.
3. If the money was agreed i.e. you accepted offer after HR made financial element clear, then you would not be acting professionally in renegotiating. Avoid it like the plague.

As a last note, do not let worries about what your boss may say prevent you from discussing things. While things are tight and getting tighter, do not hold back simply in case this is raised. In that event you can happily back down "Jack I can see your point, I appreciate your candour and did not realise your department was under pressure". In that event I would be thinking a) why there is not a hiring freeze in place already and b) I will be first out the door if things get tighter.


ashdenver's picture

When he made the "offer" he said we would schedule some time to review three things:

- structure (who would be my DRs)
- timing (when I would move to the new role)
- financial (what my offered raise would be)

That meeting hasn't happened, nor has anything been scheduled. When I spoke with the HR rep, she said "your start date is still going to be December 8th" as if my soon-to-be-boss had already shared that information with me.

The HR rep is the one who told me 10% plus 2.7% and then ran the numbers really quickly to come up with what that netted out to be. I haven't spoken with the new boss about any of it yet.

I suppose $7,500 is nothing to sneeze at but I'm a little put-off by the way this has been handled. I would have liked the opportunity to make a case for (or at least request) more money and I would have really liked if this guy would have been more diligent on following-through on what he said at the time of the "offer."

So technically, no, I didn't get a real offer until the FedEx guy delivered the letter from the HR rep yesterday outlining 10% plus 2.7%.

I think I'm going to let it go for now and broach the topic of money when we finally have a discussion about the expectations for the first 3, 6, 12 mos and I'll see if I can wiggle some bonus into the program or request that extra consideration be taken at the time of annual increases in March.

Meanwhile, because of those budgetary constraints, travel and all expenses are under lock-down unless directly relating to clients. As such, his originally planned business trip to this office (Oct 9th) was cancelled. I'm headed out on vacation this afternoon and I'll be about 50 miles from his office on Saturday so I did send an email offering to meet for lunch that day (assuming he'd drive the 50 miles & expense the meal) in lieu of 1,000 miles air travel & hotel to meet me in the Denver office. I know it's short notice and it would be on a non-work-day (I know he's a big believer in the "work/life balance" concept) but I figured it wouldn't hurt to put it on the table.

Thanks ya'll.

HMac's picture

[quote="ashdenver"]I think I'm going to let it go for now and broach the topic of money when we finally have a discussion about the expectations for the first 3, 6, 12 mos and I'll see if I can wiggle some bonus into the program or request that extra consideration be taken at the time of annual increases in March.[/quote]

You're taking the right approach, Ash.

I think it's easy to lose perspective - that companies and hiring managers are often a bit disorganized, sloppy in what they say, and/or just too busy to run the hiring process as clearly as we'd like them to. And in these circumstances, the WORST thing a candidate can do is to try to make the company adhere to the candidate's expectations....

It sounds like you've avoided the trap, that you know when to have a "light hand."

And by the way - congratulations!


ashdenver's picture

Get this ... I just got off the phone with the HR rep and as it turns out, the 10% plus 2.7% didn't get me to the bare minimum for the pay range (as I suspected) so they've added another 2.485%. Net increase is now just over $9k and I feel better about that. No haggling required!

I was aiming for 20%, would have settled for 15% - ended up with 15.5% without saying a word ... except to bore-ass you guys!

Yep ... patience is a virtue (that I really need to get - anyone know where I can [i]buy [/i]some?!)

canario's picture

"Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet" Aristotle :)