I recently had an interview that went well.  The hiring firm is calling my references now, and I may be getting an offer soon.  

One concern is that the new position would entail a move to a much more expensive area.  I know Manager Tools recommends against "negotiating" salary, but I really could not take the position without an adequate increase to cover the higher expenses.  

Do any of you have thoughts on how to communicate that need, should the offer come in lower than what would be necessary to maintain my standard of living?  It really would be a matter of turning down the position if the money is not right.


katehorstman's picture
Admin Role Badge

Here is our recommendation for asking for an increase on the offer. You must wait until AFTER you get the offer. Say, “May I suggest something different? Based on these factors (insert external factors other than just wanting more), I think $X is more in line with my situation. I believe that is reasonable.” Do not say, “If you…” It’s perceived as an ultimatum and is unprofessional. Instead, use our guidance to make a suggestion in the form of a counteroffer.

I would provide a word of caution. Our guidance here is that you can ask for more after you get an offer, but there are still some things that could go wrong and cause you to lose the offer. First, this is not really negotiation. What you’re effectively negotiating for when you get an offer is YOU. And if you come across in the wrong way (by asking for more in an unprofessional way) the company may lose faith in you. Which means that you might not have the offer any more. Second, if you get more up front, you might get less when promotions come around. Which means you might not get a raise next year. Which might look bad in the future.

Additionally, if you ask for more, you must be willing to accept the offer after they meet your request. If you make a request, and they meet it, and you don’t accept, that is considered pretty unprofessional.

I hope this helps,