short answer Saturday: 6 short answers to 6 short questions

It’s short answer Saturday — six short answers to six short questions. Here we go…

1. How can I motivate this manager?

I work for a small business managed by a married couple, owned by the female partner. Although this is one of healthiest environments I have ever worked in, the male partner has challenges with motivation and time management. He is responsible for marketing, but rarely seems to complete any of the projects he takes on. He is responsible for several writing several reports a week and sending them back to clients, and is often a couple of weeks late on these. I often have to remind him multiple times about repeating tasks. Phone calls are often returned late or forgotten.

I have mentioned these issues individually before, framing it in the idea of each team member choosing areas of improvement and checking in on progress regularly. This idea did not get implemented. My role is technically to coordinate clients and general office duties, so I have very little official authority. The female partner seems to know of the issue and also tries to motivate him, but their personal relationship makes that challenging. Is it best to ignore problem–since I am not a manger, address it, or get out of the situation?

If it’s impacting your work, talk to him and/or your direct manager about it in that context — focusing solely on how it impacts your ability to get your job done. If it doesn’t impact you much, then this isn’t your problem to solve.

2. Withdrawing from a hiring process

My husband and I have both been job hunting, him for his first job after completing graduate school, and me for a step-up in my field of nonprofit work. He’s been looking locally (since I’m currently employed), while I’ve been looking nationally, since there are few open jobs in my field. My husband has just received and accepted a job offer (yay!), but now I’m not sure what to do with the companies I’ve been interviewing with. I am waiting on a final decision from one company, and just completed a first-round interview with another. Both are great jobs, but neither is appealing enough to trump my husband’s offer. Should I notify them now that I am no longer available/interested and withdraw from the process, or should I wait until they get in touch about the next steps? When we do talk, should I tell them the reason that I’m withdrawing myself from consideration?

Assuming your husband’s new job is a 100% certainty, send an email to the companies you’ve talked with, letting them know that you’re withdrawing from the process. Explaining why and thanking them for talking with you will be good for the relationship in case you ever cross paths again. It’s more polite to do this now rather than waiting for them to contact you about next step, since they may be making decisions premised upon you still being in the running. (For instance, maybe they’re only going to move three candidates forward to final interviews and reject everyone else; if they know you’re withdrawing, your spot can go to someone else.)

3. Taking on someone else’s work

An assistant manager in my department is retiring in January. I have been trained and literally doing all his work plus my own for 5 months now. I have a strong feeling that his job title will not be replaced, but instead I will have his work added to my job title which is close to simply a clerk and my salary reflects that title. While I’m not looking for a power trip or title of supervisor I am looking for a decent raise on top of my yearly raise and to have my salary cap raised as well. Is this asking too much? How long should I wait to discuss this with my manager? Any advice on how to go about it and what to say? I was thinking of waiting for my yearly review when we sit down and discuss my performance in the summer.

Personally, I’d raise it now rather than waiting for your performance review because I wouldn’t want to have to wonder about it until then, but either way is fine. When you bring it up, say, “What are the plans for replacing Alan when he leaves in January?” If they say they’re not planning to replace him and you’ll continue doing his work, say, “Would I become assistant manager then?” If not, explain that you’d like to be paid appropriately for taking on his work. (I’d ask for the promotion too, but that’s your call.)

4. Job changed during interview

During a recent interview, the hiring manager informed me that the job title and description had been changed and I was actually interviewing for a different position. Is this normal practice? I think it would benefit both of us if they sent a new job description to me ahead of time. I was not given one at the interview either. This has happened to me three times in the last 6 months. It is a little difficult to talk about how my skills fit the position when I don’t know the requirements for the position. So frustrating.

It’s the sign of a disorganized and thoughtless manager, at a minimum. If it happens again, immediately ask them to explain the new position to you and the reasons for the change. It’s fine to let your demeanor and questions convey that you need information in order to decide if it’s a position you’re interested in, rather than being someone who’s just standing around in a brothel line-up waiting to be picked.

5. When an employer reaches out just to find out your salary requirements

I recently applied for a job and was contacted by the HR department. I was really excited and thought I had finally scored an interview. However, I was asked what my salary requirements were…and that was it. I was told the information would be passed along to the department and I would be contacted if I was selected for an interview. Is that normal procedure?

I stated what I thought was a reasonable figure and that it was negotiable. The HR representative asked if the figure I named was the lowest I would go. I stated again that I was flexible, but now I’m worried I requested a ridiculous, astronomical amount for the position and it took me out of the running. For the record, this is a financial aid officer position at a college and the amount I requested was based upon what I have come across on similar job postings in the area and my 3 years’ experience…$35k.

It’s not unusual, although it’s obnoxious because makes candidates feel like they’re in a bidding war to see who will go the lowest. I don’t know what geographic area you’re in, but for any area I’m familiar with, that salary request is far from unreasonable. You can also what their range is, or follow up your answer with, “Is that in the ballpark of what you’ve budgeted?”

6. Companies that resist promoting from within

Why are companies (both large and small) so averse to promoting from within? I’ve been in the workforce for 25+ years and it seems one has to get a new job in order to move up the ladder. Many, many people I know and have queried have experienced the same thing. Do you have any tips to avoid this?

Plenty of companies do promote from within; you just need to find them. Before taking a job, ask questions about how often they promote internally, and what the promotion history has been like for the position you’d be taking on. You can also ask what people in that position typically have gone on to do next.

There are some positions that aren’t especially suited for promoting people up, and some companies that aren’t inclined to. Make sure you know if you’re signing up for either.

{ 62 comments… read them below }

  1. Sabrina*

    For #6 it really depends on the company. I know someone who works at McDonald’s Corporate outside of Chicago. Good luck getting in there if you didn’t start in a retail location. They are all about promoting from within. Most managers are too ingrained in not wanting to let their best performers go, so they make it hard for them which eventually causes them to leave the company.

  2. EngineerGirl*

    #4 – RUN!

    #6 – My company is like this. It seems if you want a promotion you have to apply for the next level job in another department/program. It means that the department you are working for will lose you. Btw, our HR department is the one pulling this stunt. On two different occasions my manager has tried to get me promoted due to increased job duties/responsiblities. HR has always come back with “we don’t do in-line promotions”. In one case they had advertised the position at the next level (because it was). When I interviewed for it and was clearly the best candidate, HR refused to give me the promotion. Instead, they expected me to do the higher level job with the old pay/title. It created quite the inequality – some peolel doing the job had the higher pay/title, while others (with more responsibility) had the lower pay title. Then HR wondered why people were unhappy and trying to leave. Doh.

      1. Ariancita*

        Maybe you have answered this elsewhere, but this reminds me to ask: when it comes to hiring, what is the difference between the roles of the manager and HR? I read in places where HR gets to veto managers’ candidate choices, veto salary negotiations, etc. And I read in other places where HR simple assists in recruiting and then getting the paperwork finalized, but the managers choose the candidates to hire and the wages to be paid.

        1. Anonymous*

          That actually is the answer. It varies by company and can even vary between departments within a company.

      2. Anonymous*

        I get that it seems like HR is the bad guy, but I would make sure you are getting the full picture. We have a manager who we battle with every time he wants to hire someone because he wants to hire them at say Level 2 even though they should really be in Level 1 because he wants them to have a certain job title or pay them a certain wage. Manager makes the call and guess what happens when the Level 1 actually starts doing Level 2 work down the road. Despite their increased responsibilities, they cannot be promoted to a Level 2 because the manager already hired them in at that level. Then the manager turns around and tells the employee that HR is preventing him from promoting them when in fact we warned him upfront about this. The term in-line promotion makes me think that there may be something like that at play here.

        1. Steve G*

          Your post explains exactly why people would think HR are the bad guys – your managers try hard to hire in people above where they should be hired, because if they hire them at their current level they apparently NEVER get promoted by your HR. So the problem seems to be HR, as you wrote this.

          1. Jamie*

            I read that differently. I took the comment to mean that the managers overruled HR and brought people in at an inflated level. So by the time they are advanced to the next level, they aren’t getting promoted, because they’ve actually been getting the pay and title for the higher position all along – even when they were working at a level below.

    1. mh_76*

      #4 – at least the switcheroo happened before you started the job! I’ve had it happen a couple of times after starting except that it wasn’t “official” (HR didn’t do it, changes just evolved) but was that the jobs evolved to be much more than originally billed. On the plus side, I was able to add some good bullet points to my resume and if my boss wants to extend my current contract, I’ll have a rationale to ask for more money and a title change because I’ve trained 3 people & written the how-to manual…and if an extension is in order -and- if they want me to stay… if not then I’ll let the position end and have more time for some freelance work that’s (probably) coming my way soon. Go with your gut: if you think you should run then run. If you think that it’s worth going forward then go forth and see what the switcheroo brings. How is the original job different from the original one and could the “newer” one be a better opportunity and a better paycheck?

    2. Long Time Admin*

      Sounds like the People Division at the World’s Largest Retailer. Managers have little to no say in these matters, and yes, the employees (excuse me, “associates”) resent it very much.

  3. K.*

    #5 happened to me, and I guess my answer was too high for them because I never heard back. What I gave them was well within market value for the position (it was on the lowish end of salary ranges that have been posted for similar positions to which I’ve applied, which all fall in line with research I’ve done re: appropriate salaries for the title, job description, and my education and experience level), so if they aren’t willing or able to pay it, I’m good with continuing to look. I did have that “I bet someone will go lower” feeling when I answered the question, but I’ve learned to be more confident in knowing my worth.

    1. Josh S*

      Companies that hire the least expensive person willing to do the job will end up getting exactly what they pay for–the cheapest labor possible. I don’t know that I’d want to work for such an organization.

      1. Mike C.*

        Seriously. I’m getting sick and tired of “value for money” never being considered.

      2. Long Time Admin*

        I have a story about that.

        When I was between job, I signed up with every temp agency in town so that I would be working as much as possible, but I did have a minimum hourly wage that I would accept. I interviewed at a small company, but they chose another administrative assistant who was happy with $2/hr less. When they asked her to get a hotel room for an out of town visitor, she asked they wanted the room for just the evening or the whole night. They called the agency the next day and hired me.

    2. Veronica*

      I had a new position approved for salary range of 40k-50k. It was not possible to offer more than 50k, period, no exceptions. There were candidates who’s salary expectations were 70k-85k. No way would I waste my time (or their time) interviewing. As a manager, this is one of my reasons I find salary expectations helpful. Also, when I hire, it’s for long term. I don’t want to hire someone at a much lower salary than they want and then worry about them job searching and eventually leaving for another position in a year or two.

      1. Elizabeth*

        I think it’s reasonable for the employer in that case to state up-front, before interviewing, “The salary for this position will be between $40 and $50k depending on experience. Is that the range of salary you’re looking for?” To insist that the candidate name a number first makes job-hunters worry they’re shooting themselves in the foot by naming a number that’s too low.

        1. mh_76*

          LIKE. and when asked again for your salary range, you can say that you’ve been contacted / interviewed / etc. jobs with X as the minimum salary.

        2. Tamara*

          The flipside of this (in my experience) is that candidates often don’t read, or they have unrealistic expectations anyway. I always list a salary range when hiring, yet I can’t even count the number of times a candidate didn’t read the full description (and was surprised when salary was discussed!) or did read it but assumed they could negotiate significantly higher. We don’t discuss salary (outside of posting the range) until the last set of candidate interviews, so there is a lot of time wasted, despite our disclosure.

      2. Anonymous*

        I had a phone interview once where I was told “the salary is $60k, and that’s all we can offer”. I knew I wouldn’t take the job for less than $70k so we decided that it wasn’t worth doing an in-person interview. I found it helpful that everyone was honest about the salary from the start and we didn’t have to dance around the issue.

      3. K.*

        Right – in that instance, just post the salary in the description. That way you know, or can at least be reasonably confident, that the applicant pool is good with it. Having a budget, keeping it secret, and then polling the candidates to see who can come in under it seems like a waste of the employer’s time, not to mention the candidates. Any time spent applying for jobs that turn out to require a $30K pay cut is time I could have spent applying for jobs that ARE in my range.

      4. Stells*

        The problem with this though is that once a candidate hears “$40-50K” they are going to ask for and/or expect $50K.

        Most of the time this isn’t too much of an issue, but I’ve been slapped on the wrist more than once by the compensation analysts for giving away the range and then the candidate came back and counteroffered what was a generous offer because they knew the budget range.

        It’s also assuming they’ve told the recruiters the pay range (some orgs don’t and let the HR hire ups talk money in the later interviews, but they want to know the salary from the phone screen so they can eliminate candidates who are wildly too expensive)

        Nowadays, I ask what they are currently making and/or looking for and follow up with a [modified] version of the range (if I have it) – for example if the range is $40-50K and they make $45K, then I’ll say that they are making around what the position pays and that I can at least get them what they are at. If I don’t know the range, I explain that it’s for the managers to review because they don’t want to hire someone way out of their price range. Candidates who haven’t done their research will usually qualify their number with an idea of how low they’d be willing to go. This helps because I’m not asking for the ABSOLUTELY LOWEST PRICE but if they are WAY off base then it might keep them in the running.

  4. Tim C.*

    6. Companies that resist promoting from within

    I worked for the opposite; they never hired from outside. As a result there never seemed to be a new idea.

  5. Another Emily*

    I agree with your answer to #2 AAM. I was wondering as a follow up, at what point would you consider the husband’s job offer to be 100% certain? A job offer in writing? First day of work? A verbal offer from a trustworthy company? Or something else?

    1. Ariancita*

      That’s a great question that I’d like to know the answer to myself. I see people say you have to get an offer in writing, but I have never received a written offer. It has always been verbal. Are there some positions where written offers are the norm? And if it’s not in writing, when is it considered a real 100% offer?

      1. Elizabeth*

        I’m a teacher at a private school and I get a yearly contract. I got my first one when I accepted their verbal offer of a job several years ago. It was signed by both me and the head of the school, agreeing that I would fulfill the duties of teacher and that they would pay me $X.

        My partner has worked for several software companies and each of those also gave him a contract to sign when he was hired, specifying the salary. I don’t know if this is normal in all businesses, though I think if I decided to start a business I’d definitely put such things in writing.

        1. Natalie*

          As far as I know, contracts are not standard in the US. You and your husband happen to be in two of the only fields where they are common.

          1. Jamie*

            Employment contracts aren’t standard here – but there is one form of contact that is common…and I’m not sure it’s being used to it’s full advantage in most cases – the offer letter.

            Negotiated items can be binding if in the offer letter. For example, documenting that there will be a review of performance/compensation after six months, relocation costs covered, any negotiated vacation outside of what is stipulated in the handbook, etc.

            These things can be binding or not, depending on the verbiage and it’s a good idea for the company to record the details so everyone is on the same page (memories tend to get fuzzy later – on both sides.)

    2. E*

      I’m the one who wrote in about this question. My husband’s first day is in a week and a half, so I’m feeling like, at least with the place where I’ve only had one interview, that I want to hold off on withdrawing just yet. Just in case something really unexpected happens between now and then or he shows up on the first day and there’s some major unforeseen red flag.

      1. Charles*

        Yep, I would do the same – wait until your husband’s first day on the job as it isn’t that far away. Now, if it were a month away then you might not be able to wait; But, a week and a half is okay.

    3. Stells*

      As a recruiter, I say once they start the drug and background…or if you’re worried about passing the drug or if you have any kind of criminal record, I’d wait until they both came back clear.

      I’ve seen many a candidate put in their resignation and then fail a drug or background, but if you’re like me and you KNOW you’ll pass it then you can consider it certain once they submit the background check and you go in and take the drug test. At that point, they’re paying for it, so they aren’t likely to resciend (once again, unless you fail).

      1. anon-2*

        Be careful. I failed a drug test once. Of course, it wasn’t done in a lab, but in a back room with some rinky-dink kit. I was on ibuprofen treating some shoulder pain and that came up.

        There is a chance of a false positive — which is why most employers don’t do random drug testing in the workplace anymore, unless it’s truly work-related/ safety related, or they have some reason to believe you are acting erratically. A false positive can put its victim on easy street with the company’s money.

  6. Steve G*

    I love the question #6 raised. I haven’t seen it in terms of promotions (my current and previous companies did and do promote), but I’ve seen it in terms of salaries. People that haven’t done a darn thing for the company getting hired in at exhorbinant rates when 1/2 of the employees work crazy hard and crazy hours, and the other 1/2 do not, which as an employee, makes me say to myself, “so they get this salary when there is only 1/2 a chance they’ll work hard, and much less that they’ll actually earn that much?”

    1. Jamie*

      That is a trend that bothers me, too. You read all the time that the way to get the big salary jumps is to hop companies. A lot of the time company one is leaving will end up paying more to lure a good replacement.

      It’s like a very inconvenient game of tag where you have to pack up your desk a couple of times a decade just to maintain your trajectory.

      1. Steve G*

        which is horrible because I have relationships with all of our customers and have their whole history in my head and know “the system” good enough to “game,” and both of those items take a long time to develop. I dread having to leave it one day just for money, and then have to spend a year building up all of that credibility with a new set of customers.

        1. Jamie*

          I agree completely. It’s also a shame when people really like where they’re working and have a lot of valuable company specific knowledge – and don’t really want to go anywhere, but because of how the game is played it happens all the time.

          What you said about the build up of credibility – that’s what I would dread most as well. I don’t work with customers – but it happens with the new company where there’s a shake out period where everyone is looking at you side-eyed to see if you’re as good as the people who hired you keep saying.

          The whole proving yourself thing – it’s exhausting. Even when you can clear the bar is street shoes (which shouldn’t ever be the case, because where is the fun without the challenge). The whole prospect is just a PITA – especially when it’s so unnecessary.

          1. NicoleW*

            I’m in this situation right now. I like what I do. I started in the field for 2 years right out of college, then took a position at the corporate office. I can’t believe I have been here 7 years! I do such a variety of things, I know the company, and I’m really good at my job. My bosses keep telling me they want to give me a raise, but can’t since we’ve been in a freeze for 3 years (though there have been raises outside my department in that time).

            I’m the account person on our biggest client, I’m able to provide several additional services that we normally would pay a contractor to do, and I’ve always put in whatever hours it takes. You’d think the company would be interested in retaining me. I’ve tried negotiating for a raise multiple times (and used all of AAM’s advice)! No luck.

            And then the company hired someone new with the same title for 16% more than I make.

            I hate that I still work here given that situation, but I don’t know where I’m going to find a new job that includes what I like best about my current one. I have a lot of creative input here, which my job typically would not have elsewhere. So I’m doing a selective job search for now…we’ll see.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              If you have a good relationship with your boss, you might try saying, “I’m getting mixed messages about whether the company is interested in retaining me” (said in a calm, matter-of-fact, although slightly concerned tone, not an emotional one).

          2. jmkenrick*

            My Dad always says that you should pay your employees as much as it would cost to replace them.

  7. Anonymous*

    #2 – I’ve always gone with the adage that you don’t have a job until your first day of work. In this case, your husband’s first day of work. I think it’s fair to withdraw from the non-local jobs now as long as your husband has received a job offer in writing, references have been checked, and a background check completed. Also, only if the start date isn’t eons from now. In a volatile economy, anything can happen, and offers can fall through. Rare, but it happens.

  8. Anonymous*

    #2 again! – I was also thinking – maybe continue to interview with those out of area jobs even when your husband starts his new job. He might hate it. It might not be a good fit, might not be what he expected, etc – you never know. ….I say this because a few years ago I was hired under a specific manager…then, one month after I started work, my manager quit and she was replaced by Nightmare Manager and made my life miserable to the point where quitting became a real possibility. I ended up sticking out the job for a year because well, it was 2008!

  9. Anonymous*

    I’m actually a Financial Aid Counselor myself at a private university in a major city. I worked in another department for four years, and transferred to FA a year ago, and I do make $35k. Of course, if you’ve more experience in higher ed, that may make a difference (working at this university was my first job out of college)…

  10. Anon*

    #3 – I would ask about the raise now. It’s been pointed out here before that the best time to ask for a raise is when they’re setting the budgets, not after it’s all done. Easier to add money now rather than later.

  11. Jamie*

    “During a recent interview, the hiring manager informed me that the job title and description had been changed and I was actually interviewing for a different position.”

    How can they expect you to know you even want to interview for this new job, if you don’t have the facts?

    That’s like having a date with someone and instead he sends his brother to take you to dinner. His brother may be a perfectly nice guy, and you may even want to go to dinner with him, but it’s your call to make once you have all the information.

  12. Long Time Admin*

    # 2 – Wait until your husband actually starts his job before withdrawing you applications with anyone. Sunday’s post illustrates this point!

  13. KateT*

    #1 Boss’s husband lacks motivation
    I wouldn’t try to change this guy. If his wife can’t motivate him to a higher standard of work, you won’t be able to either. Is there anything you can do to help him get his work done on time? Have you asked? If you handle general office duties, can you offer to help him track calls and clients who need follow-up? In a very small, family owned business, you have a lot of flexibility in your role and extra work that helps the whole business run more efficiently will certainly be noticed. What do you think?

    1. Editor*

      Instead of trying to get the husband to do work on time, I would be looking for another job. My immediate reaction here is that the husband is doing a bunch of passive-aggressive “you’re not the boss of me” gaming with his spouse, the business owner.

      Even if it is a healthy environment now, there’s such a large problem here that isn’t being dealt with. If their personal relationship goes bad quickly, the job could go bad quickly.

  14. L. A.*

    Re: #4 This has happened numerous times to me, most often on phone interviews. And it’s always mentioned in passing – “Oh, I know that we were calling about X job, but that’s been filled internally. However, we have Y open and it seems like your resume will be a good fit…” and then they launch into questions. It’s panic inducing since you’re still trying to wrap your head around job Y and whether or not it is anything that you want to do (I mentioned in a comment thread last week that one such instance of this was when I was interviewing for a general assignment reporter and they job description changed to Spanish-language reporter)

    It’s only happened once in person and I did the best I could in the interview while trying to process the new information. It helped that that interview was with a former colleague who knew me and didn’t mind that I became a bit more nervous as I tried to answer her questions and assess what she was saying back to me. Bright side? I’ve never asked more questions in a job interview.

    I don’t mind if a position opens/closes/somersaults during my interview process, but at least give me a little bit of a warning before changing a job description on me. It will save us both time if the job has morphed into something I never would consider.

  15. anon-2*

    #5 – yes there are some companies that function that way. The thinking is probably (again, not what I would think)

    0 “If I lose you to promotion, what good does that do me (the manager)??”

    – answer to that – “it’s not about YOU. It’s about my career, and what’s best for the company.”

    0 It’s probably a company policy. A manager that loses two or three people due to the fact that he/she is stepping on people’s heads – assuming the departees will be upfront in an exit interview — will only get away with it if the HR department, and the manager’s management, condone such antics.

    – answer to that – “Too bad. This is a classic textbook case of lose-lose-lose.

    The departee loses, because he or she has invested time in a career that went nowhere and has opted to terminate it at that company.

    The company loses, because now they have to fill TWO positions. The manager loses, because comparisons to the passed-over employee by others will be inevitable. Whatever respect was gained by “saving face” will be lost, going forward. ”

    If I were ever a manager, I’d want people under my management to want to advance themselves. If they look good , I look good.

    One thing I had to convince a management team of, in a pre-unionization meeting – is that if I were allowed to advance, I’d be more likely to stay — AND — even after promotion, I’d still be here to help out, train replacements, offer support, build morale, etc. etc. etc. EVERYBODY CAN WIN. If you chase people out the door because you are denying deserved career advancement, EVERYBODY ALWAYS LOSES.

  16. anon-2*

    … and as an afterthought — if you are a manager who believes in holding people back … going to the street to fill positions that others could do, and aspire to.

    YOU ARE A LOSER. People don’t like to work for losers. Often, they don’t even like them.

  17. lauren*

    I was told the range was 85- 90k, but when I was given an offer, I was only worth 62 based on telling them my salary history. Never again.

    1. anon-2*

      I’ve had that stunt pulled on me as well, lauren.

      The best response to that is, “this is not possible, I thought you were serious.”

      If you are being low-balled, and would not accept such an offer, you can reject it. Some places will come back and say “OK, we’ll offer you 85…”

      I had that happen once – where I was low-balled – a major company wanted me to take a pay cut. I refused. The HR went on — and on– and on — and talked about how great the company was — I cut her off =

      – I have other irons in the fire right now, and those are serious.
      – These were NOT the numbers we were talking.
      – I don’t know what you’ve been smoking but it must be some really good stuff. I don’t use it, thanks.

      Next thing out of the HR rep’s mouth = “OK, ok, ok. If were were to up the offer, would you consider?” Hand is tipped.

      I replied = “I MIGHT. I might. But tell you what. I don’t want to waste any more of my time, or yours. I will give you ONE MORE SHOT, do it quickly, and get serious.”

      They did. 20 minutes later, an acceptable offer came through. But, when promotion time came, they wanted to play a brinkmanship game, and I knew two things — it was going to be necessary, and, they weren’t very good at playing the game.

      1. lauren*

        I said the same thing basically. I said that I wasn’t looking for any half ass raise, I was looking to be paid market value, which before my 4 interviews and the offer, we were at the 85 – 90 range, and the recruiter literally said “well the hiring manager thinks that you should be happy with the 20% raise from your current salary. ” I had to fight back my screams. I was infuriated, how dare they waste my time, I accused him and the company that they were lowballing me on purpose and had I never given my salary range , they would have offered me 85 and that there was clearly nothing more to discuss because they just wanted the cheapest labor, but would turn around and give the next person (a subordinate of mine if I took the job ) more money than they were offering to me if they never state salary. I was pissed, and said I was offered 75 from 4 other companies that were less than the 2 hour commute this place would be, and there was no incentive to take 62 and increase my commute 5 fold. Morons

        1. anon-2*

          Well, the place that tried to pull the game on me — this was 21 years ago — tried to undercut my (then) current salary. I informed them I was not going to make a jump without a raise, and the exchange got testy.

          Sad to say — one guy who was hired around the same time I was , took a whopping pay cut to come aboard. We learned that there is a range – or band – and that the company will NEVER offer a new hire anything over the 33rd percentile (lower third) of the band.

          In my case, they just hired me at a higher grade. Now, I said 21 years ago.

          It was 1991. Back then, we were in a recession as well. So the company had a “low-ball first offer” policy. If you refused the first offer, they would immediately counter. That soon became a very ineffective policy (he11’s bells, it always is, long term) because the word got around town “if you go there, refuse their first offer…”

          The company got into trouble in the late 90s, because they didn’t see that the recession had ended and we were in a boom economy, but they still were treating people thinking that times were real, real, bad.

          1. lauren*

            yeah, i think this company thought they were special and they since the economy is bad for most people, that I must want to “settle” for anything. But my industry is booming (clearly based on 85 being the common salary for only 4 years experience). Middle of nowhere for less money ? I would never choose them over another company that offered more money by 20k and was only 2o min away compared to 2 hours away. .

            1. anon-2*

              Well, sometimes people ARE willing to do anything, accept anything.

              As long as a company doesn’t mind prostituting itself, and knows that low-ball offers typically lead to short-term relationships, I guess they think they’re getting away with something and will call it “good business”.

      1. anon-2*

        I actually blew off an interview for another one, and was misled by a devious headhunter — who not only lied to me about the salary and the details of the job — but LIED TO HER CLIENT, TOO — and told him I’d be willing to work for peanuts!

        When I showed up for the interview he looked at my resume, etc., and said “what are you doing here? Why did they send you here?” Wha…??? “The job isn’t something you’d be interested in. It’s a clerical job.”

        Then in the follow up she told me she lied to me on the salary, yes it was far lower, etc. but gee whiz, … ??? So I called her client back — thought he’d like to know, too… and he said he wouldn’t be dealing with her in the future.

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