share your salary negotiation success stories

In response to last week’s salary negotiation success story, people asked for more salary success stories. So: In the comments, share your stories of successfully asking for and getting more money, either as part of a job offer or when asking for a raise. Be as specific as possible — what did you say, how did the conversation go, and what did you end up with?

{ 401 comments… read them below }

  1. MissBliss*

    In my last job, it was super simple. They posted the salary range, X-X+10k, and they offered me X+5k. I asked for 2k more over the phone, and without a pause, she said yes. In retrospect I wish I had asked for X+10k because I certainly more than fulfilled the criteria! I wish I could say I used Alison’s script, but it was only at that job that my coworkers introduced me to AAM. So hey, that’s worth the extra 3k, right?

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Do you get yearly salary increases that will get you to the X+10k mark in short order? If so, it may not be so bad that you went with X+7.

        1. KHB*

          And why would you assume that the top of the entry-level salary range was the absolute salary cap for that position? If it’s not, then you have X+7, X+8, X+9, X+10 versus X+10, X+11, X+12, X+13.

        2. Fortitude Jones*

          Like I’ve said before on this topic – it’s an individual choice. If that’s what the person who ultimately accepts the salary is happy with, even if you would have done it differently, so be it. Do it differently when you get the offer ;)

      1. MissBliss*

        I am no longer in that position, but my boss was fairly generous with raises (in comparison to the rest of the company). Had I stayed I probably would be at X+11 now. However, it was also nonprofit world, so the difference between X+7 and X+10 would’ve made a big difference in my life, so I would have definitely would have wanted it sooner rather than later!

  2. earl grey aficionado*

    Not salary, but a freelance rate negotiation inspired by your tips. I did a major project for a client. When setting me up with the project, they suggested that if I could do X above-and-beyond thing, I’d get Y bonus. (Y was a ridiculous, unrealistic amount of money, but it was clear that they’d be willing to pay extra for X.) I did manage to achieve X. When turning the project in and discussing payment, they were going to give me my regular rate with no bonus, but I took a deep breath and asked for a bonus + higher per-hour billing rate to reflect all the extra work I had done. I was terrified to ask and spoil my relationship with an awesome client, but it didn’t spoil it at all! They agreed immediately and I made $600 more than I thought I would for the project. I was thrilled.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      That’s wonderful it worked out, but I’m side-eyeing the fact that you even had to ask in the first place since they told you upfront you’d get the bonus if you hit the target, and you did.

      1. Ra94*

        Yeah, slightly confused by this- unless I’m missing something, this sounds like the story of a client trying to get away with underpaying by $600.

        1. SRF*

          I guess I interpreted that as earl grey aficionado getting the bonus plus an extra $600. But I also side-eyed the part where they told you about a bonus upfront and then tried to not pay that to you when you delivered.

      2. earl grey aficionado*

        Two things: the initial bonus amount that they stated was, like I said, an unrealistic number (think: “a million dollars”) that was clearly not meant to be taken at face value. The other thing is that the project morphed a lot. What they’d been looking for was not really possible to create, so I created an alternative that was still pretty darn good but may have been just different enough that giving me a bonus wasn’t an immediately obvious thing to do (especially a few busy months after the initial conversation, which they’d likely forgotten). The $600 was for ~8 extra hours of work spread over a long time and in addition to lots of other compensation for projects in tandem.

        Freelance rates suck in my field and I feel like I’m being taken advantage of pretty much all the time, but I’m willing to cut this client some slack, especially since they have routinely paid me above my asking rate on other projects. This was more a case of me reminding them of an earlier offer and negotiating some realistic extra compensation. I work EXTREMELY part time for them and have a ton of freedom, more so than normal independent contractors, even. It’s a good gig, even if I wish freelancing overall weren’t such a raw deal.

        I really appreciate the solidarity!

        1. earl grey aficionado*

          And yes, the $600 was on top of my normal rate. They weren’t letting me go unpaid for work, just forgot the bonus. Just realized I didn’t clarify that.

  3. Sleepytime Tea*

    I wanted a new job desperately and I also wanted to move closer to my hometown to be near my family, and the cost of living there was higher. So I had basically figured out what the COL difference was going to be and told myself “as long as I get $X I’ll have the same amount of discretionary income at the end of the day and I’ll be happy with that.” As I started the interview process with a company I realized I had totally low balled myself. I wasn’t taking into account the significant increase in duties and responsibility, the market rate for the area, or anything like that!

    When offer time came they pretty much just said “so you said you wanted $X, right?” and were ready to send the paperwork over. I took that opportunity to say “originally that is what I was thinking, however after going through the process and speaking with (insert soon to be coworker, manager, and CFO here), I realized that I would be more comfortable with $Y (which was $15k more). I learned more about the job duties and the complexity level of the work and I feel that $Y better reflects what the experience I’ll bring to the position.”

    Well, I got $Y! Honestly I had low-balled myself so much that perhaps this wasn’t a huge issue for them, but if I hadn’t asked, well, I may have ended up with a significantly lower salary.

    1. Lisa B*

      This is a GREAT story to show that you shouldn’t feel forever beholden because you threw out a low number first!! Great job, Sleepytime!

    2. Gaia*

      Yes! We are often told that once we name a number we should stick with it. But this is a great example where new information comes to light before an offer is accepted that justifies raising our asking price.

  4. ThatGirl*

    In retrospect, I wish I had asked for more or been smoother, but when I was moving from Kentucky (low cost of living) to the Chicago suburbs, I had a budget in my head of what I would need to get paid to afford an apartment on my own and other basics. They offered me $1K below that baseline, and I basically said “I need another 1K a year to make this work” and the guy checked with HR and got back to me and said no problem.

    As for raises – at a later job I was a contractor for 4 years through a staffing agency – but the agency was kind of useless except for payroll taxes, and basically it was up to me to self-advocate for raises. So approximately once a year I came to them and said “I deserve an increase, here’s everything I’ve gotten done this past year” and they talked to the powers that be and came back with “OK, here’s $2/hr more” (or whatever amount). It was a little weird but it got me used to talking up my own accomplishments and advocating for myself.

    1. Enginear*

      Yep, sometimes you need to remind them of what you’ve accomplished to refresh their memories.

  5. Lili*

    At my new job, they maxed out the salary range, so they couldn’t move up on that. But I followed your advice of
    “I currently have 4 weeks of vacation, and the 2 weeks you offered is a sizable reduction. Are you able to do 3 weeks?” They said “sure, no problem” within a few hours. Simple, no fuss – no muss.

    1. ThatGirl*

      At my current job they have been very good about competitive salary and perks, I have to say. When I was offered the job they matched my previous vacation (3 weeks) instead of their standard 2 for new hires and gave me a sign-on bonus. I just got an offer for an internal job change (lateral move) this week, and even though I just got a raise in March, they are giving me another 5% for this move. I haven’t felt like I’ve needed to negotiate much because they are already paying me fairly.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        That’s nice that you essentially got two raises! I had that happen to me before when I was promoted six months before salary reviews occurred, and then come review time, my boss gave me another bump. That was unexpected.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yeah, it was totally unexpected but obviously welcome! I’d checked with HR before I applied just to make sure it wasn’t a *lower* salary band, and they indicated it would be lateral so I fully expected everything to stay the same – especially with the raise in March. All told it’s almost a 10% raise over January!

    2. Another Lili*

      I had basically the exact same experience! I was coming from a job I liked and felt like I could afford to lose the opportunity if they couldn’t meet me somewhere in the middle. But having that experience has made me much more confident in asking for raises and promotions since.

      Ex: After promising a future raise would be retroactive, my boss tried to back-pedal when the raise was supposed to go into effect. I reminded him of all the extra work I had done over the last few months and expressed how disappointing it would be to work somewhere that didn’t repay that sort of effort. He talked it over with our CFO and 20 minutes later I got the news that my next paycheck would indeed include a bump for the last three months’ work.

      Sometimes it helps to know what you can afford to lose and sometimes all you need is some heavy-handed guilt.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I just had a similar experience! They gave me a salary range in the very first phone call which I appreciated, and they ended up offering at the very top of that range. But I’ve been with my current company for 7 years and after 5 got bumped up to 22 days of PTO plus holidays, and the new company was offering 10 days of vacation plus 40 hours of “sick or personal time” which was basically equivalent to only 15 days of PTO–less than the 17 I started with at my current company. I told them that would be a big drop and was there room to negotiate there and they came back with 15 days of vacation plus the 40 other hours bringing the total to 20.

      That should be plenty for me, although I’ll be starting halfway through the year and have historically taken most of my vacation September-December so the holiday season will be hard for me this year since I assume I’ll only get half of that 20 prorated…

  6. Bubbles McPherson*

    I’ll report a failure, because it’s instructive in how bad HR structures and processes can hamstring an organization. I was offered a local government job a few years ago. I was willing to take a small pay cut because I really, really wanted to work for this agency in this job – and if I had gotten the top of the published range, it would have been grand. I was about a decade overqualified and they wanted me.

    Unfortunately, the HR rules said that no one could be offered the top of the published range. Yep – the range was fake. If you put in your 25 years and got step raises along the way you could work your way up to it. But no one actually was hired at the top of the range. Silly me for thinking that!

    I appealed to their logic. I had more experience than they could ever hope to get for that salary. I had direct experience in the job category. I had personal connections in the field. I REALLY wanted this job, and they were hungry to have me. Surely there could be a one-time exception to bump me to the top of the range!

    Nope. Not a bit. The range was a lie.

    That’s how I grew utterly disillusioned with government hiring practices.

    1. High Tower on Capitol Hill*

      Oof government negotiations are awful. My salary when I worked for the state was automatically set by someone who is not in HR. There is absolutely no negotiating too, it was take it or leave it.

    2. Ana Gram*

      That’s typically how government paybands work- and it’s exactly why my local government employer advertises our base pay and midpoint as the range for positions. The midpoint is attainable for new hires (and plenty of people qualify for it) but it puts a bad taste in people’s mouths to say the range is $50K-$70K when new hires max out at $60K. I totally agree with your reaction. Government hiring practices are a little weird and we should be as transparent as we can!

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It sounds like they failed miserably at publishing the rate as the salary band for the position in it’s entirety without putting any thought into it [most people looking for a job need to know hiring salary range, not the entire payband]! Which I can see some people doing rather easily. It doesn’t negate that it was a horrible practice that should have been changed but I imagine that since it was a government position, changing it to the “hiring” range instead of the entire salary band would have been just as easy to do as a dog having kittens. I would have been angry as well, what a mess!

    4. JK*

      I had a similar experience with a University job. They posted that the salary would fall within Band X or Band Y. With no indication of what would qualify someone for one band vs the other, or where the starting salary may be within the band. There was about a $40k range between base of Band X and top of Band Y, so I really had no idea what they were thinking. Since I was very overqualified, I was expecting an offer at the mid-range– ideally of the higher band, but could have lived with midrange of the lower band even though it was a pay cut.

      They offered a few thousand over the bottom of the lower range. I had 18 years experience, and the offer was around my starting salary at my first job out of college. I was shocked. They refused to negotiate, so I had to decline. They had required an elaborate presentation as part of the interview process, and I was so angry at the amount of time I wasted on interviewing.

      1. Required Name*

        I’m currently waiting to hear back from a university about a job with a posted range of (I kid you not) 42,000 – 134,000 per year. Thanks for all that information…

    5. H.C.*

      I negotiated from bottom of salary band to middle of salary band when I started my current local gov’t job (salarywise it was on-par with my ExJob, but turns out to be a 15% bonus after taking the benefits package – incl. a pension! – into consideration); and most titles here let you work to top of range within 5-8 years.

    6. Public Sector Manager*

      That’s not a failure. That’s how the government civil service pay structure works.

      1. Ace in the Hole*

        Exactly. And many agencies have automatic step increases for every year of service, so if you’re only a step or two below the top of the range you’ll get there soon anyway.

    7. The bad guy*

      This is why single payer would be a failure in the US (I am actually a huge fan of changing the system to accommodate single payer). Healthcare is super complex and requires a lot of smart people. These are the type of smart people that will displace the bottom tier of employees at other types of insurance companies if salary isn’t competitive within government. The government will end up with a bunch of bad FTEs and require super expensive contractors to actually administer single payer successfully. The system has to change or it would never work and government will never pay top people what they’re worth. I honestly hope I’m wrong but stories like this are all too common for me to think so.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This is a common fear, however there are tons of very good and great employees within the government jobs! The people who opt out because they want more money are always going to be there.

        However with a single payer system they’re going to have less choices of where to work and have to pretty much accept if they want to do X, they need to be working for the government or they’re going to need to find another option line of work.

        The government has very few really bad employees in the end, they have a lot of requirements and hoops to jump through. Sure once you make it, you can slack off but still, you have to pass the obstacle course first. So please, don’t worry about this. It’s going to work itself out. Just like it’s worked itself out in every other country.

        1. another scientist*

          I agree with this. @the bad guy, I think you are assuming that each and everyone will go work for the employer who pays best, therefore government can never access the most qualified candidates.
          I find that the fraction of people who chose their job based on other priorities is larger than you think.

      2. feminzagul*

        We already have a massive amount of idiots working in insurance and healthcare and we’re already lighting billions on fire with the current system – frankly, simplifying all that with single payer is much more likely to make it *better* rather than worse.

      3. GovWorker*

        Well, I can say that most of my coworkers are well compensated and hold a vast amount of institutional knowledge that would be valuable in implementing a single payer system. Most people leave for executive positions in the private sector (consulting, insurance) and not “the bottom tier.”

      4. Entry Level Marcus*

        People vastly overrate how incompetent the civil service is based on a few anecdotes. We take for granted all the things the government does competently and focus on all the negatives. Think about public health alone, and compare the US’s public health outcomes to a third world country without a stable government, for example.

    8. CheeryO*

      I wouldn’t call that a bad HR procedure, though – that’s just how civil service is. My state advertises hiring rates and “job rates,” which tell you where the salary band maxes out after x number of years of step increases. It’s vaguely confusing, but it’s nice to have both figures.

      1. ForTheLoveOfSpreadsheets*

        Their salary range actually isn’t a lie. The lowest number in the range is the hiring rate and the highest number in the range is the job rate. If you are already in a position at the same grade level making the job rate and you laterally moved in to the position you would make the highest amount. If it’s a promotion or you’re coming from outside you make the lowest amount. All of the stuff in the middle is for lateral transfers making in between amounts since you can’t take a pay cut in the same grade level even if it’s a different title.

        Coming from the outside and being able to get a higher-than-the-hire-rate salary (except for the very highest positions) is extremely rare. It also generally requires approvals from the control agenc(ies) in addition to HR.

        It’s not wrong, just different. Yeah you can’t negotiate for more, but you know some idiot CWM down the hall who doesn’t do anything isn’t making more than you are. Different grades, though? That’s a different story. . .

        1. TechWorker*

          I mean I think it’s reasonable to argue that it is wrong – it’s both misleading to jobseekers and pretty arbitrary. Why would they assume outside hires are automatically at the bottom of any grade in terms of experience/ability? If you need 5 years of experience for grade x and 10-15 for grade y, why should someone with 9 get the bottom of grade x? (Feel free to replace ‘years of experience’ with some other metric of how ‘good’ a candidate is)

          1. GovWorker*

            They’re hired at the bottom of the pay grade because they don’t have experience working in government.

          2. H.C.*

            and they aren’t always hired at the lowest pay grade (per my earlier comment negotiating my way to middle of salary band) – however, getting the highest pay grade from the get-go is pretty unlikely (and that’s fairly true across all sectors).

          3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            It’s not automatically at the bottom though. They are often hired mid-range, they’re just never hired at the top because that’s for those with department experience, not just background experience with other entities!

            I mean I would rather eat out of the toilet than work for the government for a lot of reasons but the fact really is that they don’t really play games with salary bands, they have them and they have very strict procedures around how you get from one amount to the next!

        2. Blazer*

          But often times you end up with someone (like myself) who was promoted to a higher grade over a long term employee and that employee makes close to the same salary. That is demoralizing and reducing competition, especially when salary is non-negotiable.

      2. Work to live*

        In my mind, HR should have made clear to the OP that the “job rate” was not the “hiring rate” since people coming from any other industry would assume that a “job rate” is a salary range unless otherwise specified. This can’t be the first time they have dealt with this issue either, it seems like if you have distinct hard caps for job range and range you’re allowed to be hired into, you should have a whole spiel that goes along with introducing that concept to candidates. I would have been just as disappointed and confused as the OP in that situation.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I find that a lot of people don’t know how to break it down in those terms is the issue. They’re taught very strictly and often with scripts and canned descriptions to read from, they’re not given the luxury of using their own terms because it can lead to “You said what? You can’t say that, you stick to the script and what you were taught! It’s up to them to decipher what you mean or we’ll get in trouble for misleading someone!”

  7. Less Bread More Taxes*

    For my current position, which is as a PhD student (relevant because in this country salaries are set by funding agencies and are not negotiable): I was told the salary was $X. It was a bit below what I was comfortable with, but I decided to accept anyway. After withdrawing my application from other programs, I was told that actually the salary was $X-20% (well below minimum wage and totally not doable for me). Because I had the understanding that these salaries were set, I wrote back expressing my extreme disappointment in the change and the initial miscommunication which caused me to potentially lose other offers with higher salaries. I withdrew my acceptance on those grounds, but made it clear their program was my first choice and I was really sad about it. I’ll admit it was a pretty emotional email.

    They got back to me a month later increasing my salary up to $X. So I guess my advice is never assume salary isn’t negotiable and stress how much you do want the job.

  8. Anonymous just this once*

    I’d love to hear a story about negotiating during/after a promotion. When they say, “well, your raise this year will be X to reflect your new position,” is there room to say “actually I think y would be more fair?”

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Same. I’ve never negotiated after a promotion, mainly because I’ve only been technically promoted twice two employers ago, and each time I got 10% bumps, which were good for that industry.

    2. MsPantaloons*

      I don’t have one that exactly fits, but I think it might be relevant. I returned from part time work to full time at a company I had been at for about 3 years. During my time working PT (about 9 months) I had missed a round of salary reviews — not just COL / merit raises but actually doing new benchmarks for positions. My position has been skipped and when I returned to FT I was told it would be at my current rate (which hadn’t been rebenchmarked).

      I said that wasn’t fair to me—other positions in my department had been reviewed and, I believed, significantly raised (wish I had thought to ask around before this conversation so I had numbers!) My manager said that I had enjoyed a lot of perks—various flexible schedules and then the PT arrangement while I pursued personal projects. I said that I understood and was grateful, but that my pay rate needed to reflect the work I was actually doing *now*, not the status or schedule I had in the past. She said she would take it to HR but didn’t know what would happen.

      The conversation was honestly pretty tense and I was on the verge of tears. However, I knew I was the highest performer (by a lot) and could lean on that. Plus the worst that could happen was that they would keep my current rate and I’d start job hunting.

      They came back and said they would re-benchmark my role, and I think I ended up getting about a $10k raise as a result—which really reflected how underpaid I had been! It was very unpleasant in the moment but I ended up being very glad that I had stuck to my guns.

    3. JanetM*

      I work for a public university, so our raises are essentially set by the state government.

      However, when I was moved from an admin assistant position to a project management position (initially as a temporary assignment), I read through the formal job descriptions at different levels, and asked for and received a four-step promotion from Administrative Support Assistant 3 to Administrative Coordinator 1, and concomitant pay increase. I did not ask for an additional bump when the position was made permanent as a Coordinator 1.

    4. XtinaLyn*

      How about during a review for a team member? My boss needs to review and approve all reviews I give to my team. We have mid-year reviews (where raises aren’t a thing) and end-of-year reviews where raises are traditionally 2% – 5%. For the mid-year review, I advocated hard for my newest staff member to get a raise. Boss said it wasn’t in the budget. I said he needed to review his budget and find her raise. He reduced our toner budget and agreed to 4%. She was happily surprised, and that went a long way in boosting morale.

      1. AngryOwl*

        I had a boss advocate for me once and it was awesome. They offered me the promotion/raise and I was happy with it (early on in my career). Then the next day she called me in and said she’d been looking at pay across the board and felt what they offered wasn’t enough. I think I got another $5k bump or around there.

        1. thankful*

          +1. OldBoss left for a different job and I was truly thrilled. He was a nice human, but was one of those “my way is THE way and questioning me is insubordination” type of people. My colleague (CurrentBoss) served as the interim lead of our team for a few months before he was promoted.

          A month after he was made interim, CurrentBoss told me that he had advocated for a 6% mid-year raise for me, including retroactive pay starting the day OldBoss left. My position over the years had grown from admin support to project coordination and had only gotten COL adjustments and no update with HR. Fast forward five months to review time, where he advocated for me to get another 3% raise and is actively working with HR to process a promotion.

          I’m a very mission-driven person when it comes to finding a place to work. It’s truly wild to me how the difference between loving and hating your job is heavily influenced by the boss.

    5. Also going anonymous this time*

      I have a messed up one with that! I got a big title promotion this year with a 5% increase…well I was expecting 10% (two previous raises at this place at 10 and 15%). I was initially told by my grandboss, with whom I have a good relationship and I called it “pathetic;” later when I talked to my boss she said she had put down 8% for me…

    6. Zombeyonce*

      There’s definitely room to ask for more! I did that but sadly wasn’t able to make it happen exactly as I wanted. My boss really went to bat for me but HR wasn’t having it (their excuse was that I had gotten a pay raise earlier in the year, which was the one mandated by my union’s contract). The minimum raise for a promotion was 4% or the bottom of the new salary band (whichever was higher) and my boss tried to get 5%. I ended up getting 4.5% after all was said and done. It wasn’t a huge raise, but I was already in the range of the new position w/my old salary.

      My reasoning was that I had already been doing the work of the new position for over 6 months and they wouldn’t make any raise retroactive, so asking for more made sense. If you have a good enough reason, you should definitely ask.

    7. Fibchopkin*

      I just got a promotion at the beginning of this year and negotiated from a 12% pay increase to a %20, but a part of that negotiation centered around the fact that I had a new offer on the table, and there is some backstory that contributed, so I’m not sure if my story will be super helpful, but here it is: (The backstory is a bit long, so I separated it into three paragraphs. Skip to the last paragraph if you just want to read about the salary negotiation in conjunction with the promotion)

      A year ago or so, my organization was experiencing some turnover and some issues surrounding our out-of-date work place culture. We’ve been expanding pretty rapidly lately, and one of our senior team, let’s call them the “Teapot Convention Director,” had difficulty adjusting to the changes and did not handle the org’s growing pains particularly well. During that time, I polished up my resume and submitted for a number of different jobs. I wasn’t dying to get out or anything, but the workplace was stressful enough that I wanted to see if there were better options out there. A few months into my admittedly low-key job search, our truly amazing C-Suite put their heads together and led the org in a number of changes including bringing in an outside consulting firm to help us and the board establish a new strategic plan, new staff values, and updated goals. New values were established, the Teapot Convention Director was put on a PIP and after 2 months was let go, and a Values Committee was formed to help keep us on track and to take part in in new-hire orientation. Things began getting better, and I felt comfortable and stable enough that I declined the small handful of preliminary interviews I’d scheduled and canceled the second interview I’d managed to snag with another org in my industry. I turned off the blinking “Open for Job Options” light on LinkedIn and all the job sites I’d been trolling, and moved on with life. As the beginning of 2019 rolled closer, I, along with 3 other colleagues, threw my hat in the ring for a new senior management position opening up in my department, which was a promotion of one grade up for me, and I put together a freaking amazing pitch presentation (if I do say so myself) for my plans for the role and for the first big project that it would tackle. I knew that one of my other coworkers in another department had done an equally amazing presentation though, and has very similar qualities and background to mine.

      The morning before we ultimately found out who got the promotion, the org that I’d had the second interview scheduled with contacted me and told me that they had been thinking of that cancelled second interview as more of a formality that would almost certainly end with a job offer, that they were really disappointed when I’d withdrawn, and that they had not been able to find any candidates that matched my particular skill set. They asked if I’d reconsider the job, and offered me the top of the salary range for the position, which was a significant step up from my current salary. I asked for 2 days to think about it, and headed into work.

      The next day, my grandboss, one of the C-suite, called me into her office and happily told me that she would like to offer me the promotion and outlined the offered salary increase, reiterated the new title, and outlined the specific job duties. The salary increase was, as I mentioned above, 12% more than my current salary, but was still about 20% less than the new offer. I was honest with grandboss and told her that although I had not been actively job searching, something had just fallen into my lap and I had a job offer from another org on the table. I told her I knew that our org wasn’t in a position to bump the salary enough to offer the same, but that I would like to discuss increasing my raise from 12% to 25%. I told her that it was my preference to stay with our current org and take the promotion because I love our mission, am loathe to begin all over again racking up vacation days, contribution matching levels, etc. and am excited about the challenges offered in the new position, but that I felt a 25% increase in salary was fair because a) our org pays just a smidge below the median salary for my line of work in my region; b) in the time I spent in my old position I had generated a significant amount of increased Teapot Convention attendance, registration, and revenue compared to my predecessor, and c) while in my old position, I had earned a graduate degree expressly focused on my work and which contributes significantly to my ability to take this new position and really knock it out of the park. Grandboss said she completely understood where I was coming from, and countered by offering me a 15% raise. I told her that, to make it really make sense for my family and I not to take the new offer (which also included guaranteed 2-3 WFH days per week), I would need my org to offer me at least a 20% raise with the promotion, along with the usual, annual, merit-based raises and bonuses. She asked for 24 hours to talk it over with the rest of the C-Suite, and before the day was even out, she called me in again to let me know that they were happy to offer me the 20% raise with no new conditions or limits placed on the usual merit-based raises and bonuses we typically get considered for once per year.

    8. Nym*

      Last year I was in your position, I got offered a 25% raise to reflect a significant growth in responsibilities, I negotiated it up to a 40% raise. I got there by reflecting on my accomplishments and responsibilities, but I had the huge advantage of coworker salary information, which meant I knew multiple less competent coworkers got the salary I pushed for.

      In my case the basic argument was “I appreciate you offering X+25%, but my type of responsibility typically earns X+100% because it’s a role typically taken on by people with much more experience. Considering my lack of experience I still consider X+40% appropriate since you do ask me to perform the work and hold me responsible for the result.”

      There’s certainly room for this type of argument when you’re either given a shot at a role you lack experience in, or when you are very experienced for your role – just focus on the advantageous part.

    9. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      I just posted one below. There’s definitely room to say, “Based on my research, the appropriate compensation for the new role is $Y.” You might add, “That’s what you’d expect to pay someone hired from outside the company, and I have the additional benefit of company knowledge.” Glassdoor and informal conversations with colleagues are your friends here!

    10. Kate*

      I did this fairly recently, but it will probably be different circumstances.

      I was promoted from an hourly administrative role to a salaried, operational role. The promotion occured around the time of annual raises, and I’d received an excellent review, so my annual raise should have been 5%. However, the total offer for the promotion, with the merit increase, was only 11%, which I felt was unfair. I went back to my boss, who I was close with, and expressed that with the loss of overtime hours, I’d actually lose money by taking on a more advanced role. She checked with HR, and they agreed and came back with a 17% increase.

      It’s rare, and my boss hasn’t seen it happen before, but it gave me the confidence to actually ask in the future!

    11. MG*

      I negotiated a raise during a layoff period in 2009 at the height of the recession. My specialized position and several others had been eliminated, but replaced with new more general positions and I was encouraged to apply. There were less of these positions so those of us that were being let go knew that not all would be retained and those that were, would be picking up the slack and doing a lot more. When I was offered one of the new positions I simply asked “Does the increase in responsibility come with an increase in pay?” The HR person was caught off guard and responded with something along the lines of “No, but not everyone in your department is getting this offer so we’re happy you get to stay on the team.” 2 weeks later I get a call from the same HR person, saying they discussed my compensation request and let me know I was getting a 5% increase effective from the date I was changed over and it would be reflected on my next paycheck in a few days. This was right before the annual COL increases so it benefited me nicely for that too.

    12. MCMonkeyBean*

      My first time negotiating was a move to another team that was technically a lateral move but my boss knew I was being underpaid and they were excited to put me on the new team, so I asked if there was any chance of increasing salary with the move and he said he had already talked to HR about it. They gave me what my new salary would be, and mostly because I had never negotiated before and wanted to get comfortable with it, I asked for an increase of less than $1,000 which would bring the total to a round number and they agreed :)

  9. recent jobsearcher*

    I am by no means an expert, but in my most recent job search the HR person actually asked me about my preferred range during my phone screen and, knowing not to be the first to name a number, I told her that I didn’t know enough about the benefits, etc. to really know but could she tell me their range? She said sure, it’s low to mid $X0k, and I said that should be fine. As I continued on with the process I thought of a number above that that I could ask for ($X8k) that would likely get rebuffed but might mean that their counter offer was higher, and I thought of a number that would be my absolute minimum. I ended up kind of being surprised by the offer, so when the HR person offered me $X0k on the phone I just said “Oh. I was hoping for $X5.” She said she’d go back to my boss to ask, but said “would you be ok with $X2.5 or $X3?” and I just said “I was hoping for $X5”. Later they offered me $X4 which I accepted. I was kind of kicking myself after the fact for not being more rigid but like..I still got $4k more than initially offered so I’m going to call that a success.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      The way they were negotiating, I think you really capped out what they were going to give you, since you countered again and they still went slightly lower. So I wouldn’t kick yourself too much, you did really well, a lot of people get spooked after a counter offer.

    2. Just Jess*

      I have $5K as an easily achievable bump in my mind, but your story of initial offer + $8K and someone above reaching initial offer + $15K are leading me to believe that I should go with initial offer + $8K – $13K. I do make nearly twice as much as I did six years ago.

  10. Spreadsheets and Books*

    For my current job, I was thrilled to get the offer but I deeply wanted to get over the six figure mark and they offered me just barely under that. I responded to the offer requesting a few thousand more and my HR contact said she would be happy to ask as long as I was definitely agreeing to the offer and the start date outlined in the letter if she was able to make that happen.

    As it turns out, the offer was firm (which I’m fine with – it means I didn’t leave money on the table) but she was able to secure me a signing bonus that was triple the increase I asked for! The standard COL adjustment for next year will tip me over that edge and with my bonus, I’m right where I want to be. I’m thrilled I spoke up – it was so easy!

    1. Spreadsheets and Books*

      I want to clarify that this role was a title bump for me and a move to a better company, so I would have taken it regardless. Even the base they offered me was a 20% increase over my previous salary. I absolutely would have been fine with what was offered but I’ve now learned from AAM that it never hurts to ask and negotiation is always to your benefit. I’ve only been our of grad school for around 5 years so I’m proud I’ve been able to get so far and advocate for myself so well.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Congratulations! I too just moved to a much larger company in a better paying field (tech), and my new base salary is about 27% more than my last base salary (with guaranteed bonuses at my last job factored in, I earned well over what the current job initially offered me). My new title is actually lower than what my old one was, but this is still a lateral move because my last company had inflated titles. But like you, even if this company had stood firm by their original offer, I still would have taken it because I get to work from home full time and my benefits and time off are way better than what I got from my last company.

        1. Spreadsheets and Books*

          Thanks! Congrats to you as well. I was underpaid at my last job but the title bump is what mattered most to me. Where I am in my career, once you get past about four years without moving up, it begins to look a little red flaggy. This gave me the title I wanted at a better company with more money so I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been here around 10 weeks and it’s wonderful.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Ah, that makes sense. I was also wildly underpaid at my last job for my title (that’s what happens when companies inflate job titles), so I didn’t really care what my title was this time around as long as I got more money! Lol

  11. Arya Snark*

    I had been in the same job for a long time and while I had been receiving very minor COL increases, I hadn’t gotten anything beyond that though I had taken on much more responsibility. Mind you, this was in an Ops role for an investment company during a significant economic downturn – we were all being asked to do more with less. Had a boss at the time who told me it wasn’t in the budget but I really thought he didn’t want to push for it above him. Got a new boss (though Old Boss was now Grand Boss) and scheduled a meeting. I brought in a printout of 2 years worth of net pay amounts showing no movement (the COLs barely covered tax increases), solid data for my market salary (I was way below), a pretty massive list of the additional things I had taken on during that same period and copies of my stellar reviews. I asked for more (I don’t recall the exact amount) and a title change (asked to have senior added to my title). I didn’t get the title change but I got a 15% raise.

  12. Lovecraft Beauty*

    The application for the job I’m about to start included a “salary requirements” field. I put an honest, market rate range (significantly more than I made in my previous job, because I have only received cost-of-living adjustments for the past few years, and my experience makes me a lot more valuable now). During the interview process, I used Alison’s script for “before we go further, I want to make sure we’re on the same page about compensation.” They didn’t want to disclose the range on their end (this is regrettably standard for my field), but they did confirm that the salary requirements in my application were accurate on my end and in their ballpark, so I decided to keep going. I went through the interview process, and when they called to make an offer, it was for a little over the bottom of my range. I told them I was excited about the possibility of working with them, but I’d been hoping to be more in the middle of the range I named, and I’d like relocation assistance. They came back a week later with a couple thousand dollars salary bump, which got me almost to the exact middle of the range, and a one-time signing bonus. I’m starting in a few weeks.

  13. facepalm*

    Not a negotiation per se, but I applied for a new job and started that my desired salary was X. Two days later I had an offer for X, no lowballing or negotiations, which is a THIRTY PERCENT raise from what I currently make! I start in a week!

  14. Fortitude Jones*

    I’ll repost my comment from last week:

    The company I now work for offered me a base salary of $59k with additionally quarterly bonuses up to $12k for a total of $71k, and I told them I had an offer for another company that was $80k and asked if they could at least meet that. I knew after my phone screen with HR that my current company only budgeted up to $75k for the role, but I was hoping that if they liked me enough and thought I could perform at the level they need, maybe they would be willing to come up a bit. They asked me what my absolute base salary requirement would be, and I said $70k because I wanted to leave room for small increases during yearly salary reviews – my new position isn’t really one where there’s a next step for me to be promoted to, so I know I’ll be in it for a while (hopefully many years). I didn’t want to go for the whole $75k and cap myself – I’m incentivized by money to perform at at a high level. (Not getting raises every year when my workload increases and my output improves would be demoralizing to me, and it would be my own doing. I understand others would have taken the whole $75k upfront, and that’s fine – different strokes and all.)

    Anyway, I expected that they would come back and negotiate me down to around $65k, but not even an hour and a half after my phone call with the HR rep where we discussed this, she sent me an email and cc’d management on it confirming my offer of $70k base with the $12k quarterly bonus potential. I was stunned – I thought for sure we’d be going back and forth on this, but they just said, “Okay, done.” They even gave me five extra vacation days. I was so beyond grateful that they did this, and it definitely started my working relationship off with them on an excellent foot.

    ***To add to this comment, I’m a black woman in her early thirties who has spent her entire career being drastically underpaid in comparison to my peers. I appreciate that when I negotiated, not only did I get everything I asked for (salary and increased vacation time), but no one seems to have viewed me negatively for doing so. My boss, grandboss, and dotted line manager have all consistently stated how glad they are I’m on the team, and grandboss has even relayed C-level feedback to me on my work that is very enthusiastic, so we’re all happy right now. (This addendum was included as this site often talks about how women, and especially women of color, either don’t negotiate or get punished when they do.)

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Thank you! I am! Lol. I only ever negotiated at my last job (I got $2k less than what I asked for, but the company came up $5k from their stated top of the range for the role) and completely forgot to negotiate for more vacation time as well, so I’m glad I remembered to negotiate for both this time, lol.

    1. Joan Holloway Harris*

      Good for you, get that money!! I’m a WOC and actually planning to ask for a raise today so this made me feel great. Congrats!

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Thank you! And good luck to you! I hope it turns out well – let us know what your script was so I can steal it the next time I want to ask for a raise, lol.

    2. Sandman*

      This is the kind of story I need to hear. So encouraging, and I’m so glad for you.

    3. SunnyD*

      I’m thrilled for you. Based on your comments here, they were wise to recognize your value!

      But extra great that you didn’t get a gendered/racial penalty for speaking up.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Thank you! Yes, my entire hiring process was done blind, meaning they never saw me – since my whole team is spread across the globe, I phone interviewed with my manager, dotted line manager, and my grandboss. Sure, from my resume and my voice they could tell I am a woman, but I really think the way they conducted the process/themselves kept them from letting unconscious bias dictate who they hired.

  15. JBPL*

    I was asking for a pretty significant raise two years ago, and in the library world we have access to what EVERYONE makes. So I did comparisons with other libraries in my state based on 5 different factors (libraries similar in hours open, in municipal population, in service population, in circulation, and in number of branches) as well as the other libraries in our area. I included job descriptions for ones that were paid more than myself and less than myself; during my review I discussed what my job responsibilities are and why they’re so much more than my job description shows- it’s expanded drastically in the last 5 years. I also included the salary my predecessor was making when he (perhaps significantly male, while I’m female) retired 4 years previously- roughly 7% higher than I was making. And my board agreed with my assessment- that I was being underpaid by roughly 20%, but they couldn’t afford to give me everything (I knew that). So they found the 7% to get me to where my predecessor was and we laid out a plan to rectify things over the next few years.

    So good news: I’m moving closer to what I, in this position, am worth. Bad news: I’m in charge of the budget, so I have to find the money for my own raises and it makes me feel guilty because it seems to always have to be at the expense of something else the library also needs.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Oh dang – that is quite the conundrum. But your level of research was impressive, so I’m glad you at least got the 7%.

  16. Lauren D*

    I’ve negotiated salary successfully 3 times:

    The first one was when I was hired full time from an internship. They offered me a salary equivalent to the same hourly rate I had been making as an intern. I pointed out that I’d be taking home less money if I used the benefits they were offering, so they raised it to cover the cost of benefits. It was a small amount (maybe $5k/year)

    The second time was at that same job. I had been recruited by an old colleague for a new job and got an offer for about $20,000 more than I was making (about a 30% raise, but the commute would have been awful). I went to my boss and said that I had this offer, I didn’t want to leave, but it would be very hard not to without them matching the salary offer. They did match it (which suggests I should have negotiated more with the initial offer).

    The most recent time was leaving that job for my current job. They offered me about a $7000 bump from my previous salary, but I had done my research and that would have put me below median for my experience level. I countered with the median number (another $5000), citing my experience in areas they were specifically lacking. The co-founder pushed back on my counter (“It’s not just about the money, is it?”) but I was firm that I was bringing expertise they were currently missing and I deserved to be at the median salary. They agreed and I joined the team.

    1. Lauren D*

      For additional context- I am a women in a technical field that is predominantly men. All of my managers I negotiated with were men. No one ever held the negotiations against me.

    2. Spreadsheets and Books*

      I used the same logic in an internship to full time conversion. I pointed out that while our other offices rarely worked more than 40 hours, we routinely were around for 50+ and losing out on OT when moving from hourly to salary would actually result in a lower wage. They gave me an extra $3K, and I came out $2K ahead.

      It was still an abysmal wage but I used grad school to pivot away from my ill-advised English BA so it was well worth it to me to get my foot in the door upon graduation.

    3. Lauren*

      “It’s not just about the money, is it?”
      Um, yes. I don’t work for love; I work for money.

    4. Shamy*

      Can I just say I am so impressed you negotiated that first position from an internship? I am assuming it was one of your first jobs, apologies if I am wrong on that one. But that is amazing that you got them to give you a raise your first attempt!

    5. AngryOwl*

      I got the “it’s about the mission, not the money!” at the last startup I was at and it was so demoralizing. I’m glad they worked with you and your’e happy there!

    6. Enginear*

      Wow. Same pay for an entry level role as when you were an intern?! Heck no from me lol. That $20k pay match was a tell-tale sign they lowballed you big time lol. But, everything happens for a reason and glad it all worked out in the end!

  17. Kat the Russian (France)*

    French success story here! I’m a computer engineer.
    During my yearly review last December, I went in prepared with a list of all the aditionnal tasks I was now doing on top of what I had been doing the previous year. I went over all of this with my N+2.
    During our yearly review, they always ask us about compensation, so I just said that I thought my compensation should go up.
    I’d researched previously what I was making and talked pretty candidly with my colleagues about salary (tanks for the confidence to do that Alison!) and how much I thought I was worth. I went in planning to ask for 43 000€ up from 38 500€ – so a 12% raise.
    When the time came to name a number, I sorta kinda chickened out and asked for 42 000€ (9% raise).
    BUT, the good news is, when my N+2 heard me out, he looked at me and told me that he thought that was about right, and that he’d speak to our salary committee to try and push it though. My company’s salary decisions are notoriously opaque and eyeryone complains about them, so I was pretty discouraged waiting for their decision.

    I got 41000€, so a 6.5% raise. I also got a one-time performance bonus (bonuses are NOT DONE over here). This is very good compared to my peers and shows that they value my contributions, so I’m happy!

    Most of all, I was amazed at how easy it was. It really is all about if you think you’re worth it. No need to feel guilty for wanting to be compensated fairly, and sometimes (most of the time?) just asking will get you a long way toward what you want.

    1. Gambetta*

      Is it your industry or company that doesn’t do bonuses? (I also work in France and we get performance bonuses yearly, but I’ve only ever worked for this one employer so I’m not sure if it’s common or not)

      1. Kat the Russian (France)*

        I get the feeling that in my industry there’s a lot less bonuses than in other industries, but also my company is notoriously bad at them! However, they do make up for it in other ways, so for now I’m staying. This is also the only IT company I’ve ever worked for (switched over from academia, a whole ‘nother can of worms there), so I can’t say for certain.

  18. Miss May*

    I was working part time (3 days/week). They needed me to go full time, and wanted me to do more duties. It was also the same time as my yearly raise. When I saw the packet, they had only offered me what I would get for a yearly raise, nothing more. So when I sat down with HR to sign my contract I told them, “I’ll do this but for $3.50/hr more.” HR said they’d get back to me and a day later they said yes.

    I’m still kicking myself because I talked /myself/ down from asking for $5/hr more, thinking they’d think it was too much. But since HR just said yes, it was clearly within their range.

    Know your worth people!

  19. RG*

    So, after being under/funemployed for about a year, I got an offer for a job at my current company. I’d always thought they were kind of cool in terms of the work they did. I just wanted to start at $75k rather than $70k. So, I took the requisite day or so to look over the offer and then scheduled a call with them to discuss. Now, part of this call was to go over the benefits package, which exceeded my expectations, but like I said, I wanted more money. So, at the end of the call I said that everything looked great and I’m excited at the opportunity to work for them, but I’d prefer to start at $75k if possible. The HR person said she wasn’t sure what she could offer on the spot but she would get back with me. I heard back the next day that while they couldn’t give me $75k, they could give me a signing bonus of sorts for $2.5k after my 90 days was up. First time negotiating so I consider that a win.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I did something similar when I first started my current job. When reviewing the offer with my hiring manager, I said I thought the salary offer should be a little higher to reflect the degree as well as the experience. I didn’t have a number in mind since I had no idea what the range was, as there were fewer ways to figure that out back then. I also didn’t have a competing offer to leverage (he asked), but he took it to HR and came back with an extra $2k just for asking.

  20. Paralegal Part Deux*

    When I was job searching, my boss found out about it. I told him that jobs with my level of experience and education were paying $X and that is like to make $X. They came back and said while they could go up to $Y (still an almost 50% increase), they could offer me 25 days of vacation/sick days per year. I took it and was happy with it. Most law firms where I’m at only offer 10 days of vacation and 5 of sick days.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Yeah, that was all I got at my last company (not a law firm). I have chronic illnesses, one of which messes with my stomach and is still undiagnosed, so five days of sick time became absolutely unworkable for me. My new company gives 10 sick days per year that roll over with no accrual cap and I negotiated five extra vacation days to land at 15 per year (unused time rolls over, but you can only bank 15 at a time, so you have to take leave to continue accruing days).

      1. Paralegal Part Deux*

        I have several chronic illnesses (Hashimoto’s, asthma, celiac, migraines, etc.) and five days just aren’t enough when you have stuff like that. It’s fine for healthy people, but it’s not for people with a chronic illness given we never know when the next bout of issues decides to read its ugly head.

        The days here don’t roll over,but I’m okay with that, too. Not sure what the answer would be if I asked, either, since two attorneys are “use it or lose it” believers while my attorney is fine with roll over.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Hi, fellow celiac sufferer! Lol, I don’t know why I get so excited when I meet other people in the same boat as me. Anyway, I think if your attorney is okay with rollover, if you don’t have a time keeping system that you have to update (my last job didn’t for salaried employees – our president’s executive assistant kept track of our time off), you may be able to ask your attorney if it’s okay and the attorney might let you.

          1. Paralegal Part Deux*

            It’s because it’s nice that meet somebody who knows what it’s like to feel like you do, I think. Because I always do the same thing when I meet somebody with it.

            I may ask. What’s the worst he can say, right?

            1. Fortitude Jones*

              Exactly! That’s how we were able to successfully negotiate in the first place, so keep that mindset.

  21. 5 month mommy*

    I just negotiated a raise! I asked for a $15,000 increase for my promotion at a company that has not given raises (even cost-of-living raises) in over 10 years (the company is struggling and has had major layoffs but is on the upswing this past year). My job had doubled and I was already doing the work of the promotion, which had been discussed over almost a year at that point. They offered me $8,000 and it seemed clear that I was not going to get any more.

    I told them I would think about it, and then next day wrote a succinct but detailed email about the job I was hired to do vs. the job I was actually doing. I ended with sentence about the approximate median salary for the job I was doing being that $15,000 more amount, for which I relied on the Ask a Manager salary grid.

    I expected them to hold firm, but instead they came back with $62,000. I felt really heard and proud of myself for presenting a detailed argument! Part of this discussion also took place while I was on maternity leave, which made me feel particularly valued for my contributions.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Probably the one we did a month or so back where you answered a poll about what industry you’re in, what your title is, years in field, education level, salary, etc. It ended up in a searchable Excel spreadsheet I believe.

  22. Syfygeek*

    I was making x at Old Job. It was underpaid, but I knew that going in. After 3 years, I interviewed at Shiny New Job. Shiny New Boss interviewed me, and said job paid x+8k but he was going to shoot for x+11k.

    I said I could work for x+8k, but I would absolutely be worth x+11k. When he sent me the job offer, it was x+12k. I took a job closer to home (about 15 minutes) for 12k more a year. Before reading AAM, when he offered x+8k, I probably would have done something stupid, like tell him that was fine, no need to try for anymore. I would never had said I was worth more.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Good for you finding the confidence to advocate for yourself like that. I too credit Alison’s scripts for getting what I asked for, especially the part about asking and then “stop talking,” because I’m a very rambly person when I’m nervous and I’m super blunt too, so without that advice to be short and to the point and then shut up, I probably would have shot myself in the foot when asking for a higher salary.

      1. TechWorker*

        Urgh I totally should have taken that advice today.. I was asked about my salary expectations and said ‘x’ because that’s what the recruiter mentioned, and then tried to justify it in a probably rambly way… x would be an increase but after commute cost and losing out on guaranteed shares I have at my current place I reckon I’d about break even. I definitely should have shot higher to allow for negotiation room!

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Is there a way to go back and ask for a slight bump, or would that look like negotiating in bad faith?

  23. Friday Nights*

    Tenure track job offer – my first one. This was at a public university where all salaries over a threshold are disclosed.
    The chair called me with the offer (Both X salary and Y startup funds), and I said I’d like to think about it. I went online, and pulled the salary disclosures for the past 5 years and did some analysis on them (I looked at people in the second year of my job and categorized them by field, and then adjusted by the published faculty associations cost of living and year over year experience increases). I had a back-up job offer that had come in at the same time.

    They had put me in the lower end of what they would offer any one with that job title, and below what they had hired anyone in my technical research area at in the last 5 years. Incidentally (or not incidentally) there is a male/female salary disparity happening at that school which correlates to fields of research. I wasn’t going to get into that.

    In the call back I asked for 1.4*X salary, and 2*Y startup. I reminded them that in addition to my PhD I had a professional certification that made me valuable for supervising and certifying students in their professional programs and that my research indicated an typical range of salaries between 1.05X and 1.45X. They came back and offered me 1.22X salary and 2*Y startup.

    I should have asked for more start up.

    1. BethDH*

      I was just coming here to ask for people’s experiences negotiating in higher ed/academia! Thank you for sharing, especially for how you did the calculations.

      If you do end up checking in on the comments and you don’t mind a prying question — do you think you would have asked for the same rates if you hadn’t had a back-up offer?

      1. Friday Nights*

        I probably would have been a little more moderate without the back up offer (1.3X rather than 1.4X) but I still would have asked for above the mean. It helped that:

        1) The people holding the purse strings aren’t the people that I was going to be working with – IE I wasn’t taking money from some departmental budget, but rather a pot of money that the university had allocated to new hires and;

        2) The people who matter (ie the search committee of people with an interest in the departmental hire) had made it very clear they wanted me so an overreach wasn’t likely to result in a rescinded offer.

        That said, I’m glad I hadn’t read this before hand :
        (Page 14-15 Paragraph 53-55) describing a budget negotiation that sounds awful

      2. College Career Counselor*

        My experiences in higher ed have been mixed in terms of negotiating more salary.

        First Job where I negotiated was moving into career services from a different higher ed division, and I asked if they could do $1k (this was 20 years ago) more to get me up to $x0,000. They said, “yes,” and also indicated that they thought it was important that I’d done so, because “someone in a career services advising role should be able to practice what they preach to students.” I consider this a win because a) I had never negotiated before, and b) this institution was notoriously low on salaries (I was only making $5k more than my starting salary when I left 8 years later).

        The next job was at a new institution and in a director role, which was a step up from where I was. They offered me a salary 55% higher than what I was making at First Job (I wasn’t kidding about being underpaid!), and I still negotiated another 5%. I am unlikely ever again to match that percentage increase.

        For my current job, I attempted to negotiate and was told, “nope, this is the best we can do, and we feel that the salary is market value.” I accepted for three reasons:
        a) they were pretty much correct
        b) this was still during the Great Recession
        c) I had been interviewing for 7 months, and this position was in my wheelhouse.

        I also agree with The Artist Formerly Known As Anon2: the best negotiating platform you will ever have is when you are changing employers and are coming in as their first choice.

        1. BethDH*

          I’m glad to hear that even when the answer was no, it didn’t hurt your offer or your relationships there. I think that’s my biggest fear with negotiating in academia, mainly because there have been some horror stories and the market is so competitive already.

    2. Krickets*

      Thanks to all of you for sharing your higher ed/public university salary stories! I am learning a lot from it and have been applying to one because it’s one of the area’s largest and most prominent employers.

    3. Reliquary*

      Chiming in with my own higher ed negotiating experience.

      Job 1: a VAP at a state university. The salary was non-negotiable.
      Job 2: TT in the same department. Salary offer was contingent upon confirmation of PhD in hand, and I was at a disadvantage because the job started in August, and my defense was scheduled in September. My queries about possible salary negotiation were halted by the department chair (who I trusted). So it was two months after starting that my salary went up to reflect the earned PhD.
      Job 2: Just after my third year review was completed, it was COL/merit raise discussion time. I told my chair that I didn’t want to negotiate about salary, as long as there was gender parity. (A man was hired two years after I was, also TT, but in a highly desirable area of specialization, and I wanted to make sure I was paid as much as he was getting.) I got a 3K raise, and my chair told me later that the dean was convinced by an argument about gender parity and salary compression. I was very happy about this, not just because of the immediate increase, but because the next year there was a salary freeze, and three years later when I went up for tenure, the tenure salary bump was on top of the better salary.
      Job 3: I received an offer from a university in a much higher COL area, but the job was TT rather than tenured, so I would have a reduced rank, and have to re-earn tenure. The salary was just over what I was already making, but would not be sufficient for life in the higher COL city. I asked the chair of the hiring department to ask the dean for the COL equivalent to my current salary. The chair came back with an offer 3.5K less than I had asked. I asked the chair to go back to the dean to push for the +3.5k . The dean agreed. I think the reason I was able to hold firm on this is because I already had a tenured position.
      PS I’m tenured at Job 3 now, with yearly COL and merit raises, and a very nice tenure salary bump as well.

      1. BethDH*

        Thanks for explaining how this worked at different career points. I think the gender parity example would probably useful at a lot of institutions that don’t negotiate otherwise!

  24. MB*

    I was interviewing with a few other companies but honestly wasn’t very optimistic about my chances with any of them before my offer came in. I had informed the hiring manager that I was in other interviews though, so when the offer came in, I responded with “As I mentioned last week, I am still in talks with company X. However, if you are willing to up the salary to X+4k, I will sign your offer today.” The modified offer came back withing 20 minutes with the higher salary pasted in. Probably could have gotten another thousand out of it but oh well.

  25. IEanon*

    Mine was a bit complicated. I was offered an in-person interview that I turned down due to the low salary range. I was truly bummed, because it was an opportunity I was really excited about. They called me back a MONTH later to let me know that they had increased the range for the position so that I would continue with the process!

    I ended up taking the position and just negotiated another 10% bump over the next two years.

    1. CR*

      That’s a great success story – the company must have realized they were undervaluing the position, which doesn’t happen very often!

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Exactly. That also says a lot about IEanon that they reached out a month later to continue the process – most places would just carry on.

  26. Existentialista*

    Last year my department was reorganized, and I was offered my the same role but with an expanded geography that included both North America and Europe. Management had been very vocal about the fact that there was not a budget for salary increases and that wasn’t the intention of this restructure, but I figured, you gotta ask, so I inquired whether there was any flexibility on salary, given the additional responsibilities of the new role.

    And, because past experience had shown that sometimes new titles are easier for companies to give and would still help my resume, I asked if there was any flexibility on the title, maybe adding the word “Senior”.

    I completely figured they would say no to the salary increase but yes to the title, which they could after all give me for free, but exactly the opposite happened. It turns out it’s very complicated and difficult to change the title of my new position, so as a compromise they offered me 5% additional salary. Okay!

  27. AthenaC*

    I have two success stories – one more direct, one more accidental.


    I was working at a small public accounting firm where I had to pay over $7k out-of-pocket for family health insurance. So in my mind, my salary was X-$7k. I applied at a large firm where I fully expected that they have very firm salary bands. I even expected to take a pay cut from my technical gross salary of $X. When the recruiter for the large firm asked what I was getting paid, I told him the above caveats, and then I told him the actual number. He about fell off his chair and kinda panicked because there was no way they could match my salary of $X. I reiterated that I didn’t necessarily expect them to match $X, that I understood there were salary constraints and also better benefits and opportunities which are worthwhile to me, and I looked forward to reviewing the offer when received.

    I received the offer for about $X – $5k, and then he called me back a few hours later to let me know he would send an updated offer for about $1k more because of some mid-year market-based adjustment (sounded to me like he felt bad and found some loophole for me). Anyway – NOT what I was expecting and I kinda felt bad because he seemed so anxious about it, but I was straighforward with him, so also not my fault!

    The best part was that when I ran all the numbers, including the difference in health insurance (both premiums and reduction in out-of-pocket expense), and the tax impact of the health insurance (because employer-sponsored health insurance never hits your taxable income, but I had been paying out-of-pocket with after-tax money), the new job was actually a $7k RAISE even though my gross salary was lower.


    When I went to leave the big firm, I interviewed with a slightly-smaller-but-still-large firm, and we both decided pretty quickly we wanted to move forward. The recruiter asked me what I wanted for salary, and I said that since the state I would be moving to had higher state income taxes, I wanted an X% bump over my current salary to true up the difference. I got it. I accepted. I moved. I’m sitting here typing this from my desk at this job.

  28. Seifer*

    Oh man, these are so great! For me, from my last job to my current job, we did the math and I managed a 67% salary bump. And then just this previous year, I got the highest raise in the company.

    So the first one. I researched the hell out of my new position and was able to convert all my experience into relevant experience. Even my time at the restaurants. And when I was asked about salary, I told my soon-to-be boss, “now that I understand what the position entails, I wouldn’t be comfortable doing the work for less than $X/hour.” The VP was in the room and was like, “oh, we can do that easy!” Which of course made me want to be like, “did I say $X/hour? I must’ve had something in my throat *cough cough* I meant $Y/hour!” but I didn’t, ha! But I could’ve. Ah, past me.

    And then the second one, I blew expectations out of the water, especially because I was absolutely brand new to the position and the field. And I said yes to every new responsibility that was outside of my normal purview, but every time I told my boss that if this continues, we’ll need to discuss raising my pay. And so, a few months ago, he borrowed me for a closed door discussion and said, “okay, we’re raising your pay also you’re getting back pay for the past two months. Keep it up and we’ll revisit in six months!” Fortunately for me, my new boss was a former peer so we were able to have the discussion more casually, and I didn’t feel as… ballsy? Bringing that up to him every time. But I don’t know. Maybe that would work with a regular boss/direct report situation too.

      1. Enginear*

        I experienced an 85% pay bump going from an intern to a full-time entry level position. Life changing moment right there lol

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Wow! Where are you people working that these are your increases?! Lol! I need company names and addresses.

          1. Required Name*

            I got a 100% increase… but that was from grad student stipend in a low cost of living area to okay paying nonprofit in a very high cost of living place.

            I actually negotiated the salary too, they offered 65k + bonus based on fundraising or 75 with no bonus. I asked for 70 + bonus and got it, also got vacation from 2 weeks to 3. Moved to the high cost of living place and then asked for more because this market is different and my skills and education are just worth a lot more in a very high cost of living place. Manager gave me the raise grudgingly!

  29. Nonprofit job negotiation*

    I am in a field that typically is underpaid and requires one or more graduate degrees. My salaries at several positions with different organizations over the past 10 years has largely remained the same, which is pretty expected with most positions like mine. When I negotiated the offer package for my current position last year, I was asked what my salary expectations were. I calculated a range based on what I felt was appropriate for my 10 years of experience if I had been receiving normal COL increases and merit raises throughout that time and stated that. The lower end of my range was what I hoped to receive, while the higher end of the range was $15k more than that.

    The salary range I gave actually was double what I had been making at most of my jobs, so I was nervous about what the reaction would be. However, I knew that the hiring manager liked me, that I was a great fit for the ambitious project they were hiring for, and that the organization had better funding that most of the other places I’d worked. I was friendly but firm, emphasized the unique skills and experience that would benefit the organization, and didn’t ramble, taking the time to let my offer just “sit” there and waited for the HR recruiter to respond.

    They initially responded by saying that the job classification the position was in didn’t support that high of a salary range, so they asked what my “walk away number” would be. I was worried at that point but said calmly that while I was very interested in the position, I currently had a permanent/stable job and wouldn’t be willing to leave that for less than the lower end of the range I gave. The recruiter paused again and said, “Okay, well, I know that the hiring manager is really excited about you, so I’m going to see if we can create a higher job classification that would meet your requirements.”

    They came back a couple days later, with an offer of a higher job ranking and that met my lower salary range number. I’m proud of how I stayed calm and poised, especially because this seemed important to do for my profession to make a point that these positions need to be better funded/supported.

    1. Allypopx*

      As someone really struggling with the salary constraints in nonprofits, this gives me a lot of hope. Congrats.

  30. I asked and received*

    This isn’t a salary negotiation story, but an ask for a raise story. I went to my boss and basically very simply said “I am not unhappy with the compensation that I’m receiving but I want to tell you that I think I’m worth more than I’m being paid and we should take a look at that.” He agreed, and 4 months later(things move kind of slowly sometimes) i had an 18.4% raise! I’m glad I didn’t ask for an exact amount or percent because I wouldn’t have shot that high. But he did and it felt amazing! I had also never asked for anything financial before at work and it was a lot of the stories here that made me even attempt it.

  31. PhillyRedhead*

    I was unemployed (having been laid off 4 months prior) and I was getting interviews, but no luck on offers. I finally got an offer, and it was $10K below what I had been making at the company that laid me off. I asked if there was any wiggle room on the salary, and was able to get another $5k added onto the offer.

  32. ElizabethJane*

    I don’t know if it’s a success story specifically but because of Ask A Manager now when I’m interviewing and I get the question of “What sort of salary are you looking for” or “What is your current salary” I can now say without hesitating “In order to make a move I’d need to make between $X and $Y” which is always $10-$20K over what I’m currently making and honestly that conversation has always gone well. It’s honestly super empowering to just give that sentence and then say nothing.

  33. MsPantaloons*

    My very first was not salary but scholarship! They offered about 50% of tuition as merit scholarship, I called and asked for $4k more, they gave me $2k. I couldn’t believe I had gotten $2k per year literally just by asking, and someone else wouldn’t have.

    My first position out of college I negotiated a $2/hr bump (about 10%)—noted that they wanted me to start immediately and basically said that there were other jobs i was in the interview process for that paid more, so I’d be more comfortable starting immediately at that rate.

    Most recently (just weeks ago!) I went through a slightly different version. The position had a rate and equity posted, so the conversation just worked differently. They asked me about requirements at the final interview—I said I had seen the posted compensation and it matched my range but I’d be more excited at (X+10%), but that honestly I cared more about the equity numbers and seeing the whole package. They ended up offering my higher salary request, a higher equity number, AND fully paid health and dental, so there was really nothing left to negotiate!

  34. SallyF*

    I took a job with a $4k/year salary cut to escape a toxic position. Two years into the new job, I put together a list of everything I did, broke it down by percentages of task type, (i.e, Project management, Administrative, Sales, etc.). I then researched salaries for the highest percentage category (Project Management) for my industry and region to find the median salary level. I determined I was making well below the median. I presented this information, neatly typed out, to my director in a private meeting. I explained I was looking for fair compensation for the duties I performed to match the industry/region but also assured him I was happy in my position regardless. I left all emotion out of it, was matter-of-fact, professional and pleasant during the conversation.
    He thanked me for the research, information and meeting and told me he’d see what he could do.
    Two weeks later he gave me a raise that more than made up for the 4K/year that I’d sacrificed in taking the position.
    He told my manager he’d been extremely impressed by my presentation.
    I approached it with the attitude that 1. You can’t get something if you don’t ask for it and 2. The worst that would happen was he’d say “Sorry, but no.”

    1. buttrue???*

      As I’ve told my children if you don’t ask it’s the same as getting a no so what do you have to lose.

  35. Tigger*

    I had my 9 month review in March. When we were going over all my accomplishments and how well I am transitioning into the role (I was trained by someone who retired in January who phoned it in and gave me the bare minimum of info I needed to do my job, so I bascially had to figure it out on my own) my boss made a point to me that this was not a financial review and that will happen at my one year anniversary. I asked if a raise conversation would be a part of that review and he told me no. When I asked why he told me that the CEO doesn’t believe in raises because someone doesn’t deserve more money just because they managed not to get fired for a year. There have been no raises in 3 + years. I shared my shock at this and made a point to let my boss know that I am worth more to the company today then I was on my first way and that is a bad practice. I then asked if the CEO had the same attitude about cost of living adjustments and my boss said yes. I pointed out that this is a HORRIBLE practice and that all employees are now losing buying power in the economy. My boss agreed.
    3 weeks ago I got called by the CEO (based in another country) who told me my points were sound and no one else in the 4 years of this policy had the guts to point this out. He then gave me a 7% raise and a benefit that is typically reserved for year 5 employees.
    Thank you for the knowledge and advice Alison! Before your blog I would have never have had the facts to present.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          He sure doesn’t sound like a smart guy with those salary practices. I’m guessing you’re the only one that got a raise and everyone else is still at their hiring salary and likely to move on.

    1. Tigger*

      I also think that being a young women in the industry that is male-dominated helped in this.

    2. MonteCristo85*

      That CEO is the weirdest combination of unreasonable and reasonable I’ve ever heard of.

      1. Tigger*

        He’s odd. When he was hired 4 years ago he made everyone in the company give a 30 presenation on why they should keep their jobs. He has mellowed out

    3. Fortitude Jones*

      CEO doesn’t believe in raises because someone doesn’t deserve more money just because they managed not to get fired for a year.

      Way to totally miss the point of raises, smh.

  36. Disguise*

    For the job I accepted two weeks ago they thankfully had a range listed. I’m pretty overqualified for the role but I was recently laid off so I don’t have the freedom of being picky right now. I was offered the bare minimum that was listed in the posting. I was a little shocked and a little insulted but I managed to get out a “I’m really excited about the offer but the salary is a little a lower than what I was hoping for. Is there any room on that?” The HR person asked for a moment to check and that they would call me right back and went from $57K to $62K.

    My first success wasn’t too long ago and was while I was temporarily reporting to my grand boss after my manager left. I was catching them up on what I had accomplished since I started (I was 1.5 years in at the time) which was a good natural segue into asking for a raise. Something like “I wanted to discuss my compensation. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot since I’ve started and my role has expanded. I’m hoping that we might be able to increase my salary to match my responsibilities?” I did have a number in mind and supporting information but I believe in the short ask and them be silent.

    1. Disguise*

      Forgot to add the numbers from the second paragraph. I was at $68K and asked for high $70s due to my research. I got $71K with a promise to go to $75K in 6 months (and they did). I have a hunch that one reason I was laid off though was because of my higher salary.

      1. Mr. Tyzik*

        When I was laid off, it was due to my salary. I was the highest paid person in my PM role.

  37. cmcinnyc*

    While I was out on maternity leave, the senior person I reported to left. When I returned, I had to basically find another job in the company on my own (they couldn’t fire me, legally, but they’d replaced the senior person and she’d brought her own admin, so I’d been replaced too). About 6 months later the whole company did a title re-org and my title got busted lower. My JOB didn’t change, but the salary range I was in sank, and left me at the top of it. I ended up falling way behind the salaries of everyone else at my company doing the same job. After yet another staff change, I ended up reporting to a newly-promoted senior person and lobbied to have my title changed a significant raise to go with it. He strung me along and dicked me around for weeks, coming up with more and more hoops for me to jump through. I went over his head to my grandboss and laid it out and said if I did not get a promotion and a raise I was going to investigate my next steps because I certainly felt my pregnancy screwed me financially for a decade. I got the promotion, I got a 10% raise, and I’ve gotten significant raises since that have me back in the range I should be. But I lost thousands o’ dollars over those years. I wish I had gotten in someone’s face earlier.

  38. animaniactoo*

    Previous job: 23 years ago, I was making $15/hr and had notified the owner of my company (very small company, owners were the only people that you could discuss pay rates with) that I wanted to talk to him about a raise. I hadn’t done my research on what I thought I should be making, just that I felt it should definitely be more. That meant I was totally unprepared when he called me into a meeting with a client to ask for information and as I was on my way out said “By the way, what were you thinking of?” “Uh. I’m not sure.” “Just give me a number.” “18” I blurted out. “Done.” he said. I definitely left the room with the feeling I had left money on the table. Yes, it was a huge raise – but I was aware that I was valuable to the company and his acceptance was SO quick – for a man who nickel and dimed people regularly, that it was clear that I could have asked for more and probably gotten it.

    Current job (I am within two weeks of my 20-year anniversary here), they had been my clients at the old job, I had a better general sense of what the role I was being hired for should pay and what I was willing to accept. I was freelancing for them while they were looking to bring me on board. It was a relatively informal conversation – the hiring manager told me I was being offered 3K under what I was looking for and I said that without health insurance benefits (that they did not yet offer, they were under 50 employees at that point) I needed the additional 3K. He said he’d talk to the owners. A couple of weeks later as the freelancing was more or less wrapping up, he asked again about my commitment to the $48k vs the $45k. I said that I couldn’t do it for the $45k because I would need to pay for my health insurance out of my own pocket, he nodded his head, went off to talk to the owners, came back and said okay.

  39. Ptarmigan*

    My story is a little odd. Early this year when raises typically come out, my boss was fired and we got a new boss. When one of my teammates asked him about raises, he gave us several contradictory answers (“oh that was already handled by the old boss” followed by “something happened last month and I’m looking into it”) and then we got a final answer from his boss, the Chief Glazing Officer telling us there were no such things as company-wide raises, no such process existed, and we had not been left out of anything.

    I was originally hired by a different woman, let’s say the Chief Teapot Quality Officer, who manages my internal customers group, and when she reached out to me to see how I was doing under the new regime, I suggested we have lunch offsite. At lunch, along with lots of other conversation, I told her that I love my job, but that my understanding (although, I said, I of course can’t know this for sure without actually getting a job) is that jobs doing what I do typically pay $15-20K more than I made, and as much as I didn’t want to look for another job, I also didn’t want to be stupid and hurt myself long-term. (I didn’t say this, but I had been looking for a new job on and off, and planned to resume full force after my vacation in two weeks.) I really soft-pedaled this as much as I could while still laying it out, because I didn’t think she would respond well to something that seemed like a demand or ultimatum. Her response was a literal hand-wave and, “The money part is easy to solve.”

    She got me a $20K raise (paid for by her part of the company), and she pushed hard so that I’d learn of it before my vacation (which ended up being the very day before my vacation). My new boss gave me another story full of lies about how it had come about (“I hadn’t looked at your salaries when I was answering the question about raises, but when I did, I found that you were underpaid…”). A few weeks after my vacation, I was moved back into the Quality group, so I no longer work for that weasel.

  40. nini*

    i (23, nonbinary but cis-passing AFAB) accepted a job in a technical support role at a university, while i was taking a break from my own education. i had done this sort of job as a student employee at my own university and naively thought i would be joining a large team of people doing the work, which is how it is most other places. it turned out to be just me and my direct boss, which made me even more underpaid than i thought i was. i was also a 9-month part-time employee trying to do enough work for two full-time people.

    my success story isn’t just one event because it took me meeting with my director every few months to make her aware of how desperately we need more man-hours, and then finally almost taking a similar job in another department in the university that paid much better but turned out to be even more disorganized than my current department. after i almost left, my director started working harder to get me the pay and title commensurate with the work i do (my title was “part-time teapot technician” when the work i did was “assistant manager of teapots production”; i was also making 40% less than i should have been when i started if the work had been what i was told it was; as it is i’m still underpaid but not nearly so wildly).

    eventually we got HR involved and they said that i was only eligible for a maximum of a 10% raise which would have been basically nothing, because it could only be an internal band adjustment. my director and direct boss at this point were pretty desperate to keep me — i have a pretty specialized skill set that is hard to find in the small university town where i’m located — so she went to our dean and began the process of trying to get me a role change, which no one had ever received during her time as director. i worked with her and HR, and wrote up a new job description and title for myself, delineating the work i’ve done to improve safety + teaching conditions, and all the work that will continue to be necessary, and i was eventually granted the role change and a nearly 50% raise, as well as a few more hours/week and permission to work during the summers if it was deemed necessary by my direct boss, which it was. immediately after this, i completed my BFA, which helped strengthen my case since my degree was directly related to my work.

    since then i’ve been slowly pushing the envelope, reminding our director that we need more man-hours and trained student workers, and she has really listened to my direct boss and i. getting more staff hours has been deemed our department’s number one priority for the coming fiscal year and there was a meeting with the provost to that effect. i’ve now been given permission to work year-round even though it’s sort of a weird workaround to make it work. i’m still technically part-time but i’ve been told that my position will, with permission, be made full-time in fall 2020. and i’m making a professional wage now, compared to the wage when i started which was less than a 1-year chipotle employee would make.

    my success story boils down to: make yourself indispensable and then don’t be afraid to get pushy while still remaining sunny and professional

    1. Krickets*

      Congratulations! Especially for advocating for yourself. Was this at a private or public university?

      1. nini*

        public! which makes it even harder, honestly, because there’s a mandate in my state to basically reduce the amount of state employees as much as possible so basically every staff-member at my university is part-time unless someone somewhere made the case that their position MUST be full-time and someone actually listened to that person

  41. ElizabethJane*

    And an in-progress story: At my current company I (a woman) was hired for a slightly more junior role and my male counterpart was hired for a slightly more senior role. I don’t think anything shady happened initially, I just think that’s the roles we found.

    For context he is a Product Analyst – Blue Teapots and I’m a Product Analyst – Red Teapots. Blue Teapots are the smaller product, so I was supposed to be working with a Product Manager. We’re at a startup company and eventually they decided to just stick with the two analysts. After being here a year I used the tips found on AAM to ask my co-worker what he was making and it turns out it’s about 15K more than me.

    About a week ago I went to my boss and said “I wanted to discuss my salary. I am really happy with the company and the work I’m doing but I would like to restructure my salary to align with coworkers. We do the same job” and my manager was completely on board. I then decided to go for a bigger ask (at this point the worst he can say is no, I’ve been a high performer, I have the professional capital to ask for this) and I said “I’d also like to discuss a one time pay for the gap between the two of us for the past year and a half”. He was also open to that conversation.

    Right now all of this is sitting with HR so I can’t call it a success yet but the conversation felt good to have. I doubt I’ll get a full year and a half of back pay but I should get something, and I will likely get a raise out of it as well.

    1. LSP*

      Good for you! This is exactly why people should be more open about discussing salary, because otherwise, you’d never have known anything was amiss. Best of luck!

      1. ElizabethJane*

        Yeah the conversation was super weird to have. Actually, that’s not true. I built it up in my head way more than it needed. I ended up asking my coworker if he wanted to grab coffee in the morning and I just said “Hey, you are under no obligation to answer this question if it makes you uncomfortable but I was wondering if you’d tell me your salary? I have a feeling I’m underpaid and I wanted to get a benchmark” and he responded instantly with “Oh, I make $85K, if you’re not making that definitely ask for more”.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Right. Some people wouldn’t have felt comfortable giving out that information.

            1. ElizabethJane*

              I definitely tried really hard to reiterate the “no pressure” part because I know it can be awkward. May have overdone that bit – he looked at me like I’d sprouted a second head.

              1. Fortitude Jones*

                Lol! I’m probably generalizing a bit here, but men seem to be a little more open about that kind of stuff. Like, my brother doesn’t mind telling people what he makes down to the penny. I, on the other hand, am a little more guarded when people ask. I live in fear that someone will try to rob me.

  42. LSP*

    I’ve been at my current position for 4 years, and had only received the standards cost of living (usually under 3% raise each year, plus a generous bonus) each year. I knew I had made significant strides in my job performance and was a big part of why our firm kept getting new contracts by one of our clients that I work with almost exclusively, so I decided to ask for a raise at my last review in November.

    I happened to be out on maternity leave at the time, but thanks to AAM, I was confident that shouldn’t make any difference in my ability to ask for a raise. I researched and realized I was being paid below average for people in my area with my experience level, and I would need at least get a 7% increase to hit average. I think I would have shot for above average if I had been closer to average to begin with, but 7% is a pretty hefty raise to get in one shot, and I wanted to make a case that would appear completely reasonable. I explained that I brought value to the firm not only through my good work, but also via my very strong working relationships with my client contacts, how much I am trusted by them, how well I deal with them when they are difficult, and that in part because of my work we continue to get new contracts. My manager actually commended my point about how my work contributes to the firm’s overall client satisfaction, which leads to more contracts. We even spoke about me working towards a promotion, which my manager agreed makes sense as a goal for this year and/or next, which would include another salary increase.

    My manager said while she said she agreed it made sense for me to get a raise, she would have to clear it with her own boss and her grand boss. Three months later I returned from leave to an email from my own grand boss praising my work and saying they were giving me exactly what I had asked for (7%) plus an $8k bonus for the year! This was the first time I had ever asked for a raise, and it was so reassuring to have it go so smoothly, thanks in no small part to what I’ve learned from AAM.

  43. TodayAnAnon*

    I’ll be anonymous this time, with a success story and a failure.

    First, the less-than-success. Had gotten an offer, money was a bit lower than I wanted. I said I needed more to leave my current situation, and got it. More money than I was making but a decent margin (10%). Then I saw the benefits package. This benefits package was bad. Really bad. Bad enough that the buy-in for the health-care plan ate up the extra salary.

    Moral of the story: check the benefits before negotiating money. Otherwise you have to go back to the table.

    Next step: They offered to commit light tax fraud by replacing some of the salary with an untaxed expense allowance to cover the health-care cost. I accept, reluctantly. Lasted in the job about 18 months before leaving for reasons that should have been predictable.

    Fast forward to the next. Initial salary is a bit lower than I’d wanted, but with a bonus after the first 9 months. I asked to see benefits plan BEFORE saying a word on the salary. It was an improvement – enough of one to offset the lower salary. I asked if there was room for more pay given that this was a step down from my current salary for similar responsibility. THey took a bit off the bonus, but added more up front. At the same time, I asked if the start of health benefits could be moved forward. They said it couldn’t, but did offer to offset the cost of continuing coverage via COBRA.

    At the end of the day, I had several thousand more per year in my pocket than I would have otherwise, and a more steady income stream with less reliance on bonus payouts.

  44. SR*

    Simple enough. I received the offer, signed it back for an additional $15k, and the company agreed. I was a little nervous about it (I’m a woman, and have read articles about women being perceived negatively for negotiating salary) but it was absolutely fine. It probably helped that I was talking to another company as well at the time, and was honest with both companies about this.

  45. lljv*

    Speaking in euros here, in France, so salaries are lower than US ones, but we’re just fine.

    Right out of college, first job interview, they offered me 28k per year. I instinctively responded that really, “I would be more comfortable with a 3 in front my salary”. And voila, I got 30k!

  46. HR Maddness*

    I have had a few throughout my career, I’ll start with the earliest I remember:

    New Role: Offered, 50K+5% bonus (was making $44K w/a fluctuating bonus), asked for $55k – didn’t get it off the bat, but was written into my offer to receive after 3 months of successful employment and it happened (don’t really remember the conversation).

    Same Job: 2 years into the job, knew that at annual review the base raise was about 3%. Responsibilities at grown to the point that I thought 10% was more appropriate. Explained to my boss what had changed, market data, etc. He agreed and took it budget meetings and I got the full 10%.

    New Job: Offer $75K, which was actually what I asked for, but the bonus was at 7.5% and I came from 10%. So I requested $78.5K to make up the gap – and it was accepted by the company (this was a little over 18% increase from what I had been making).

    I feel lucky in the fact that this has never been a big deal for me and the conversations have always been positive. I go in knowing what I want with what I feel is a good argument for it. I think a couple things with this 1) the more you do it, the easier it becomes 2) I start by really understanding what I want and what I am willing to give up for it. This sounds simple, but having been in countless money conversations, you would be surprised how many people do not really know or aren’t confident in it.

    I didn’t negotiate at all for my current role. I got close what I thought was fair for the role, but is the same amount I made in my last position. However, my hours are better, my stress level is lower, and I am getting to create, which is exactly what I wanted (oh, and my commute is next to nothing).

    I know that that raise conversations won’t always turn out the way I would like. But it all helps inform what the company values in general and in you. Which is useful in the long term.

  47. Former Usher*

    Job A: Small company. They recruited me from my longtime employer. Was actually advised by the hiring manager that I should feel free to negotiate. I asked for 10% more than their offer. They countered with 7.5%. I was also able to negotiate an extra week of vacation.

    When I decided to leave Job A, I had two competing offers:

    Job B: Small company. Indicated they were firm on salary and vacation, although the hiring manager said he’d unofficially let me have up to an extra week off. I negotiated an $8,000 signing bonus to make up for the unvested employer 403b match I was leaving behind at Job A.

    Job C: Large company. I chose not to attempt to negotiate the offered salary. No luck negotiating on vacation, although I did negotiate a $10,000 signing bonus to make up for the unvested employer 403b match I was leaving behind at Job A. I also asked for and received an office. The hiring manager even worked with me to come up with an appropriate title for the position.

    For several reasons, I chose Job C over Job B (not just the $2,000 difference in bonus). My limited experience suggests a one-time bonus may be the easiest thing to negotiate, especially if you can point to something of value that you are giving up by leaving your old employer (e.g., unvested retirement match, stock awards, etc.).

  48. Prof*

    So this is a bit different, because I’m in academia (humanities), but still a success story. I was lucky enough to get two tenure-track job offers back-to-back, and I leveraged them to get an extra $4k salary (6.5% more), another $3k in research funds, a really hefty relocation fund…and a spousal hire for my partner. Getting two TT jobs in the same place was sheer luck, and then he also negotiated for more money and start-up.

    I’ve since talked a few of my academic friends through their negotiation processes, since a lot of academics don’t know what you can ask for (or even if negotiation is possible). My negotiating success has helped other people too, which makes me really happy.

    Incidentally, because of the extra salary for which I negotiated and campus salary compression, I was briefly the most junior yet the most highly paid pre-tenure person in my dept. This led to some of the more advanced assistant professors receiving large raises to even things out. A rising tide lifts all boats!

    1. Emily*

      Nice! It sounds like you succeeded on all fronts (and that spousal hire is such a big deal)! I also love how you indirectly helped some of the other faculty.

    2. BethDH*

      Thanks for this! I was hoping some academic people would chime in, especially people in humanities fields. I found it really helpful that Friday Nights (post at 11:26) explained how they decided on the amount to ask for. Did you decide based on anything particular? Did you do it before or after the formal offer letter? Finally (sorry for the prying, I won’t be insulted if you can’t share!), was this a public or private institution?

      1. Prof*

        Hi! I’m happy to share whatever I can. So the two offers were from an R1 state school and a highly ranked SLAC, so they were very different jobs. The R1 offered first, $Xk. The SLAC made me the second offer, at $Xk+3. I took this back to the R1 who upped me to $Xk+4, and at that point also upped my research funds. The real factor was the spousal though. Both schools took a few few weeks to figure out if they could wrangle a spousal offer. Ultimately, the R1 came through and the SLAC couldn’t put anything together. So I took the R1 offer and ran.

        As for how I decided what to ask for – first, I’ve read a lot of Karen Kelsky, and I did one of her webinars about negotiating. Once I had two offers, I was basically asking the R1 to match the SLAC, rather than asking for a specific number, and playing the two off each other (the SLAC knew I had an offer in hand already when I went for the campus visit, which sped things up). But, as Kelsky would tell you, you can only have one really big ask. My big ask was the spousal hire – everything else was basically sweetener. I couldn’t ask for like, two course releases or an extra $10k (a big ask) because I had asked for the spousal (and got it). I think you have to decide what the most important thing is for you (salary, spousal, time off, summer salary, start-up, etc.) and prioritize that ask. You can’t ask for everything.

        I also knew based on the public data for the state school that I was already being offered the top of the salary band (in fact, more than the top of the salary band) for an assistant professor in that department, so asking for much more would have been really tone-deaf.

        And as for before or after – I think it’s best to negotiate everything verbally (with email follow-ups) before the formal offer letter. In many cases, once the letter is written it can’t be changed (this may just be a state school thing), so we had to hash out all of the details first, I gave a verbal yes, and then I received the letter and signed it as a formality. I think this might vary by place, but in general, I think a lot of negotiation should be via phone in conversation. Sometimes through that conversation they’ll say something like, well we can’t do X but we can do Y, and that back-and-forth might mean that you end up with a better deal overall. This was, for example, how I got a really amazing relocation package, which was not originally part of my offer (by taking it at the end of the school year instead of during the actual move, I basically got 3x the normal relocation package), and also how my boss and I agreed that I could get an extra $1k salary for taking $1k less in research costs (which makes sense in the long run, because of retirement, etc).

        1. BethDH*

          Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this. I wish more of this kind of discussion were part of grad-level career prep — especially when to have the discussion. I think they gave me an opening for that kind of discussion when I was interviewing for my most recent position (in the form of a call with HR that was separate from my meetings with the department/hiring committee) and I didn’t realize that that was the chance to do that. The whole process was so different than what I’d done for jobs outside academia and as an adjunct, and I’d been told what to expect in terms of job talks/campus visit/etc., but not what happens once they get to the “we like you and are moving forward” part.

    3. Krickets*

      How does the spousal hire thing work? Is it mostly for professorial work at academic departments or is it applicable to getting them an opportunity in uni admin or support areas?

      1. BethDH*

        When I’ve seen it, it’s always been professorial (or maybe another research position, but definitely PhD-required stuff). I have limited experience, though. I imagine at places I’ve been they’d have been happy to help if they could, but it would be a lot less formal and more of a “hey, we heard so-and-so is going to be hiring but it hasn’t been announced yet” rather than a true spousal hire. Maybe at higher levels of admin a spousal hire would be more of a thing?

  49. LunaLena*

    Mine wasn’t a really big deal or anything, but a few years ago, I applied to a position as a production artist that paid $X per hour (which was fairly standard for that position in that industry and location). During the interview, the interviewer explained that the work was technical rather than creative, but also asked about my graphic design experience since the resident graphic designer was about to go on maternity leave. When I was offered the job a few days later, I was told that, in light of the fact that I had graphic design/marketing experience, the position would also involve being a back-up designer. I had never negotiated a salary before, but I impulsively said, “since the position includes more than just technical work, I would have to ask for a slightly higher salary. Perhaps $X+2 per hour?” They agreed, and I’ve always been proud that I made myself speak up and ask, even if it wasn’t that huge of an increase.

  50. Amy*

    This is the opposite of a success story I think. I’ve been hired through staffing agencies for about 3 years now and the pay rate was normally listed in the job posting, so I never had to negotiate. This time, I was asked for a number. Having done my research, I had a specific range in mind and gave it to the staffing agency recruiter. He came back with a lower range, saying that was the best he could do. I tried again and listed reasons why I would be worth it. A whole day passed with no response, and I lost all confidence. The next day I pretty much accepted a number below my target range.

    One thing I noticed was I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the recruiter, because it sounded to me like he was entry-level and was acting as his manager’s messenger. I also had the impression if he didn’t make the sale, he wouldn’t be getting any commission, and I knew for a fact he was getting paid so much less than what I was asking for. So I accepted partly in solidarity with working-class people everywhere.

    That said, does anyone know how recruiting agencies really work, and if next time I’d be better off talking directly with the manager? I have felt duped by a staffing agency before, but I want to make sure my resentment and/or distrust is based on facts and not misconceptions.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      I don’t know if this is true of staffing agencies across the board, but when I used to work with them almost a decade ago, the agency was paid what I was paid, so it benefited them to negotiate a higher rate per hour for me because then they’d get to charge their client double. That may not be the case anymore and it may have been region-specific.

    2. Process Geek*

      Usually the agency is given a band or a maximum by their client. The nice thing with agencies is that there is generally more frankness about rates and such. The agency was pretty frank about saying this pays “$X-$Y/hr.” If they asked me, I always provided the last rate I was getting plus $1-2/hr. If they countered with a lower number, I stated that my current (or previous) rate was $Z. Usually that was enough. I never had to take a lower rate.

      In my current role, I hire contractors. I have no say in the pay rates. I describe the skill set I need and the experience level I’m seeking to the contract management office. They help me identify the appropriate pre-defined role, which comes with a maximum rate per hour.

  51. Checkert*

    I have a hodge podge history of work but did manage to wrangle it into a meaningful string of jobs that, when taken together, round out a very strong and useful skillset. When I was offered my current job at Big Less Than Five Company, they quoted me a salary that was right off the bat $18K more than I was making. Because I read this column I knew that any recruiter/HR Rep worth their salt EXPECT candidates to negotiate so I did! I had researched and cited market average, pointing out that they fall below that (which is accurate but they offer bonuses and such that bring them close to exact average) and the rep did laugh but agreed to go to bat for me. I got offered $2K more, calling it mid-range for the level I was being hired at (I later found out that it’s actually a bit rare for the sector I’m in for them to be willing to play, but I take that as them knowing they were lowballing me a bit). I took it, thereby getting myself a $20K raise, cutting my commute in half, getting a job with the same title as my master’s degree, and getting with a company that will allow me diverse opportunities and carries a lot of clout for possible future jobs!

  52. JustAClarifier*

    Got a 20% raise and then plus some. Am woman, if that matters. I received a promotion and a few months later had my yearly review. About two weeks in advance I wrote up and sent to my boss a full list of my standard tasks and things I did that went above and beyond; I highlighted key accomplishments, including the promotion, and how I had added value to the company.

    He offered me a 5% raise during my review and I countered with requesting a 20% raise. I used my submitted highlights and performance assessment to justify it and he agreed to the 20% raise – then, telling myself that it never hurts to ask, I asked him to round up to the nearest whole number. He was startled and asked, “WHAT? It’s already 15% more than I’d planned!”

    I said, “I like whole numbers.” He laughed for a really long time and agreed.

  53. Mr. Tyzik*

    My last three jobs, I came in with more experience than the job was posted for. In all three cases, I stated what I wanted which was current + at least 5% for lateral moves. I simply asked, HR hemmed and hawed, and the hiring manager came back with the yes in each case. In my last jump to a new company, I got X plus 10%.

    I used Alison’s advice on cover letters and building a strong resume based on accomplishment – I’d like to think my materials supported my track record and made those raises seem easy. Since 2014, my salary has increased by 28% thanks to requested raises and performance raises.

  54. I edit everything*

    When I was offered my last full-time job, I knew the company didn’t have a lot of money, so there wasn’t much wiggle room in the salary. But I was able to leverage the fact that I didn’t need company-provided health insurance (I’m covered for free under my spouse’s insurance) for a slightly higher salary, and then negotiate extra vacation. I was coming from a job where I’d had three weeks of vacation, and my spouse gets five or six, so going back to two weeks would have been a bitter pill.

    And for a recent freelance job, when the publisher I primarily work with had lost an editor in the middle of multiple projects and was throwing all the half-finished work to me, I was able to negotiate a higher rate for one of those projects to make up for the late nights and weekends I’d have to spend working on it. I proposed it, my project coordinator had to take it up the ladder, but she did come back a few days later with approval. I was nervous that I’d blown it with this client–they send me the bulk of my work–but their desperation and my status with them combined to get me what I needed. Good thing, too, because that extra money is going to pay for some emergency household expenses (isn’t that always the way?).

  55. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Two tips –

    1) If you are currently employed and seeking a new job with more money – you will likely NEVER have the negotiating power you have as their successful candidate. Exploit that , within reasonable bounds. You’ll not only see the goodness in your first paycheck, but also – if you can do the job well – your new employer is less likely to screw you over in the future.

    2) DO NOT fall prey to a lowball = “we can work that out in the future”. It usually doesn’t happen.

    1. Anonymous Poster*

      Totally agree on the “we can work it out later” point.

      To some extent you have to accept it – like positions where you may grow into a leadership role, or bring in new business, or planned activities in the next few years you may participate in. Those promises I’ve learned to take with a grain of salt, but they’re still plausible.

      But promises of promotions and raises? No, I no longer really trust those. The typical track I’ve been promised a couple times now turned out to be nonsense, and had I known that, I wouldn’t have taken the jobs so I could just make more money up front guaranteed. This is field specific, but as a (former) engineer I would no longer trust a company’s “typical” advertised salary track, since I’ve had bosses renege on those and in one case, tell me I’m lying by bringing it up again.

      1. John B Public*

        Tell you you’re lying? I’m speechless.

        Those are firing words. I would seriously be considering firing my boss if I was told that.

  56. your favorite person*

    Our department was re-organizing and I had for three years expressed interest in becoming department head. When the position opened, my boss offered it to me with a very small increase (3k more than what I was getting- which included my annual increase for the year so really only about a 1k increase) for the amount of work I would be doing. Because we were discussing at my annual review, I came prepared with WHY I thought I deserved a certain number (8k more than what he offered). I said I was keeping all my same duties, adding in an additional persons duties, as well as becoming a manager- all of which should merit a larger increase. He listened and said he would have to run it by the management team.

    A MONTH went by. Finally, he told me they were able to give me exactly what I asked for. That’s how I increased my pay my nearly 20% with 3 minutes of googling and 1 minute of bravery. I was confident it was the right number so I wasn’t afraid to fight for it. Googling salary negotiation is also how I found this website!!

  57. Kuddel Daddeldu*

    My first real job after university, I interviewed well enough, and gave my salary expectations.
    The next day, the VP had his secretary call me, put him through, and offered me the job… at $2000 more than I asked for!
    I did get to actually negotiate for a raise later (stayed with the company for over six years), but that outcome was quite unexpected.

    1. MarleenMe*

      I had a firm offer me more than I asked for. I appreciated that they did that when they could have gotten me cheaper. It showed some real integrity, I thought.

  58. Heat's Kitchen*

    I listed to the AAM Podcast before negotiating my current job offer. Their offer came in through my range. But in doing additional research, I asked for $15k more.

    I called the day after thinking about the initial offer and said something like, “I’m really excited about the opportunity, but was wondering if we could get somewhere closer to $15k more than the original offer.”

    The recruiter said, “That’s quite a jump. Can you explain to me your reasoning for this so I can go back to leadership?”

    Me: “Absolutely. After hearing more about the needs for the position, taking into account my extensive background in SAFe, as well as the market rate, this is what I feel I am worth.”

    She greatly appreciated the explaination. They were able to come up $5,000, and give me a $5,000 signing bonus. In all, it was a $20,000 raise, plus that extra $5k. I was thrilled.

    1. Mr. Tyzik*

      I’m not surprised. I’m a SAFe Agilist, not even an SPC, and the demand in my market for those skills is amazingly high.

      Congrats on negotiating a healthy raise!

  59. HelloooooFriday!*

    I got a job offer at the company where my husband works. I searched glass door for the pay band and asked for that amount. The day I got the offer, my husband got a raise into the same band that I was getting hired for. His paperwork showed the true range for that band and it was significantly higher then glassdoor and what I had asked for.

    A friend cautioned me that I should just accept the pay, because it was my fault for giving that $. But the original amount so ridiculously out of the band I knew I wasn’t going to be willing to accept working there for that pay. So I was upfront and told the recruiter that I was aware of the true pay band and what I thought I deserved. Within 24 hours I was approved a $6k pay bump and no one had a problem with it from the recruiter, to my boss to his vp.

    Best decision ever.

  60. NegotiateLikeABoss*

    This isn’t hiring negotiations, but I thought it might still be helpful for those who are trying to ask for a raise or negotiate after a role change. After a restructure my title and responsibilities changed dramatically, but I was told no raise would be given to anyone during the course of the restructuring. When it came time for my yearly performance review I presented my new boss with the job description of the role I was hired to do, and the job description/responsibilities/skills that were required of my new job, including things I had done over the last 8 months that were in line with the new role. I also presented salary ranges for that same job in the region. I presented facts, not emotions, not frustrations- facts— I received a 11% raise, and my bonus jumped from 12% to 18%.

  61. Looloolo*

    I never would have asked if it weren’t for AAM! I work at a public university and wanted to leave an under-titled, underpaid position in immigration. Since we are public, I had access to the salary figures of the people who were doing the same role as I was applying for. It was already 2K more than I was making (in an easier job), and I had literally NEVER negotiated in a job offer before. A friend and AAM reminded me that it never hurts to ask. So I asked for a day to think about it, and then came back and emailed them that given my skills, experiences, etc…, I was hoping for 4K more. That figure would put me 4K about the people already in the role, so I had no idea if they would accept. They called back the next day agreeing to half that amount! So, now I’m earning almost 4K more than I did in my old job, with a higher title despite the work being easier! I am so happy to be in an office where they were willing to negotiate, as that isn’t usually the case at this university. Mostly though, I’m grateful that I’m finally in a role that from the get-go appreciated the fact that I had way more skills and experience than most people in this role come in having. Now if only there were opportunities for advancement in this field…

  62. MechanicalPencil*

    My second job ever I negotiated salary. They were trying to pay me what I made at my then current job+fantastic health benefits (no insurance premiums deducted). I countered with X7k, thinking I’d be forced to settle for X5k. And I got the X7k that I asked for (my explanation was that the extra was to cover insurance costs, though now I’m more experienced and know better know better). I also negotiated in another job not to have my health benefits start with their 3 month delay but to have them begin on date of hire. In hindsight I should have also asked for a salary bump, but live and learn.

    Based on reading AAM, I knew how to help my sibling with their salary negotiations. The offer was X, I suggested to ask for Y. The company was firm in X but were open to my other suggestion to sibling of asking for more PTO.

  63. Gladiolus*

    Negotiating is easy if you know someone is not being fair to you. In my most recent job negotiation, I knew the following:

    -How much the previous person in the position made for how many hours a week (yes, I asked her straight up!)
    -How much I was making freelancing a few hours a week that I’d have to give up ($5000 a year, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it shows the high value of the job duties)
    -How much I made in a similar job in a similar cost of living city

    Their offer was so low I was actually disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to take the job. I had the number $32,000 pegged mentally and asked for $35,000. The negotiator said it was good I mentioned the freelance work because it gave him a specific point to bring to the board. I learned from that, be as specific as possible about why your work is worth a certain amount! I ultimately accepted $32,000, which is still kind of low, but it’s a nonprofit, I find the work personally meaningful, and the flexibility is great. I also asked for, and received, an extra week of vacation.

    I still wonder if they really thought I was going to accept a salary 15% below what they were previously paying in the position, with additional responsibilities.

  64. AndersonDarling*

    This was really simple…I put the exact amount I was looking for on the application when it asked for salary expectations. I usually put a range, but I knew what I was looking for and that was the exact number I was offered. It was super easy for the Recruiter, and easy for me to accept.

  65. MtnLaurel*

    Mine is kind of an unintentional success. I got a reasonable offer and asked if the company could cover moving expenses. My supervisor said no but was able to get me $2K more a year on my salary to cover. It never hurts to ask.

  66. 30k? For real??*

    When I got the job offer for my first job out of college, I was thrilled… until I saw the number on the offer letter. They were going to pay me $30,000/year with a $250/month stipend for “phone and healthcare.” I asked to speak about the terms of the offer and they agreed to go up to about $32k. I still knew that wouldn’t work for me, so I requested additonal PTO (they only offered 8 days sick/vacation combined) or commuter benefits. The wouldn’t budge on either so I let them know I was weighing another offer with a more competitive salary of $36k. They matched it and I accepted (despite the myriad red flags related to PTO/healthcare, I know). I eventually ended up leaving that job after six months, but I was so proud of tacking an extra $6k to my original offer. Hoping for my next job/salary, I can get up to more livable wage in DC though lol.

  67. a*

    I was surprised by mine – I was entering a state job, for which they were hiring a large number of people as trainees. I had 3+ years post-college experience, and was making about $5K more than the starting salary for trainees, but the job was (and is) interesting, so I was in no matter what. But when I spoke to the administrator after getting the job offer from the head guy, I asked if they would be able to match my salary. (All of my info was listed on my application paperwork, including my salary, so they knew what it was.) The admin said “No, we’re hiring everyone in at $X rate.” I shrugged and said OK. But when I got my first paycheck, they had matched my previous salary. (It was still a step down in pay, since I worked probably 8 hours of overtime every week.) Easiest negotiation ever – and I topped out on salary about 5 years before everyone else who started with me.

  68. Also Anon*

    At my current role, I was seconded into my position from from a sister organization. My salary at the first organization was significantly below market (when I told my new manager what it was prior to being hired, he was genuinely shocked and said he would look into getting back pay to compensate for the months I’d been there).

    When I was hired into the new role, my new manager offered me slightly under the range I’d requested (still a $20k increase) so I asked about that backpay. He said it wasn’t feasible but promptly offered the top of my requested range instead. I also negotiated a title change.

  69. kc89*

    Mine were both quite small as they were when I was younger and working in food service. The first one was when I had been working at a restaurant for a while and asked for a raise, they had me fill out a self review form and then bumped me up fifty cents an hour, better than nothing I guess lol

    And then the second is when I was getting a temporary part time job while I looked for a full time job, the company normally hired people on at minimum wage but I showed them my pay stubs from my last job and they ended up paying me about $3 more an hour, they asked that I not tell my new co-workers because it would cause a riot, I suspect they were right when I found out one of my co-workers had been there for years and was still making minimum wage :/

    I’ve only had one office job and I didn’t negotiate because I was happy with the wage offered.

    For my next job I will have to take the advice in this post and try and negotiate!

  70. JDS*

    I asked for a raise and mentioned a number I cannot now recall. Let’s say I said $5000. I meant per year. He thought I meant per month and gave it to me. I could barely speak and didn’t quite even realize what happened until I walked out in shock followed by a happy dance in private.

      1. jDC*

        I was in shock! I paid any bill I could find. My dog had surgery he needed. Changed my life.

  71. Librarian Ish*

    Well, I just accepted a new job. They told me X, I asked for X+5k, they returned with X+2.5K and I said yes. Then HR said they couldn’t give me that rate because it wasn’t divisible by 12, so they gave me a $4/year (yes that’s four dollars, not 4k) raise lol

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Right?! $4?! I would have been so mad, lol. That’s like when I worked at Evil Law Firm and they gave me a .30 raise and told me I should be grateful because no one else got raises that year.

    1. I Go OnAnonAnonAnon*

      On my first read, I thought they’d given you X+$4, instead of X+2.5K+$4, and I was really confused!

  72. Alexis Rose*

    I helped a friend navigate her salary negotiation just recently! A friend asked me for help on drafting a rationale for a salary increase at her new position and wondered if it made sense to list a salary she had at a different job as part of her argument. We had a great conversation about how using salary history to determine a salary at a new job can actually entrench wage gap issues and how her rationale needed to be a business case for why it is worth it to the company to pay her more. Her feelings or desire to buy a house or what another agency decided to pay her doesn’t communicate that the skills she brings to the table are worth $Xk more than the offered salary. All of this was stuff I knew a little bit about, but I was scouring AAM the whole time we were texting to get scripts and back up my thinking to make sure I wasn’t totally wrong! She ended up getting the salary she wanted!

  73. Doc in a Box*

    In US medical training (residency, fellowship) salaries are fixed by the government and not negotiable. So you end up with someone in my shoes, looking for their first real job in their mid-30s, with zero knowledge of how to negotiate.

    What I did: found a table of average (25th/50th/75th percentile) salaries of academic specialties, broken down by academic rank and region. Armed with this knowledge, my negotiations went thusly:

    Them: We can offer you $X (25th percentile)
    Me: That is quite low compared to other offers I’ve received (true!) According to the salary tables, the 50th percentile salary would be $X+15k. How does your university’s payscale compare to the national table?
    Them: OK, we can do X+10k
    Me: Fine.

    I am glad I asked, because 10k does go a long way toward my student loans, and there were other unique aspects of this job that were exciting to me. But I did/do notice that they never really answered my question about payscales in a transparent way, and that continues to bother me. I am a woman of color in a department that is mostly white men (there are 3 other women of color out of 70+ faculty).

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      No one has ever been able to completely explain their salary bands/quintile rationales either, so you are not alone.

  74. EH*

    At OldJob, I was contracting (ugh). When my contract came up for renewal, I asked my manager if I could get a raise, since we’d been getting great customer feedback on my documentation and the team seemed to like me. He said he’d see what he could do, and got me bumped from $40/hr to $43/hr.

    My liaison at the contracting company said she had never heard of OldJob giving contractors a raise at all. It’s amazing what can happen if you just ask.

  75. Chinookwind*

    I was working as a contract employee through a temp agency as an admin. assistant when my one year contract was up and my site manager wanted to keep me. She recommended that I become self-employed (like a lot of the consulting engineers were and there was a temporary hiring freeze, so she couldn’t hire me directly) and, when I looked into it, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was with the hardest thing being able to figure out where to buy liability insurance.

    From what I learned on this site, I proposed an hourly fee of twice what the agency paid me (while upping my paid vacation to 3 weeks on paper – I did a lot of math to figure out an annual salary and reverse engineer it to an hourly wage) and was shocked that no one complained about my fee for being an Admin Assistant. In fact, my boss/client gave me the equivalent of a 5% raise a year later by telling me to up my prices (I loved working for her, BTW, as she was all around awesome).

    The best part was that, a few months after this “raise,” word came down from our out of country owners that all contractors were to go through one employment agency and no one was able to negotiate otherwise. But, because they didn’t want to lose existing contractors who made a fuss about this, they offered us our existing hourly fee minus 10% while changing us from self-employed to agency employees (which meant no more payroll taxes or liability insurance and 2 weeks paid vacation). I still can’t believe how well that worked out for me and would never ask for that type of wage ever again.

    1. Chinookwind*

      And then there was the time I was in a temp to hire position where part of my job was putting together the benefits summary for all employees (for payroll). As a result, I know how their pay scale worked so, when they offered me a permanent position, I was able to ask to be put in the middle of their pay scale (say Level 1C) by stating that I had more experience then persons A & B who were at Level 1B. They agreed.

      1. SezU*

        I had something similar once. I was temping because I was new to the area and wanted to get to know the area better before deciding on a perm position. Within a short time of me being on board, they offered me the position on a permanent basis (even though it meant buying out my contract with the agency). They offered me what the agency was paying me. Because I knew they had been willing to pay the agency more, and I knew they wanted me, I asked for what they had paid the agency… and got it!

        1. Chinookwind*

          I think it is important for people who work for agencies to know that fact that any company paying you through an agency is usually paying more for you than if you were an employee as the agency wants to cover not only payroll taxes but their operating expenses and make a profit.

          Anyone making the transition from temp to permanent should definitely ask for more than what the agency was giving them by at least a couple dollars an hour.

    2. Chinookwind*

      My final one was for a a colleague who worked in a reserve as a teacher who later told us how they convinced him to sign up for a second year (most teachers were one and done unless they were local). On top of the annual raise, he negotiated for them to fence in the yard of his teacherage before the end of his first school year as a condition for him staying so he could let his dog out with tying him up.

      The timeline was an important qualifier as I went 3 months without them fixing the tap in my bathtub and the principal went without a shower for one month. The new fence may have only been a cross between chicken wire and a snow fence, but he got it.

  76. Not Sure How To Ask*

    I’m enjoying reading all of these suggestions because I’m almost certain I am underpaid, and I’m dealing with a pretty toxic environment and sometimes hostile management. I am a one person HR/Benefits team, payroll admin, shipping/receiving person, etc, all grouped under the title of Office Manager. According to Glassdoor’s salary estimator, I should be making about $7k more than I do. How accurate are calculators like those on glassdoor?

    1. Enginear*

      I compared glassdoor to my company’s pay and it’s pretty dang close. (Our company publishes pay bands for each position/title at our company so we all know how much everyone makes depending on their title)

    2. Process Geek*

      For that type of role, it can be very tricky. If you are looking to go elsewhere, take a look at all your varied duties and identify what you are best at. Then ALSO list the things you hate doing. Then find job descriptions for roles that do the things you want to do.

      I’m very wary of salary calculators. Relying only on a salary calculator led to me to looking very naive and out of touch when I was offered my first job out of grad school. The title was “Quality Manager.” It was really more of a Process Analyst/Reporting Analyst cross. So my hiring manager looked at me like I was daft when I stated my expectation and she countered with a figure $30k lower. That took all the wind out of my sails and I ended up accepting a salary that really was a low-ball offer.

    3. Required Name*

      Yeah, I’m skeptical of glassdoor. We used it when we were hiring an office manager and I’ve subsequently become good friends with her and found out our offer (we thought about 3k over average in our area) was 10k more than any others she had seen!

      Despite that, we did have a candidate that withdrew because the salary was 10k less than she had been making as an Executive Assistant.

      Since you’re in payroll, I’d use that to benchmark, if you know you and your skills are more valuable than a role making X and likely less than a role making Y you know you’re probably worth something in that range?

  77. beanie gee*

    Not salary, but vacation time.

    I started a new job a year ago after being with my last company for 10 years. My biggest driver wasn’t so much an increase in pay, but not having to go backwards in vacation time. I didn’t negotiate salary since I felt ballsy asking for 4 weeks vacation starting out. But I got 4 weeks vacation. Right from day one. That I could start using at any time.


  78. Shiraz*

    For most of my career, I have not been in a position to negotiate due to the type of positions (civil service and military). However, during a time when I worked private sector, I applied for a job, and at the time of the interview was offered a higher level supervisory position. The hiring official knew me from my previous employer where she did some volunteer work and she knew exactly what I made. The offer came in with exactly that salary. I countered for about 12% more, assuming that they offered me the higher level position for a reason, and why would I move for the same money? (The hiring official did have inside information that I was desperate to leave my current situation, but I also had another offer on the table that she wasn’t aware of, which may have given me the strength to counter.) At any rate, she hemmed and hawed and said it wasn’t usual but they would meet my counter.

    Once I came on board she told me that they tend to start low and reward performance. Boy, howdy! Did they ever! In six months I had another 20% increase, and each year after that I got substantial raises and bonuses. I don’t know if I would have accepted it for what I was making at the time if they had not caved… but I’m glad it worked out so I don’t have to guess.

  79. ragazza*

    Some years ago I realized my job responsibilities had increased and changed, while at the same time the cost of living was going up in my state. I did research about salaries for comparable jobs in my area and prepared a document showing how I was doing the same tasks and had the same expertise that those roles typically required. I also explained that tolls going up statewide (most people drove to work) and an increase in the state income tax rate were taking more out of my net income. Normally I wouldn’t address expenses going up, but these weren’t just unique to me, so I thought they were valid. Additionally, my manager was located in another state and wasn’t necessarily aware of such changes. I ended up getting way more than I expected–something like a 17 percent raise. Usually, the most the company would offer without a promotion was 4-5 percent.

  80. Temp to Hire*

    My field is rough in that you often spend at least 6-18 months as a contractor before being hired full time. That’s a LONG time to watch your words and make sure they don’t weasel too much info out of you (previous salary, long-term goals, family situation, how emotionally attached you seem to the position, and so on). I utterly fail at it every time.

    The most recent time, I negotiated more from the temp agency when my first contract date ran out and they re-upped me. They had been jerking me around, making empty promises and putting me off for weeks, then suddenly everything had to be handled instantly. The snake of a recruiter insisted we had to have the conversation immediately over the phone, even though I asked for a couple of days because I was fighting a horrible cold. So I was hoarsely whisper-yelling at him in between coughing fits. He actually had to wait out my lung-rattling gagging noises.

    I got $3 more per hour out of that phone call, and TBH I was much more aggressive than my usual self because I was so pissed off that he refused to wait until I was well to have the conversation. So, I guess my tip to negotiating is to be treated like garbage until you finally snap…

  81. J.*

    I joined a union and that way I don’t have to be worried about getting paid less than someone else who does the same job as I do.

  82. Sally*

    When I was negotiating salary for my current job, they asked me for my range. I said I would be happy to share that with them, but I wanted to say 1st that I had been underpaid and insufficiently appreciated at my last company, and I really didn’t want that to happen again. Later I thought about it, and I hoped that they didn’t take that as a threat because I didn’t mean it that way. I just didn’t want to be disappointed by a low offer from a company I really wanted to work at. I gave them the range, and when the recruiter got back to me, he offered me the middle of my range, which I was very happy with. The hardest part about doing this was giving them the range and then shutting up. But I knew that was the the thing to do, so I did it even though it was hard.

  83. JeremyBearimy*

    I just started my new job last week after an exhausting 16 month search for something new. In the quickest hiring process of my life, I interviewed on a Tuesday and had the phone offer on Friday. During the first interview, the org (large non-profit arts org) asked me to fill out their paperwork that included references and a line for desired salary. I gave a range with the lowest # over what I thought they would be able to offer. I deeply wanted this job, but also couldn’t leave my previous job without more money and better hours.
    They offered by the bottom of my range, explaining their expected range for the position was 4K lower, but because they really wanted me my new boss got permission from the VP Finance to offer more. Using AAM’s advice, I asked for another week of vacation. They said that was probably not likely because it was standard across the whole org, but they’d ask. I decided to accept anyways, because this job was exactly what I was looking for. On Tuesday they called and said they couldn’t get more vacation, but were able to offer another 1K. So all in all, I got a 20% raise with more benefits, better hours, and an easier commute. So, so grateful for the AAM community.

  84. T. Boone Pickens*

    Self employed/Freelancer one here…

    When I launched my company last year and was hunting for clients I naturally started with clients I had worked with when I was in the corporate sector after my non compete was up. It was nerve wracking because they had done quite a bit of business with me when I was in the corporate sector and I was suffering a bit from imposter syndrome and questioning if I could really start my own firm. I went into those meetings equipped with the historical data of what they had spent with me and what it would cost them if they hired internal staff to try and replicate what I did. It was an almost indescribable feeling when I proposed my number and my contact on the other line said, “That’s almost identical to what we were thinking to hire you as a consultant.” I had 6 meetings set the first month I was open, I walked out with $250k in signed contracts. I’ll never work for anyone else (barring some kind of unbelievable opportunity) again.

    1. Krickets*

      What’s the best way to reach out to clients that you’ve worked with? Do you just say, “I’m freelancing now, if you ever need services please let me know”? And that’s pretty awesome that you walked out with those contracts!

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        What I did after leaving the sector was occasionally shoot over an email or call every couple months to check in and see how things were going, shoot over business intelligence, give advice, etc. I can fully admit that I got a bit lucky with my freelancing in that the startup I went to work for turned into an unmitigated disaster and the rep that took over my accounts ran things into the ground so the timing worked out well for me. I appreciate the kind words!

  85. Tableau Wizard*

    I’m particularly proud of this because it was my first job out of school:

    I had received multiple offers for my first post-undergrad full time position. If I remember correctly, the first offered $50k, the second $60k, and the third $75k (but consulting and lots of travel). I wanted to take job 2, but was hoping to negotiate to a higher salary. I was very honest with the hiring manager about the other offers and asked what more he could do. I gave specific numbers for what I’d been offered elsewhere and I think I asked if he could get closer to $65k. He came back and said that while $60k was the highest he could offer me, he would write into the offer letter than I’d receive specialty training within the first year and upon completion of the training, I’d receive a raise to $70k.
    I was thrilled and accepted the offer.

    About a year later, I had completed the first AND SECOND levels of that specialty training. I had already received a merit increase of about $2k, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get a flat $10k bump, move my salary to an even $70k, or more because of the additional training. I was ready to make my case for why I deserved more than the $70k, and before I even had a chance to negotiate, he gave me a raise to $90k.

    He was and still remains the best boss I’ll ever have.

  86. Person of Interest*

    I was offered a promotion (different than the one I wanted) with a salary of X. I asked if that was negotiable. The answer: “No.” I said I understood and thanked her. I accepted the position.
    I received an email the next morning from the same person asking to revisit the salary and inquiring what I had in mind. I spent a long time thinking up my response, going over my market comparisons, and refreshing my memory on my accomplishments. I recapped some of my noteworthy accomplishments, gave some market data, and asked for 7% more. I thought that was reasonable and a modest increase over their offer. The company accepted my offer. I’m glad I did, because I suspected I would not be getting the regular increase over top that (okay by me), but the excess gave me that wiggle room and made me feel more valued.

  87. TooGoodToBeTrue*

    Man, I don’t deserve credit for negotiating this, but I love telling the story of how at my current job they actually offered me MORE money than I asked for.

    I’d switched careers, and done a 12 week dev bootcamp to become a software engineer. I’d previously been working in a tech-adjacent field and making about $90k, and I’d told the recruiter that I wanted $100k, which is on the higher end of market rate for a bootcamp grad, but the lower end of what a junior developer would expect.

    My (now boss) called to make me the offer, and he said “[Recruiter] told me what your salary expectations were, but I wanted to hear it from you.” And in my head I immediately started to think “he’s going to lowball me.” So I make my case: I said I thought my background gave me a unique perspective and I would provide a lot of value, I said I thought I could ramp up quickly, and that I thought I’d fit in well with the team. (This was after he’d already told me I’d been the first person to get an enthusiastic “must hire” rating from every single person I’d interviewed with.)

    So he says “I think you’re right, so I’m going to offer you $110k because I think you will ramp up quickly, and I don’t want you to jump ship.” I don’t even remember what I said in response — thank you?? I definitely won’t jump ship?? But the whole experience just made me feel really good, like I was coming to a place where they actually valued me. I’ve been here a few months, and this has turned out to be true. They offer all the right wellness benefits: unlimited vacation, flexible hours, “remote first” attitude about WFH, free lunch every day, snacks, on-site gym, great health insurance. This is on top of some really great coworkers, a fun and welcoming culture, transparent and friendly CEO. I feel really, really lucky.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      You absolutely are! Congratulations! You’ve just inspired me to do one of those bootcamps, lol.

  88. Van Wilder*

    My last job offer, I just said “Hmm… I was hoping for more in the range of [10k higher]…. Is there any flexibility on salary?” They made me wait a day or two (which was painful because I was hating my job at the time so much) but they came back with $5k higher. Never hurts to ask.

  89. Retail*

    How do you know when you have a job where negotiation is possible?

    Obviously govt jobs are out, but what else is automatically a take it or leave it?

    And how can you rectify negotiation with budgetary considerations? Oh bc you used the magic words yes we have more money?

    1. Tomasala*

      Negotiation is always possible. No one will ever say “yes, we can negotiate” and if you flat-out ask “is this negotiable?” most places will say no. But it’s always negotiable.

        1. Anonymous Poster*

          Honestly in those situations it might not be money. The issue comes up that you might not have too much leverage because it’s a job where people are viewed more as gears instead of sets of valuable skills. My best advice is do what you have to, and see if you can find a niche to fill.

          But don’t abandon hope! Try for other things, like vacation, or hours and flexibility, or breaks! You might not get anywhere, but you can always try.

        2. Chinookwind*

          Working conditions such as vacation time (paid or unpaid), consistent scheduling, cost/number of uniform shirts are all potentially negotiable.

          Heck, as my teacher colleague pointed out, it never hurts to ask for something that sounds strange to an outsider (like a fence for employer provided housing) but, if you are someone they want to keep and a particular item could make you happy, why not ask?

          There probably are receptionists out there who have probably negotiated for being allowed to drink coffee at their desks during an annual review. For most people, this would be strange and not even a benefit. But, if you are in a “no food or drink zone” and you can have water bottle or coffee cup available as long as it is out of view, then that is a definite working condition improvement.

          1. Retail*

            Ha! I frequently worked in no food/drink zones and I’d stare my supervisor down as I drank from my water bottle. I also helped another proofread his “no cell phone” sign as I read an article on my phone.

            We were in the south, AC or no, you’re out of your mind if you think one water fountain is truly sufficient.

            It never occurred to me that that give and take is a negotiation of sorts.

    2. Just Jess*

      I wouldn’t assume government jobs are out. I asked to start at a higher step at a state government job and did not get the higher starting salary. I was still incredibly pleased with the offer anyway. For another government job I demanded, meaning I was expecting to walk away, a higher salary/job and was ultimately offered a completely different job that paid $25,000 more than their initial offer.

      Negotiation may not always be possible. Ask anyway.

      1. Krickets*

        Is it better to get into the next band with a lower salary than at the high end of a current band?

        1. Just Jess*

          Usually the bands have step increases. The first few steps of a band might come at 6-months or one year. For higher steps, it can take over three years to move just one step (e.g. step 7 to step 8 within a band). Your salary would flatline if there were no cost of living adjustments and you were stuck at the same step for years.
          It is usually better to start in the lower end of a high-potential band because you’re assuming the step increases will happen quickly. But if you can be at the high end of a current band and still get your next step within that band in a year, it’s probably better to work at the higher end of the current band.

  90. GradStudent*

    I’d like to mention this, though it’s not quite salary negotiation, I think it’s worth bringing up since it’s rarely talked about.

    I applied to graduate schools this year, and after taking a while to decide, I was offered an extra $2000 from my top choice as an incentive to choose them. This is in fact not uncommon, as it happened to a friend of mine as well. So if you’re applying to graduate school, and hoping to get a little extra money, it might not hurt to attempt to negotiate there as well. I have read online that people have done this. I think it’s important to be delicate about it, because there’s more “gusto” expected from graduate students, but ultimately, you do have some power.

    1. Polymer Phil*

      Be sure to look at cost of living for grad school too. The same stipend could have you sharing a bedroom and eating Ramen noodles at Berkeley, or having a good-sized apartment to yourself at a state university in the middle of nowhere.

      The negotiation suggestion is a good one. I was one the fence between a few choices for grad school, and I didn’t know at the time that I could have tried to negotiate. I think this could work especially well if you got accepted at a bigger name department than the one you really want to go to, and they think they need to “lure you away” from Harvard or MIT.

    2. GradStudent*

      For slightly better context, these were both research based graduate programs (as in, I was already going to be receiving a stipend), but one was a MS and one was a PhD. One was STEM and one was not. So I think this is much more common than people realize!

    3. Required Name*

      Because I was a grad student and didn’t realize anything was negotiable, I’ll add that one of my friends negotiated a lab tech position for his then gf (now wife – she also ended up going to grad school there a year later).

      Basically, if there’s something that helps you, might as well ask!

  91. Lalaith*

    When I was just starting in my field, I was offered a job that had advertised a salary range of $X – $X+10k. They explained that since I didn’t have much experience in the industry yet, they were going to start me at the bottom of the salary range, but we could revisit it after 6 months. It was already almost twice what I was making in my “temporary” I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life job (that lasted two years), so I was thrilled and didn’t argue.

    6 months later, I had to remind them of this arrangement, but they did give me a performance review (the only one I ever had in the 6 years I worked there). It was stellar. They literally said they couldn’t think of anything I could do to improve. So… I asked to be bumped up to the top of the range that they had posted when they were hiring. A $10k raise. And I got it!

    After reading AAM for so many years, I’m not sure if I’d agree to an arrangement like that again – you can never be sure if a company is going to hold to a promised future adjustment, and we never agreed how much it would be, and I don’t think I even got it in writing (!!) – but luckily they were good people, and I did good work, so it worked out.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Yeah, you got very lucky. I’m glad your employer has integrity, though, and kept their word.

  92. CPandaBear85*

    I used tips from various articles I found on this blog to negotiate my current position’s salary. I literally wrote out a script of talking points and practiced saying it so when they called I would be ready. I have been underpaid pretty much my whole career, but this company has notoriously paid well and surprisingly during the interview & application process, they didn’t ask about my previous/current salary, only what I expected to make in this role. After applying and interviewing, the position was changed from an analyst to a manager position with no direct reports. It also came with a VP title and is just a few levels below the C-Suite, 4 weeks vacation time and 2 weeks sick time (unlike my prior company where it was all one pot of 24 days), and included a 15% bonus based on company performance- all of which was beyond anything I could have expected or even dreamed to ask for. They offered exactly what I put on the application and I asked for an additional $10k based on the change to the manager title and to cover increased healthcare and transportation expenses since I was coming from a company that paid most of my medical insurance and was 100% remote. I also felt my education and experience warranted it, especially after researching similar pay in my area for comparable positions. Ultimately they were able to offer me $5k more than the original offer, so just $5k below my counter offer. With the bonus and increase it ended up being about a 60% pay increase (life changing). I was also eligible for the annual increase and a prorated bonus because I started before the deadline for that year, so my salary bumped up $2500 and I received about $4k in a bonus after barely 6 months on the job. I am now just shy of a 6 figure salary (which I think I can break in the next 12 months) and feel like I have almost fully recovered from graduating college during the recession which depressed my salary for years and not negotiating previous positions.

    1. CPandaBear85*

      For better context- I was making about $64k at my last job, asked for $75k on initial analyst application, had to resubmit application for the manager position when they changed the role and wanted to make an offer, so put $85k, which they offered and I countered at $95k. Final offer was $90k, and current salary is $92500 after merit raise. Bonus will be near $14k at 15% (15% is a minimum, they can offer more if we do better overall, which is what happened with my prorated bonus earlier this year) and if I get any kind of grade promotion, it’s an additional 1% per grade increase for the bonus plus whatever the bump in salary is.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        This is wonderful and inspiring. I too hope to be able to reach six figures within the next couple of years. I also graduated in 2009, couldn’t find a job until late 2010, and I was only making $8/hour at that job. The recession was a bitch, but I’m glad to see people rebounding from it.

  93. Just a thought*

    My current job is with a super small company. Before I signed the offer letter, I asked over email “Would it be possible to get more money and an extra week of vacation?”. I got $5k more and the extra week!

    I think I went too low with what I asked for originally though, so that might be why I got it so easily. I still need to negotiate a raise

  94. Errol*

    My first (and only sadly) was accidental. The rest of them I always seem to chicken out on, but I’m hoping for an offer in the next few days I’ll try these on!

    The accidental one: I was moving from retail to a reception position. The salary was advertised at $35k/yr, which was almost double my current pay and salary over hourly, so I didn’t negotiate. The thing is, I signed on and on my first paycheck I noticed I was getting paid $30k/yr. My lack of experience dropped the range and they didn’t tell me (I was a first hire for the new HR lady). What ever, still way more then I was making, better hours, etc and still more then the going range around then for reception (was about $25k/yr to 35k/yr).
    Business started picking up and they wanted me to move into AP full time and hire a new receptionist. I wasn’t that keen on the idea, but I considered it until I got the offer. For $35k/yr. I saw that number staring at me, thought about it over night then marched my butt back into my bosses office and turned down the position because that’s what they had initially valued the reception at, so why would I take on significantly more work for the same price (my actual words, professionalism was still being learned…). I ended up getting a raise to $45k/yr out of just saying no to the promotion at that price.

    1. Errol*

      I still think the funniest part of that was that I didn’t even realize that was ‘negotiation’ until I got promoted again and my boss was teasing me about getting a better raise as last time I ‘nailed them to the wall and they didn’t want that again’. In my unfamiliar to business mind (again, coming from retail) salary offers were all take or leave it offer and I chose to leave it.

  95. RainyDay*

    The salary range was stated up front. I was THRILLED at the opportunity because it represented a minimum 15% raise over what I had. I was offered the job at the bottom of the range (through a recruiter, not my future boss, which does make this easier). Because it was already a big bump, I was tempted to just say thanks and call it a day. But my SO was adamant that I ask for more money. I was deeply uncomfortable with it – I’d been in my industry for many, many years but never had the standing to ask for what I could here. I reached out to a good friend whose career trajectory I wanted to emulate, and they enthusiastically told me to “know your worth, and add tax.”

    So, I wrote to the recruiter and said that because the health insurance was structured differently than at my current job and would cost more (true), could we bump to Top of Range + $5k? He wrote back and said he couldn’t hit that, but got approval for Top of Range. And just like that, I got several thousand more in my salary – on which my recent merit raise was based!

  96. hobbittoes*

    I got a new job in November. It’s at a state university hospital, so salaries are disclosed online. The job posting listed 58k to commersurate as the salary. They wanted someone with at least 2 years experience, and I had 5, so after asking about cost of living increases (which this job has, but they’re usually just 1-2%), I asked for $61k and got it! This was literally a 50% increase from my last position, and the benefits are better, too!

      1. hobbittoes*

        I was amazed! HR at my old place was like, “hey we can offer you a raise, maybe even match what they’re offering. How much of an increase is it?” And I told him 50% and he basically said, “Oh yeah you gotta take that! Good for you!”

  97. Polymer Phil*

    Whoever says a number first loses. As a job-hunter, you’ll either leave money on the table with a lowball number, or scare them off with a highball number.

    I’ve had success worming out of answering this question by saying things like “if your company pays competitively, which I expect you do, the pay should not be a problem.” If you’ve been in your current position for a long time and getting inflation raises every year, it’s very likely that the number they give you will be a nice bump if they have a good understanding of the market rate for the position.

    The hiring manager often has more leeway to give you an extra week of vacation than more money – take advantage of this, especially if you’re an experienced worker and looking at dropping from 3 or 4 weeks vacation to 1 or 2 weeks with no seniority at a new job. Many companies now start experienced professionals at 3 weeks in order to be more competitive with the candidates’ current jobs.

    1. John B Public*

      That first statement is a popular one, but often not true.

      There’s a concept called “anchoring” you should look up. Basically negotiations tend to revolve around the first number named, and if you know the market well enough you should be able to know what you’re worth, and use anchoring to ensure you’ll end up with compensation you’re happy with.

  98. Lucette Kensack*

    Salary ranges and targets are transparent in my organization. When I was offered my first job here, they offered the bottom end of the published salary range, which was obviously way off base for my experience. (I had 3x the experience requirement + a relevant, “preferred but not required” graduate degree).

    I called the hiring manager and said something along the lines of this: “I’m thrilled to be offered the position, but I have to say that I was taken aback by the salary offer. I am looking for [the high end of the range].”

    (I was also taking a very significant pay cut to come into this position, which the hiring manager knew — at least, he knew that I was coming from a more senior role, at an org that is known to have higher-than-average salaries. I addressed that directly as well: “As you know, I’m taking a significant pay cut to take this role. I understand the range and that you’re not going to be able to meet my current salary — that’s no problem! But I do need to land closer to $HighEndNumber.”)

    The hiring manager agreed and asked me to send him an email that outlined my specific experience that would put me at the top of the range, so he could forward it to HR. I did, and I ended up getting $1,000 less than the top of the range (“So I have room for an increase next year” — insert eyeroll emoji). It was a 22% increase from what they had initially offered me.

    1. Lucette Kensack*

      The flip side has been that I’ve had to fight for years to get appropriate raises since then (appropriate as per our organization’s transparent salary policies). After three years I finally had my title (and salary) adjusted to reflect the role that I’m actually in (as opposed to the lower-level role that they’ve kept me classified at), and they still aren’t giving me 100% of the target salary for that role, so it’s an going battle. But I did win one when I was brought on!

  99. Bethany*

    I work in higher ed and there’s been a salary freeze the whole time I’ve been here (three years). Of course, my job duties keep increasing and we have lost some benefits while we see athletics staff earning millions.

    Feeling very demoralized, I looked into options and found out there’s an option for me to request a salary increase as long as it’s within my pay grade and I can justify it with an updated and expanded job description. One benefit of working at a public institution is that salary info is also public. So I was able to make a case for an in-range salary adjustment based on several factors, including my expanded job duties and the salaries of comparable employees across campus. It worked! I got a 10 percent raise!

    1. BethDH*

      Thanks for this! Can you explain how you found out about that option? Was it just on the HR website or did you find it through a search or an equity committee or something? I feel like higher ed HR stuff is often very labyrinthine to navigate, especially making sure you’re reading the latest pdf of whatever policy is and figuring out exactly which policy document has the information you need.

  100. Tomasala*

    I negotiated in government where they say it can’t be done! I was making $56K at my current job and the range for my position was listed as $60-88k. After the hiring manager made the offer, HR called me to talk about salary. HR asked how much I wanted within that range. I said $78-80k. She came back with $70k and said “this is the exact amount you are entitled to based on your years of work experience.” (OK…if that were true, why wouldn’t you have just led with that?) I used an Alison script and said “I’m torn. I’m really excited about this job and I think it would be a great fit. At the same time, $70k is too low for me to leave my current job. If you can offer $75 I’d be happy to accept.” She called back the next day and offered $73k, which I took and was happy with. And our annual step increases and union-negotiated increases mean that 2.5 years later I’m at $81k, which I’m very happy with!

    1. Tomasala*

      To clarify, I was making $56k at my old (non-government) job and $60-88k was the range for the new (government) position.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        $56k to $73k is a nice jump – kudos, especially negotiating in government!

  101. [insert witty username here]*

    I know this goes against AAM best practice, but I did leverage another job offer for almost a $17K salary increase + they put me on a promotion plan for the next year (which I got, along with another almost $5K increase).

    But what I wanted to point out was the negotiating that I did do. When I came back to them with my other offer of $90K, they wanted to meet me at $85K. I pushed back a little and they met me at $87.5K. I had also asked to go ahead and be promoted in title at that point, but they asked if they could wait until the following year to officially promote me so that they could give me another increase at that time, which I agreed to and they followed through on.

    Also – the timing helped on this one! In my company, it is a lot easier to get raises and promotions pushed through during our regular yearly appraisal cycle and I came to them just before they finalized the raises for the year, so they were able to get my $17K raise pushed through as a yearly merit increase instead of an out of cycle raise, thereby making my $5k raise and promotion the next year easier to push through as well.

    1. GradStudent*

      I wasn’t under the impression Alison thinks leveraging jobs was an issue, as long as A) There is actually another job, an B) You are actually willing to walk if they don’t meet your request.

      1. [insert witty username here]*

        In general, yes, I agree that it shouldn’t be done unless you’re truly willing to take the other job (I was), but Alison has given a lot of other reasons why in general, it’s usually not great. I tend to agree with her, but I know this is one aspect of my company that isn’t terribly progressive so I went for it anyway (and again, I did actually have another offer and I was willing to take it – it would have been a good move for me, but *shrugs*)

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Hey, I did it too to get what I asked for at my current company – it worked.

  102. Old fat Lady*

    No success stories here but it’s great to read about them. I now realize how terrible I was at negotiating my salary!

    Part of the problem was that I worked in government agencies at the start of my career. The rate was set so I never had to negotiate. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t realize they wouldn’t just offer you what they thought you are worth.

    When my last boss suddenly offered me a $2.00 hr raise, I said “thank you”. Instead I should have said I was underpaid by at least $10 hr (which I was). I honestly thought it would be rude to ask for more – it was just stupid.

  103. anonyanon*

    When I was offered my first position at my current employer, the person making the offer clearly thought I was possibly being low-balled and said, “I’m going to give you a number, but we had a hard time finding information about comparable salaries, so let me know if it’s low.” And it was low, so I added to it and got what I wanted. I was in a position where I had other offers in the works, so I could walk away, but this was the job I really wanted.

    When I was offered a promotion, I was pretty severely unhappy with the increase, and I said that I would need $X in order to take the promotion and that otherwise I was happy staying put in my current position. (Which was true–I didn’t want the additional responsibility if I wasn’t going to be compensated for it!) They gave me what I wanted again, without any fuss.

    I think they weren’t intentionally low-balling me either time, but I’m in a specialized job where it’s hard to find comps on salaries. But it was surprisingly easy to ask for more, and it kills me to hear of people who don’t do it. The worst that can happen is they say no! In my job, the people coming up with those numbers aren’t the people I interact with every day and who understand the work I do and the value I bring. That’s probably true in a lot of jobs. If you ask for more, you give those people who do understand an opportunity to advocate for you (which is, I suspect, what happened for me, especially with the promotion).

  104. PopJunkie42*

    I’ve never negotiated a huge bump but I have always asked for more and usually come out with a few thousand from the experience. Once even over e-mail! I work at a state university so salary ranges are typically posted (or easily found) and I can also look up what other people are making, which is helpful (but also sad when you see how underpaid so many people are!!!!). Unfortunately in our work you typically have to leave for a new job to actually get a significant bump…while my last job did give me $500-1000 raises each year, our head would CONSTANTLY talk about how there was NO money and nobody should ever ask for or expect anything. He was so surprised when I left (????). Lesson to managers: if you are always telling your staff you have no money to pay them fairly, the good ones will leave to where they can get that $$.

    Allison’s initial post came at exactly the right time as I was negotiating my new position just a few days after. They offered me middle of the range and I have 10+ years experience and am pretty great, so I wanted to get to the top of the range. I was very nervous nonetheless but I kept it really simple – I had just interviewed and they knew my resume so I didn’t feel like I needed to pitch my specific qualifications again. I simply said, “I was hoping to get closer to the top of the range, at $X.” Immediate supervisor told me it was up to the Dean, I put it in writing for him and he forwarded it along, and I got a revised offer within a few hours. I got around a $2k bump from the initial offering, and I still wanted to be about $2k higher, but this just means they have some wiggle room to make it up to me in a raise next year once I actually know what I’m doing. I wanted this job to be a long-term thing (I have jumped around a lot) so I was more generally looking for a range where I knew I’d feel comfortable for quite a few years.

    I’ve had the same experiences in the past – I’ve never done a flashy presentation or anything, just “I was really hoping for $X instead” or “do you have some flexibility to increase that?” and I usually see at least a little bit for my efforts. It’s always nerve-wracking but I have never regretted asking for more!

  105. Ann*

    When I interviewed for my current position, they made the offer over the phone. I was very nervous but explained that if I stayed in the job I was in, I had the promotional potential for 11% over their offer and asked them to meet that. They agreed to the higher salary immediately. I was shocked at how easy it had been, but also kicked myself for not asking for more!

  106. Damn it, Hardison!*

    I successfully negotiated a salary offer, and only later realized did so under my mistaken understanding. I was leaving my 12 year career in academic libraries to move to the corporate world. I received a job offer just shy of six figures, which was my goal. I countered and we eventually split the difference to raise the offer by $5000. Several months later at my first review my manager handed me my compensation packet, that showed my bonus and stock options for that year, and the targets for the next. I had no idea that we got bonuses and stock options every year, I thought it was a one-time thing. (To be fair, one of my work friends who was hired just after me had the same reaction. It made me think that perhaps they didn’t explain it very well.)

  107. Orchestral Musician*

    Posting under my username, but talking about my part-time non-orchestral-musician job here. I just asked for a raise this week because I’m doing completely different work than what I was hired to do almost two years ago, and my boss’s reaction was “Oh my goodness, I feel bad that I didn’t see that this was necessary months ago. Of course.” (Thanks Alison — I read a LOT of posts on here to get advice.)

  108. Lily in NYC*

    My dad actually tried to negotiate his salary in the wrong direction once! He was always uncomfortable asking for anything for himself even though he made a very good living. He retired young and then moved into a role at a national organization in his area of expertise). When they told him the salary, it was much higher than he expected and he said, “Nah, how about XXX instead?”, which was 20K less. Thank goodness the guy offering my dad the job knew him pretty well and told him to shut up and stop being a weirdo. We also had a yard sale once where my dad ended up giving almost everything away for free when my mom left for a few minutes. He gave someone my trumpet; I’m still butt-hurt over it!

  109. TechWorker*

    Way down so Alison probably won’t see it but I would love stories of successful title negotiation.

    I got an effective title demotion a while back – because the company was acquired and the role I do doesn’t really fit into their system (it’s between two grades, but there’s a big pay/benefits difference between the two). I reckon a good 70% of my role is at the higher grade (literally no-one else in my company at my grade has project lead responsibility) but I got absolutely nowhere from discussing this with my manager.

  110. TL -*

    First job, they offered $28, I think? And I said, “I was hoping to start closer to $30k.” The lady was a little shocked but she got me an extra $500 and my boss was thrilled that I had negotiated.

    Second job, they offered me to the top of my range (which was too low, sigh – I was moving to a high COL) but I asked for and got a relocation allowance for a research assistant job in academia.

    Third job, HR called and I gave my range pre-interview, she says the high end is out but we can do lower end. Post interviews (two months later), HR calls again to finalize my offer, only it’s a different woman, back from maternity leave. She asks my range, I tell her (40-50k), she’s shocked and says “I don’t think we can do that for this job.” I said, “okay, but 40K is the lowest I can go,” in a pretty neutral, that’s a shame tone of voice (I was dead serious and would not have taken it for $39,999.99.)

    They came back with a title bump and an offer a little over 1K above my minimum. And the job was awesome and the benefits were really good!

  111. Lisa B*

    The hiring manager did my offer over the phone, and said the salary was X. I said “hmm, I may need some time to think on this. From the research I’d done I was expecting more X+5 to X+10.” Then I took Alison’s tip and just stopped talking. He immediately said “yes, yes, that absolutely makes sense, let me do some checks and get back to you.” He updated the offer to X+7 that same day.

  112. socrescrentfresh*

    First job out of grad school, at a small nonprofit. I was offered $38k, which seemed a princely sum to me at the time (circa 2008). But just because I’d been told to negotiate it, I said “Is there room in the budget to go up to $40k?” As rationale I described how I wanted to be able to fly cross-country to visit my family for special occasions. The executive director smiled and said “Good for you for pushing back.” Done and done. Probably not a typical story, as she was compassionate and committed to mentoring young employees. But I’ll never forget her supportive reaction.

  113. Zombeyonce*

    I have negotiated in most jobs and it usually gets me more, even when I wasn’t in the best position.

    Story 1
    In one job, I mostly only did so well because I was wary about the company. I had found a job posting online for entry-level IT support work and it was super vague. No company name, no identifying information about what the company did, and just a few lines about the job as a whole. I applied because, why not? But when I got a call from them, I was very suspicious. It was also going to be an hour commute each way.

    I told them that I doubted they wanted to pay me what it would cost for me to drive that far to work every day (when my current commute was 15 minutes) and that I wasn’t sure the job was really a good fit for me after hearing a tiny bit more about it (not really true, but I was trying to politely turn it down). I said I’d need a minimum of $40k just to consider it (when I was making more like $25k at the time in the small town where I lived). I ended the call.

    The next day I got a call back, this time from the manager, who told me they really liked my background and that they could definitely meet that number and go slightly higher. I agreed to an interview and ended up taking the job. I worked there for 4 years and made it through 6 rounds of layoffs (as an eventual remote worker) before I got laid off myself.

    I got a big salary jump in that job simply because a job posting was written so badly I thought it might be a scam!

  114. Mousey293*

    Years ago I was working at a company for $X, and applied for a job where they’d sent me a salary band, where the lowest salary was $X+10. I was told outright that they loved me and that I far outshone any other applicants. When they went to offer me the job, however, they apologized and said that they’d accidentally sent me the incorrect salary band originally, and the correct salary band had the highest salary at $X-2, but that they’d managed to get me an offer of $X.

    I was annoyed at the bait and switch but really wanted the job. But – even had I been okay without any salary increase, there was a complication: my current job did tuition reimbursement which I had recently utilized to complete a master’s degree, and leaving at that moment would incur me about $8k in debt to the old company. So I turned around to them and said: “I’m disappointed in that salary level, as it would not be an increase, but I also just can’t afford to leave my company at that salary as I will owe them $8k.” I countered with $X+2 AND they take care of the debt as a signing bonus, or $X+10. They came back with $X+8, which I happily accepted. Definitely preferred that avenue since the salary would cover the debt repayment the first year and I’d still be getting it in years following!

    That’s my only experience so far in negotiating salaries or raises and was about 9 years ago. I’m about to negotiate for a raise at a different company now – wish me luck, y’all! I definitely have the salary data and and I know they value me a lot, so here’s hoping it goes well.

  115. Zombeyonce*

    Writing my other story separately to make it easier to read.

    Story 2
    I was working as a temp after getting laid off when I got a job offer from my current company that I’ve been at for 8 years. I was so excited about it that I immediately accepted everything they said on the phone, including the salary.

    Once I hung up, I realized that I should definitely have asked for more money because why leave money on the table? I thought about how I was an idiot for letting my excitement get the better of me and I decided to make a really awkward call back to the hiring manager right then. I called and told them how excited I was but that I brought ___, ___, and ___ to the table and that I’d appreciate it if they considered starting me at a higher salary. The manager sounded not super happy at this (understandably, since I had literally just accepted the job), but said she’d have to check w/HR and let me know. An hour later, I had a new job starting at step 2 in hand! That awkward call was definitely worth it.

    6 months later, I applied for a different position in the company better suited to my experience (after learning the hard way that the dept I was in was incredibly toxic). I was offered the job at step 1 and, remembering my awkward call from before, asked to think about it for a day.

    I called them back the next day and asked to start at step 3 instead because of my 3 solid years of experience doing that same kind of work. They accepted and I took the job. I’m still in that dept 7 years later and love my team and my salary, which has increased very nicely over the years w/raises and promotions!

  116. Lady Kelvin*

    My negotiation for the job I have now was a win and a lose. It is for a “contractor” role in a Federal Agency (I say “contractor” because it functions like a contractor except its not funded like a contractor and I’m a state employee) and in our location feds get untaxed COLA on top of their base salary. So when I got the offer for my job I calculated what I would have been getting as a Fed with the base + COLA and asked for that (it was about $5k more) and also asked for moving expenses as I had read in their benefits that they paid them. I didn’t get the increase as its a state job and pay is on a set scale, but I got $5k in moving expenses, which went a long way towards moving from DC to Hawaii. I just interviewed for the Fed position that I’m working as a contractor, and I expect to get an offer, and as long as I’m making as much as I do now (which is more because I’ve had several merit raises on top of COL raises) I’ll be happy.

  117. College Career Counselor*

    Below is an update from an advisee from a little over a year ago about her negotiations for a raise. The background: she’d been hired with a grad degree and slightly more experience than someone else, but was making substantially less than this person hired after her (probably due in part to salary compression issues). She’d been promised a “significant raise” for doing more work the year before, which had turned out to be 1% and was told “nobody else got anything–you should be happy with this.” Despite a subsequent raise (which her more highly paid colleague also got), she was still underpaid for the position and relative to the colleague. I gave her advice (culled from a variety of sources, especially AAM) on how to proceed, and here’s her report:

    “I just realized I had forgotten to let you know what happened with my salary negotiation situation that we discussed on the phone a few weeks ago. SPOILER – it went well!

    I met with our director of HR and was prepared with many facts and figures to help backup my claim that I deserved more money. I was also appreciative of the generous raise they had already given me (which was 14%). The conversation went very well and I didn’t get the vibe that she felt my ask was unreasonable. I asked for roughly 16% MORE than I had just been given in my initial raise. I felt a little ridiculous and am aware that this is a huge leap. When you took that out of the equation though it was extremely reasonable and still on the low end of every salary calculator and reference point I looked at for my position. This was even when I plugged in the most conservative figures for years experience, skills, etc.

    It took a lot of back and forth behind the scenes and I only just heard the final decision last week. They ended up meeting me in the middle – which means I just got a total raise of 24%. That is pretty much unheard of and I am thrilled with how it turned out. There are still a lot of flaws at my company and I don’t see myself there forever but it’s good to know I am highly valued and listened to, so for now I am content. I really did not expect it to go that well. Great success!”

  118. GreenDoor*

    I was a member of a four-person team that did specialized work at a bank. Amy was in her 70’s and was upfront that she only wanted to work part-time for fun money and was “an old dog that doesn’t want to learn new tricks.” Annie had just retired. Avery quit to go to college full-time. Leaving me, the only employee with the full skill set and the williness to take on new responsibilities. Our work was compliance related – nothing that could be set aside while recruiting and training new people. I asked for a raise. I was told I was already at the top of the pay scale. I pointed out that I’m doing increased work with increased responsibility so could I get a title change and the pay increase that goes with it? No can do….but they maaaaay be able to give me a raise next year.

    I quit. And moved on to a job in public service, where I’ve been for 20 years, with steady advancement all along the way. I consider the willingness to walk away from a “no” a success!

  119. Nonmember*

    Our office had no room for advancement, but I had been working my butt off before review time with my VP, which had been acknowledged. In the review, I said, “I know there’s no room for promotion, but do we have any room on my salary?” Then I just waited. She asked me what comparables were for my role, and I told her $2,500 more than my current salary (I had researched). She talked to HR and came back with a $4,000 raise instead. Also, this was in higher ed, so it’s possible to get a raise in higher ed, friends!

  120. anony nonprofit mouse*

    I think my story says more about the importance of context a job seeker might not have than any negotiating skills I might have.

    I applied for a job in Expensive Coastal City, which was highly specialized and technical but at a (large, successful, financially stable) non-profit. The job was posted without a salary range, but based on the description, my research of the market, and the org’s 1099s I estimated it should be $90k at the low end. The application asked for my lowest acceptable salary (ugh) and I put $85k, which was my actual floor for Expensive Coastal City (it still would have been a significant increase since I was living in Affordable Midwest City at the time). No one mentioned salary at any of my interviews, and since they did not ask me to fly out (such a red flag in retrospect) I did not broach the topic. After three rounds of interviews the hiring manager offered me the job at $65k. I thanked him and said I had to think about it. I called him back a day later, said I was excited about the offer, but that I would not be able to accept for under $80k, and then said nothing. He said he would have to talk to HR and would get back to me.

    I did not think there was a chance in hell I was going to get a $15k increase over the initial offer, but based on the job description $65,000 was laughable and there was no way I was going to take the job at that salary, so I figured I had nothing to lose. The hiring manager called me back two days later and accepted my $80k counter offer.

    Months and months later, after taking the job and finding out it was a spiraling, endless nightmare, I found out that the org had offered the job to one candidate before me. That candidate got offered $60k and countered with $120k, which honestly is about market rate for the job they advertised. I’m sure the only reason they accepted my $80k is that someone before me asked for way more, and I seemed reasonable (a bargain!) in comparison.

  121. Anon personal stories*

    Here is a reverse case early in my career. I asked for $X, and got $X+2K. So I felt indebted to my manager, and it was a lesson I took forward. $X was perfectly reasonable based on what I knew of peer salaries.

    Otherwise, I have had a negotiation where I said – sorry, I can’t accept this, when we had gone back and forth and I didn’t like their counter to my counter. I thought that was the end of it, but within a relatively short time, I got a call back that they had accepted my counteroffer. It helps to have a job when you do this type of brinkmanship. Then the next year, my manager said that I could not have a raise, because I had negotiated a high starting point. I ended up getting some small amount after protest, but I did leave within a year. I don’t regret that, but the point is that being chintzy does not really help in the long run, in my opinion. Then again, that company has done all right.

    I have had a negotiation where the HR manager said we can’t give you too high a salary, because then you will have no room to grow. I still wanted the job and the location, and wanted to leave my current job, and it was a great fit, although the increase was paltry. But a couple months later, for the only time in my life where I have quit in such a short period, I was offered and took a much higher salaried job elsewhere.

  122. Hepzibah Pflurge*

    Several years ago, I interviewed for a newly-created position at a young (5 year old) company. The company had been growing rapidly, so the President and Senior Partner needed an EA. As is often the case for smaller companies, they wanted to pay below market value ($45k). Also typically, they didn’t really know what skills they needed.

    In the interview, they said, “Would $45k be enough?” I replied, “I think we all three know it isn’t enough, but here’s what I think we should do. I’ll take the job at that salary, and prove to you that I’m worth a lot more. Then we can have this conversation again in 30-60 days.” They laughed and said, “Fair enough.” 30 days later, my salary was $60K and I had also received a several thousand dollar bonus.

    On a related note, I find today’s comments interesting coming on the heels of the recent post about salary transparency. Surprises me that more of the commentariat isn’t sharing actual dollar figures, even though anonymity is an option. Perhaps the reluctance to share the specifics is more ingrained than we realize. I know I had to catch myself in this post and include the specific numbers.

    1. Anon personal stories*

      I didn’t include specifics, because then I would have to disclose location and currency, and that would remove anonymity.

  123. Gaia*

    I my current job, I didn’t actually expect to negotiate. We talked salary early and they were offering a range well within market pay and in line with what I wanted. And then I saw their benefit details. They are a much smaller organization and, as a result, the costs are much higher than I’m used to. So when they made me an offer I decided to ask for a bit more to compensate for the added cost.

    I emailed back telling them I was very excited about the offer and about working with them but that after considering the entire package, I would like to discuss the salary as I’d need $x+$2-4K in order to accept. They called me about 2 hours later and said they could go up $2k.

    It didn’t completely cover the additional benefits cost but it was still an increase and I was excited about the opportunity so I said yes!

    I was nervous but it was really straight forward.

  124. RaindropsonRoses*

    In 2010 I applied for a job that I had previously done as a temp (medical, non-union). In 2009 the state had added a second tier of certification, meaning you could XYZ I or XYZ II. In reality this didn’t add any job duties to the level II, it just restricted duties on level Is. I asked for a 30% raise from my previous jobs hourly wage. They initially tried to negotiate me down by asking “how many years experience I had as a XYZ II”. I replied I had gotten my license in early 2010. The male manager replied “oooo that’s a problem, so we probably won’t be able to accommodate that salary.” I asked how can anyone have years of experience with this license when it was only created a year prior, and I had x years experience with the old license, which involved the same skills.

    Reader, I got the job & my requested salary.

    1. RaindropsonRoses*

      Edited to add: I had never negotiated a wage before, and then I read women don’t ask for higher salaries or negotiate- which irritated me so bad I now always ask for more.

      1. John B Public*

        Awesome. I love hearing how knowing this has changed behavior for the better.

        Also your certification issue reminds me of software experience requirements in job postings that demand X+5 years experience in a language that was written only X years ago. So annoying.

  125. RedBlueGreenYellow*

    In my last salary negotiation, I was desperate to leave a bad (but highly-paid) position, and was looking to jump industries (same role, but entirely different processes and deliverables). I applied for a position that was a step down in terms of both title and salary, but in an industry that I really, really wanted to break into. I was hesitant to ask for too much, but was very clear that the top of the range offered was the bottom of what I could accept, and when the recruiter asked if I’d be willing to do a detailed benefits comparison between his company and my old company, I did. As a result, I ended up being offered:
    – A title bump
    – An increase in salary (+10K)
    – A signing bonus
    – A stock grant, vesting over 3 years, to bring my pre-bonus income up to at least my previous salary for the span of those 3 years
    So I feel like I could have been more direct in my negotiations, but there was goodwill and transparency on both sides that led to me getting a better offer than I was expecting.

  126. Greg*

    This was a dozen years ago. I was working for a Fortune 500 company but hated it and was also underpaid. I got an offer from a later-stage startup. The initial offer was only slightly higher than what I was making, but with a chance for a decent bonus.

    At the meeting where they made the offer, I took out a notebook and wrote down every detail I could get: base, bonus, what the bonus was based on (individual vs. team performance), vacation, benefits, etc. If they didn’t tell me I asked. Once I had all that info, the first thing I did was thank the hiring manager and tell him I was definitely interested. Then I said I would need some time to think about it, and that the base salary was a little bit lower than I had been expecting. We left it that I would take a day or two to think it over and get back to him.

    I called him back the next day and was pretty transparent about the fact that I didn’t really like the idea of a lateral salary move, so I asked for a higher base. He called me back shortly and countered with the base I was asking for, but no bonus for the rest of that year (it was already June). The net result was that I got the same total package they had originally offered, but it was guaranteed as base. I accepted.

  127. Better Ed than Med*

    At the end of an interview that had gone very well, the person who would be my supervisor told me that the rate was $X to $Y, solidly in the middle of our area’s average for this type of position. I said promptly, “Oh, I will accept Y.” He blinked and said, “Well, okay, that is the top end of our range. Talk to me about why you’d ask for that.” I said, “First of all, that’s what I got at my previous position, and while there is a lot here that I think I could learn, I don’t want to take a pay cut. And second, no false modesty: It sounds like I would be an excellent fit for this job and would bring the company a lot.” He said simply, “Okay.” I got the job and the salary I’d asked for, as well as a solid raise every year since.

    In retrospect, I could have kicked myself–was negotiating always so straightforward? Damn! I should’ve been doing that for years!

  128. SA*

    The only tricky thing I had to navigate was asking over the phone vs email. I’m about to start new job at my first HUGE company (used to working for itty bitty NFP’s) and so I had an HR manager running all the offer details by me, not the hiring manager and the HR manager was impossible to get on the phone. I asked for a phone meeting via email and she responded with ” Can you let me know the details so I can be prepared? ” Basically forcing my hand to ask for more via email. I laid out ” I want more money and / also more vacation days and / or a guaranteed Work From Home Day” And I got 2 out of 3 (cash and WFH.) All my friends are BLOWN AWAY and it makes me sad that so many of us are scared to ask for what we want. I’m still not getting paid enough/what I’m even worth because that’s a market issue, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna be too scared to ask! Just be calm, cool and direct like, duh. We all work for money. That’s ok!

  129. KayDay*

    I’m not a great negotiator, but every time I’ve given my salary requirements first (the big no-no!) I’ve ended up with a salary I was happy with, at least initially. this has happened twice.

    Time one (very junior/entry level job) I was an excellent match to the position (on paper at least). When asked what salary I was looking for, I tried to be vague and get them to say their range first, but was unsuccessful. So I just said the range I was actually looking for. they said that they were expecting to pay about 15-20% less than what I wanted. I was also asked about my previous salary, which I gave. They ended up offering me the middle of the range I had asked for. I was quite satisfied at first, although after a couple of year I began to feel like it was too low.

    The second time (junior/mid level) I was in a weird place in life while looking for a job; I simultaneously was desperate and didn’t care if I got the job (long story). After previously failing so miserably to get out of providing salary expectations first, this time when asked I just said what I wanted. I gave the lowest figure that I thought I would be happy with. They claimed it was slightly above their range, but I was offered what I asked for anyway. I was very happy with the salary. I later found out that I was in the lower end of the range for jobs at my level, but overall I was happy with my compensation. However, I didn’t stay in that job long, and since that employer had a strict (and often considered unfair by other staff) policy regarding how much of a raise was allowed even for staff who had been promoted or moved to very different jobs I might have become less happy with my salary over time. Quite a few people left and later returned due to the policy regarding raises.

  130. Ed*

    In my previous role, at my last 1:1 before going into year end review, I brought up my salary with my boss. I was one of the top performers on my team and paid the least. I laid out what I knew and the value I brought. she said to leave it with her and she’d see what she could do. a week later I got an off cycle 6% raise. 2 months later at our regular raise cycle I got another 6%. She also got me 111% of my yearly bonus that year. so I was relatively happy. still not where I wanted to be but much better. the following year I busted my gut to prove my worth for another raise but in December my boss left. Interim manager gave me 2.5% increase and 134% of my bonus saying she’d had to fight even for that. I left that job a few months later and got a 17% increase to base salary in my current role. Plus bonuses here are much better :)

  131. birdie*

    I negotiated my salary at my current job, but I wouldn’t call it a “success.” The job listing salary was XXK, and when I was offered the job they offered Xx.5K (lower) so I asked for XXK and they agreed.

    My raise negotiation was interesting. I spoke to my colleagues about salaries, and how their negotiations went. It sounded like I could expect 5-6%, so when my boss asked me what number I had in mind, I said 8%. She said, “I was thinking more like 10%”!!!!! I was obviously pleased with this result if not a little caught off guard. I would consider this a success with a huge learning lesson: let my boss put a number out there first so that I even have something to negotiate with. *sigh* next time

  132. Potatoe*

    CLIFFNOTES VERSION; what worked for me during salary negotiations after an acquisition:
    – Working my tail off the first few weeks to give folks a good impression of their new employee (uh and then keeping up the good work)
    – At the same time, waiting a few weeks to get the lay of the land with the new company, figure out what the new company and executives valued
    – Focusing on my value from a business standpoint, with numbers if possible, giving myself time to prepare and practice
    – Keeping my tone and attitude friendly and collaborative– I’m sure there are companies and roles out there where a more aggressive approach would have gotten better results, but not this one

    TL;DR version:
    I may have told this story before, but hey!! For background, I live in a super hcol area (one of the highest in the country) with a BA. I was the marketing person/primary admin in a small professional firm, and my boss was retiring, so we were getting acquired by a larger firm. Two weeks prior to the acquisition announcement, I had negotiated a 10 percent raise with my boss during my annual review– from 50k to 55k, and he had given me a tentative yes… but asked for a little time to put it into effect. And then the announcement came, and well, there it was. They’d agreed to buy out the firm and its employees at their previous wages, so no, my new salary wouldn’t be applied. I wasn’t thrilled but… I hadn’t changed anything in my life to account for the tentative raise, and I didn’t even know if I would like this new company, so I figured I’d get a sense of how the new firm worked and then start up negotiations again from there.

    The transition itself was a whirlwind, mostly good with some bad. I liked most of the people in the new firm, and I got a better sense of the work environment– fast paced, lots of on-the-fly changes, a lot of pitching in and bailing each other out, and a preference for people who were able to be flexible and adapt without complaint. When I did bring up the raise, it was about 8 weeks in, and the response was… professional but VERY NEGATIVE, haha. I was told (nicely) that I was already making the VERY top of the band for an admin, and we were far too early into my employment to be requesting such an outrageously high raise. It was…. a huge bummer and I’d like to say that I didn’t take it personally at all, but it took me a couple of days to cool my jets because frankly, everything they said made perfect business sense.

    I requested a conversation anyway for the following week anyway, and then sat down and spent an hour or two outlining what I would say– how the skills and experience and connections I had made in my role were going to benefit the firm in tangible ways. And then, I wrote up a bunch of “scripts” emphasizing how I was flexible and willing to pitch in and do anything and everything, and practiced reading them aloud to myself so that they would sound natural and confident. It was a lot like preparing for an internal job interview.

    On selling myself: I talked about how I did more than just admin work– I’d learned and grown and taken on higher and higher levels of responsibility with my old firm. I could connect the firm with [insert all these people I knew], your grandma and your dog for referrals. I had developed XYZ processes which improved our numbers ABC%. I knew how to plan marketing events for clients and professionals from A to Z– and bring them in afterward to do more business with us. This is how much money I’d brought into the previous firm with my efforts– and that’s how much money I could bring in if you positioned me in X or Y way.

    My “interviewer” — the company controller– was audibly surprised by my prepwork. She’d come in expecting to me to discuss my educational background, my conversation with my old boss (she brought all those up), and maybe why or how I needed the raise, but I spent my time pitching all the soft skills she didn’t know I’d built up, and then adding a lot of “Well, this is my experience, this is what I can do– but ultimately I’m flexible, I want to be useful, and I want to help out!! Tell me what I can best do to grow with our company!!!” I barely even talked about the amount of money I wanted (they knew what I wanted), and I didn’t bring up the possibility of leaving if I didn’t get what I wanted (I knew I could leave), just that if a raise wasn’t possible at this point, what steps could I take to make it possible next year? In this specific case, I was the opposite of forceful, because I felt like getting pushy would actually hurt my chances.

    As a result of advocating for myself, I got an 8% raise– not QUITE what I was asking for, but I was very happy with it!

  133. Ace*

    I went into my salary review meeting a few years ago with a figure in mind that I would be happy with. The figure offered was less than that, so I said so (directly, and without emotion), and explained the ways my role had grown in the last year, and the additional responsibilities I’d taken on in that time. I told my manager the figure I had in mind, and they said they would talk with HR and get back to me, which didn’t fill me with confidence. But a couple of days later they came back and offered me what I had asked for. It was only a matter of a few $K, but I was proud of myself for speaking up and asking for what I was worth.

  134. YetEvenAnotherAlison*

    After my initial interview with the company, we both decided we wanted to continue the process. I was beyond excited because what they told me – before I gave any great detail on what I was looking for – aligned almost exactly to what I was looking for in my next position. I knew I would be great in the role and I asked for 45% more than I currently was earning as well as a sign-on bonus. I did not try to justify, I kept is short and sweet – no more words than necessary and when I delivered my salary request over the phone I smiled when I said the number. Then I STOPPED TALKING – They said yes and I love my job!

  135. Enginear*

    Not me but a friend recently went to their boss and told them they were thinking of leaving the company. He walked out with a $2/hr raise lol

  136. AskForIt*

    First time commenter here! Just to share my negotiation story. It was my first review/raise negotiation at a small company I was working for (and really excelling in). My previous two (!) raises had been given to me, unprompted, for my good work, so I knew I had standing to ask for what I wanted.
    What I wanted was more vacation time – not more money. My boss gave big, BIG raises, none of that standard 3% stuff, these were big raises. So my plan was to go into the negotiation and whatever number he offered me for a new salary, I was going to ask for $1k less and 5 more days PTO.
    Well, on the spot, he and I had a miscommunication. (He said he was going to raise my salary by $5,400/year, but I thought he meant he was going to raise my salary to $54,000/year, because he did the rich person thing of just saying “54” instead of “five thousand four hundred”.) So I asked for $53,000/year and 5 more days of PTO. And then I realized our miscommunication, and that I was asking for basically $7k/year more than he was offering PLUS 5 more days of paid time off. I opened my mouth to correct myself, but before I did, he said ok!!! He agreed!!! I was FLOORED. It was a HUGE lesson in asking for what you want!

    I had to leave that job a couple years later (it was an abusive environment, and he used very competitive wages to keep people at the company, knowing that they would have to take a pay cut to leave since he paid so well). But I miss those giant raises.

  137. Everdene*

    Thanks everyone for sharing this. I’m preparing to ask my (new to me) line manager for a title and salary bump so I’m finding these stories both inspirational and super practical. To add to the mix here’s my story.

    2 1/2 years ago I was at a job where I believed in the mission, loved the job duties but had a awful boss and grandboss. When I handed in my notice (with no job to go to) the grandboss reminded me that I had just been approved for a £500pa pay rise which would bring me up to still grossly underpaid. A couple of weeks later I interviewed for what is now my job and when offered £x (30% above old job) I jumped at the chance. A few months later I was asked to prepare a budget for the following year and discovered one of my reports was paid more than me! I brought this up to my line manager (who had been on mat leave when I was hired) and before I had a chance to say what I wanted she said ‘add 15% to your salary in the budget and leave it with me’. After meeting with the SMT she came back and said I’d been approved for a 10% rise and passed my probation.

    2 years down the line I’ve worked bloody hard, turned the team around and I believe deserve to be paid more. In addition I keep being told I am ‘practically’ the level higher than my title – I’m going to ask to actually get that title. This evening I’ll be putting together my case ready for my next 121.

  138. Academic librarian*

    The job offer came from an R1 and it was $2,000 less than current my salary. 69,500
    I was moving across the country to a lower COL area but still…
    I looked up comp salaries for Assistant Professors in English departments at public universities.
    They ranged from 60,000 to 75,000. I also knew that increases after would be % and tiny at that.
    I said I thought their offer was low and that I was thinking in the range of 75,000 given my experience, present income and the responsibilities of the position.
    They said that their offer was fair, noted the COL difference and that the higher number would cause salary compression.
    I noted that librarians needed pay equity within the institution. I also noted that as a woman, I owed it to all women to negotiate. We laughed.
    They said they would check and get back to me.
    They came back with $71, 500, with a 6 month review.
    I said yes, and in 6 months was bumped up to 74,000.
    Six years later, I am at over 90,000.

    1. Waiting to be Future Endeavored*

      That’s awesome! I didn’t negotiate salary for my first librarian position because I was so excited to have a job and it felt like a lot of money after being in school for years. I did negotiate for the second, which was a lower salary than my first (but I needed to switch jobs). I was able to get more than offered and some moving expenses. My 3rd position paid more than the first two, and I received the offer over the phone. I don’t remember how much more I asked for — I didn’t get the full amount but did get more than offered. Later, they did a salary analysis and I was one of the people who got a bump, which just showed me that they should have paid me more in the first place.

  139. Taylor*

    I’m job searching right now. When recruiters ask what my salary range is, I turn the question around and ask if they can instead share their salary range for the position. I’ve been really surprised by the broad range of answers – one non-profit said their budget for the role was right around $100k. I was about to tell them that my range was $75 – 85k, therefore lowballing myself.

    I now ask all recruiters up front if they are willing to share the salary range first.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      While “non-profit” usually means “strapped for cash” or “we pay our executive director ridiculously well and pay below a living wage for everyone else,” there are a bunch of non-profits that do compensate reasonably well.

    2. Fortitude Jones*

      I did the same thing during my most recent job search (started seriously looking this January). Most recruiters were more than happy to tell me the range for the position, but a couple did try to flip it back on me – I stuck to my guns and didn’t give a range. Frustrated, they’d finally tell me theirs and then if it wasn’t high enough, I walked away.

  140. Whillowhim*

    My main salary negotiation success story comes from when I was finishing up grad school and looking for my first job in my field, which is in demand and tends to be well compensated. I applied to company A, and got an interview months later (they were in the middle of moving offices, so their hiring process was significantly delayed). By the time I went through the interview and they finished setting up an offer for me, I had a second interview lined up for company B. I told company A that their offer was interesting, but I wanted to finish the other interview with company B and make sure I covered my bases, and they were fine with waiting a bit to finalize things. After the interview with company B, I emphasized that I already had an offer from another company, so I needed to hear back from them quickly. I got a call an hour after the interview finished saying they were going to make an offer, but it would take a week to put everything together. The next week, company B offered me a higher salary than company A, but less bonuses and stock grants.

    Taking stock of what I was offered from both companies, I had an offer of $X salary and $Y in stock from company A, while company B offered $X+10 salary and $Y/2 in stock, both roughly equivalent in monetary value. I liked the feeling I got from company A more, so I wanted to end up there.

    I called up the hiring person for company A and was upfront about the numbers. I said “at this point, I’m leaning towards your company because I like the environment better, but if you could make this decision easier for me I would really appreciate it”. I didn’t ask for any specific number, just laid out what I was looking at, and emphasized that I didn’t especially trust stock as compensation, because the value could be highly variable. An hour later I had an offer from company A that matched the salary from company B, kept the higher amount of stock, and added the addition of a small signing bonus as well. I took it. I’m still here 7 years later, and because the raises have been percentage based, that initial difference has helped me every year.

    I think having two offers and being up-front about that really helped me leverage one against the other and land in the place I desired with the best possible salary. It helped that the offers were split up into stock, salary, and expected bonus, since I could highlight what was worse at the company I wanted to be at and downplay the part of their offer that was higher.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Great job! I got what I did from my current employer by leveraging another job offer as well. I really wanted to work for my current company (been here six weeks and love what I do so far!), but their initial offer was just too low when I knew someone else was willing to go higher. I hope I have your luck with my job and can talk about being here seven years from now.

  141. Random Thought*

    I worked at Government Agency with one peer in my role who had started a year before me. after 18 months we were reclassified to a higher grade and our union contract specified 7-10% raises for a promotion. because my peer had worked there longer, he was in a higher step in our original grade and made more $. when I got my raise, I was given less for that reason. I braced myself and told my boss that I would like to be paid the same because even though he workedthere longer we were starting our new role at the same time. I was a very strong performer and also brought up a lot of the extra projects I did. by the time o was finished talking, my boss had sent off an email to our HR director and by the time i left, i had received an “equity raise” that was 12% higher than my original salary (a clause in the union contract gave employer discretion to award additional compensation). I was lucky that my boss was a woman who felt really strongly about equity and female empowerment. to top it off, promotion was in October and in December Igot my performance review and another 4%!

  142. jacopo*

    2 stories:

    First, I worked my way up in retail from checkout ($8/hr) into management(18.5/hr). During a resturcture, I got the same 3% as everyone in the company who made the cut (>250000 employee company). First, that was garbage given the responsibility increase. Second, I was at the bottom of the previous pay scale, so I was literally off the bottom of the new scale. Max annual raise of 4%. They didn’t know it, but I was going back to school for IT, so I wanted a better schedule. I managed to wrangle stepping backwards to a hard-to-fill sales position (a cushy sit-down gig, at that) at the top of that pay scale. So a $1/hr raise for easier work.

    Skip ahead a year, and I’ve graduated. I got a solicitation for 40-50k, 3 days remote. I asked for 55k and got it, along with another remote day.

    Second, skip ahead another year, I’ve been learning everything from anybody that will talk, I’ve made money, saved loads of hours, invented serious projects on my own, and just pulled my grandboss aside one day and said “I’ve been taking on a lot of work and saving us a lot of time and money.” He cut me off and said “I know. I’m watching. How much are you making and how much do you want?” I asked for 75k. Got the yes a week later.

    So I’m not sure how much of a script that is, but the moral for me is to make yourself super useful in places other people won’t touch, don’t be afraid to bring it up to big bosses (stay on their good side, obv. Politics is real.), and ask for big raises during hot markets.

  143. PanPan*

    I applied for a temp Teapot Engineer job that provided no benefits (no bonus, PTO, or 401k match). They asked me for my number. I calculated how much my current job was worth and asked for $60/hr (go big or go home, right?). They said it was too high, and would I be happy with $45/hr? I said I’d think about it, but my number is still $60/hr. The next day, the hiring manager comes up to me and asks me if I would do $50/hr since that was the best they could do. I looked up their only benefit: (really bad) health insurance. I learned that their cost to add me to the company insurance was $4k /yr (or roughly $2/hr). I asked if I could reject the insurance and get the $2/hr paid to my salary instead. They said yes, and I accepted the offer of $52/hr. To legitimize the higher cost, I was also given a Sr. Teapot Engineer title.

    My take it or leave it number? $43/hr :)

  144. Thraner*

    I graduated law school during the recession and took an interesting but underpaid job for 7 years. I was laid off and within a week a recruiter called me- we spoke a bit about my background and since it was temp to perm she stated ab initial hourly rate.

    At the initial rate it would have been a salary bump for me, but I forced myself to say I had experience in a particular area that the company was just starting to move into and I thought it would bring a fair amount of extra value.

    I wound up with a hefty bump to my hourly rate. And I accepted a salaried position: my annual salary is now double what it was at my last job.

    So my advice- don’t let a previously low salary weigh down your understanding of what you can offer.

  145. Anonymouse123*

    I was very nervous but it turned out well!
    When I got the offer via email, the head of HR also called me to make a verbal offer. When she mentioned the salary, I simply asked “I was wondering if there’s any wiggle room?” she said “what did you have in mind?” and I said “I am hoping to be around $XXgrand.” She said she will find out. The rest of the verbal offer went smoothly and I reiterated my interest in the job. She called back and said “We can do $XX-2 grand.” and I accepted.

    I had asked for $6,000 more than the offer, and ended up getting $4,000 more for negotiating. I felt very happy with it! And it was so easy…. just one question, and no pushback. I work in marketing.

    My husband also used the same line “I was wondering if there’s any wiggle room with it” and got about $5,000 more. He also got no pushback. I don’t believe he gave a goal dollar amount, either. This was in education.

    I can’t remember if it was my first year or second year review, but I talked to both my boss and HR (not at the same time) if there would be an opportunity to discuss raises. I believe I just straight up asked “will there be an opportunity to discuss salary and raises?” and they said “sure.” We didn’t actually discuss anything, but I did end up getting a raise of about $4,000. This was at a company where people complained they never got raises, so I was quite surprised! Maybe because I asked…? who knows.

  146. Director of Alpaca Exams*

    I just concluded a very successful salary negotiation today! I’m moving within my company and extremely excited about it.

    I started as an assistant llama examiner and have been examining llamas for 12 years, basically doing the same thing the entire time, getting title bumps and cost of living increases and the occasional merit raise. Now I’m a senior llama examiner and that’s as far as one can go here unless one wants to be director of llama exams (which I do not, plus the job is held by someone who’s very good at it and fairly young and not likely to be departing anytime soon). However, we are starting an exciting new project that involves selling a new and different kind of exam to individual alpaca owners rather than big llama farms. I happen to have been an individual alpaca owner myself in the past, and I have some strong opinions about how we should rework our llama exams for individual alpaca owners to make them truly worth purchasing and beneficial. (Individual alpaca owners are often taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies, and I don’t want us to either do that or look like we’re doing that, plus llamas and alpacas are different enough that you really can’t use the same exam techniques, though some people try to.) So I asked my boss, Tyrion, if I could be put in charge of that project, and we discussed it with the person in charge of the project, Jaime, and everyone agreed I was the perfect person for the job. With Tyrion’s permission, I started taking a few hours a week away from llama examining and researching alpaca examining to confirm that the project was viable and demonstrate my skills.

    My current salary is $60k, which is pretty reasonable for a senior llama examiner and in line with what other senior colleagues make. (While I was asking around, I was happy to learn that there is no evidence of sexist or racist salary discrimination at this company; everyone seems to make a reasonable sum in line with their experience.) When I knew we’d be meeting to discuss salary, I planned ahead. I decided that I would be happy with $70k but that $80k would be a better reflection of my new responsibilities, and that I also wanted a director title for several reasons: a clear statement of authority to be respected within the company, a sign of our hope that I will eventually hire and oversee additional alpaca examiners, and a tangible thing I can leverage for a higher salary elsewhere if I ever leave this company (though I have no plans to do so at this point). A friend advised me to pitch this as “I would like to be paid commensurate with my new role” and NOT as “I would like a raise”, because raises are for people staying in the same job, and I’m making quite a big change. I’m fine with my current benefits, work schedule, ability to work from home, etc. so there was no need for negotiation on that front.

    I met with Tyrion and Jaime and we went over my last performance review (stellar) and discussed the plan for my transition from one job to the other. I said very plainly, in a calm voice with no hesitation or questioning, “I think the most appropriate title for this role would be director of alpaca exams, and here’s why.” We tossed that around for a bit, and they generally agreed my reasoning was sound. Once everything else was squared away, I said, in the same calm, straightforward tone, “I’m currently making $60k and I feel that the most appropriate salary for this position would be $80k. It’s a director-level job and I’ll be overseeing every aspect of the project.”

    Jaime wrote that down and said he’d discuss with the company owner, Cersei, and get back to me, and that was that. It ended up taking almost two months for him and Cersei to finalize the offer, for various reasons. I was very patient and continued updating him on the preliminary research and other work I was doing while I waited, staying in his mind but not being a pest. After about six weeks I allowed as how this was getting a bit challenging for me, and he acknowledged that and filled me in on some of the reasons for the delay, which I appreciated. (I was more frank with Tyrion about not really liking the feeling of being kept in the dark, and I suspect he may have nudged Jaime to get on with things.)

    On Tuesday Jaime emailed me an offer of the director title and a salary of $66k plus a monthly bonus of about 5% of our profits from alpaca exams. Based on our anticipated profits, that would be 10% of my salary (so another $6600 per year), but it could be higher or lower. Today I agreed to that but emphasized that money is not the best way to motivate me—it’s great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not going to put in a lot more work for the sake of chasing a dollar—and that I don’t love variable income, which tends to make me anxious. I said, “I continue to feel that $80k is a reasonable compensation for this role, but I’m happy to spend the next year proving that I’m worth it”; I requested that we create concrete, tangible goals for outstanding performance, and if I meet those goals by the end of 2020, we will take that as a cue to raise my salary significantly for 2021, ideally to $80k flat or $73k with a similar bonus (effectively $80k if profits go as expected). Jaime thought that was a good idea and we set a target of determining those goals by my annual review in April of next year. I also emphasized that if my income is going to be tied to profits, I need some significant degree of oversight or control over marketing and website design and other things that influence how many customers we get, because that’s where revenue comes from. Jaime readily agreed to that, which made me much more comfortable with the bonus plan. And I looked at his budget numbers to confirm that the expected annual profit number is reasonable. (I think it’s actually pretty conservative, so if we do even moderately well, that profit-based bonus should be much higher than $6600.) I also made sure we went over my specific job duties so there wouldn’t be any “surprise, your job also includes this thing that will take an extra 15 hours a week” business.

    Assuming the project doesn’t tank—and I don’t think it will—I should make at least $72,600 next year, which is right around where I wanted to be; $66k of it is guaranteed (and is enough for me to live on, which also lessens the variable income stress); and there will be a system in place for me to make the $80k salary I deserve for the metric ton of work I’m about to put into making our new alpaca exam department an outstanding success.

    What helped me the most was:
    – Knowing what I wanted, including intangible but still valuable things like getting the title boost, keeping my work-from-home privileges, and having an income structure that doesn’t stress me out
    – Asking for more than what I wanted so there would be room for him to negotiate me down to something I was still comfortable with
    – Believing I was worth it
    – Believing it was fair and appropriate compensation for the job, and doing research to confirm that
    – Believing it was entirely reasonable for grown adults in a professional setting to talk about money in a matter-of-fact way
    – Taking time to prepare for these conversations and discuss my approach with other people I respect
    – Going into both meetings with clear notes (including “Thank you” at the top and “Thank you again, I’m excited!” at the bottom so I didn’t forget to say those things, as I often forget about politenesses when I’m focused on practicalities) and making sure I addressed every point I had prepared, even the awkward ones like “So… if this absolutely fails and I go back to being a senior llama examiner, does my salary revert to $60k?”
    – Being honest about what works for me and what doesn’t, and explaining why, rather than taking whatever’s offered
    – Emphasizing the value of my skills and knowledge, including skills that Jaime didn’t know I have (like project management and website design) because they aren’t part of llama examining
    – Starting work on the project before the compensation was finalized to establish myself in Jaime’s mind as a valuable asset and become indelibly associated with the project (note that this only worked because I’m still drawing a llama examiner salary! I would not have done it for free)
    – Making sure to stay on Tyrion’s good side so he would be an advocate for me and facilitate a smooth transition
    – Knowing that no one in this conversation was out to screw over anyone else; I wasn’t going to push for an outrageous amount or more than the company can afford to pay me, they weren’t going to try to lowball me, we’re all invested in the project’s success

    So I’ve effectively gotten a 22% salary increase, a director-level title for a director-level position, and a shot at a much bigger bonus if all goes well. Not bad for someone who’s been coasting on COLAs for the last few years!

    AAM’s advice and encouragement was definitely valuable. I still caught myself lowballing—I was going to ask for $70k until my career advisor friend said “It should be $80k”—but reading the frequent discussion of asking for raises made it a lot easier to get out of that headspace and to look people in the eye and name big numbers.

    1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      And since people are mentioning minority status and presentation: I’m white and Jewish and AFAB non-binary. (I identified as female when I was hired, transitioned openly about five years ago, everyone was and is entirely cool with it.) I’m known around the office as an idiosyncratically stylish dresser, so for the first meeting I wore a sharply tailored sheath dress and knee-high boots, and for the second meeting I wore a sweeping black-and-white dress and grey pearl necklace and earrings. My basic theory was less “dress for the job you want” and more “wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks”, and I think it worked.

  147. PineappleBun*

    Talking specifically of wording “My current salary is X, could you match it?” was the phrase I needed (my partner supplied it) when I couldn’t figure out how to ask a previous university employer to go about $5k over their salary scale rate for my position.

    I’d already decided in my head that they couldn’t possibly pay me over their rate, so why ask, and wouldn’t it sound horrible to say “I know your max is X, but I want X+5k”.

    Duh, it was so simple though. Used the wording above, and apparently there is this thing called “market value supplement” that they used to rustle up the money for me. Just a reminder that their processes / scales are not your problem, ask the question anyway.

  148. Lionheart*

    I have a story of it working in an unexpected way…. Last week I was offered a job that I was not especially excited about, but would have been more interested if it meant earning more. I figured I had nothing to lose by asking for 5k extra, and some tweaks to the benefits package. The response I got was so rude and dismissive, I immediately turned down the offer.

    I guess sometimes salary negotiations can be a sneak peek into the Lion’s den. Super grateful I got to see how this manager responds to reasonable requests before I quit my job and moved cross- country.

  149. PQ*

    Many years ago I was unhappy at my department and was looking for a lateral move. Another department had a role I’d be a good fit for, but the role was more Junior than mine. I already had a good rapport with the hiring manager, so I told him I’d happily move if this were a Senior role.
    He had the role changed to Senior and hired me, with a 10% bump.

    (In fairness I was so unhappy with my previous department that even if they hadn’t bumped the new role to Senior, I’d still would have taken it, but… :) )

  150. Quinalla*

    My last job move I was using a recruiter and he ended up doing the actually salary negotiations for me. If I had it to do over again, I would not have used a recruiter and done it myself, but it did work out for me as I got a very competitive salary which was 15K more than my current, underpaid position.

    However, I did negotiate for more vacation time myself. I had 3 weeks at my current place which they knew and offered me 3 weeks. With their standard policy, I wouldn’t get a bump up until I was there for 10 years and I had been in my career for 13 years at the time. I explained that I had 15 days PTO currently and was looking to increase that to 18 days. They conferred and got back to me the next day with a yes.

    I highly recommend always asking for more PTO. It is something that feels much less contentious than salary asks and they might still say no, but often they have more flexibility.

  151. Just Elle*

    I hate conflict and thinking on my feet, so it was like pulling teeth to ask for more money. But I’m so glad I did it! Luckily, the negotiation took place over the phone so I could have notes.

    I literally made myself a flowchart (I know, I’m such an engineer, sorry). And it worked! I got a 25% pay raise!

    At the top was a bullet point list of the reasons it made sense for me to have more salary, and then I had trees for responses I expected. For instance, oh the salary is fixed, ok go down path B “I’m open to non-traditional benefits like more vacation time.” Its not so much that I actually USED the flowchart or the conversation followed an exactly mapped plan, but plotting it out in my head with possible scenarios made me feel way more prepared.

    Also, I rehearsed with my husband, and having already strung the words together out loud made a big difference in my confidence for the real deal.

  152. Totally Anonymous right now, please and thank you*

    I work at a non-profit agency contracted to the gov’t, so our salaries are definitely on the low side. We had an internal promotion available where anyone interested had to apply and then interview for the position. We were expected to apply, interview and then accept or decline the position w/o knowledge of the money attached and 8 out of a team of 11 applied! I really wanted this position (resume & skill building) and had already been doing some of the work anyway as an interim supervisor so I applied & was, I’m told, a unanimous choice of the hiring panel.

    Once offer & acceptance was given I asked what kind of money was attached to this new responsibility (which, I’ll add, was in addition to not instead of all previous work requirements and required traveling) and was told “you will see in your new paycheck and trust me, you’ll be *very* happy.” Since I WAS doing a significant portion of the work already, I figured anything is better than this and I accepted.

    Except, I was anything but happy when my paycheck came around- pretty furious to be honest- and once I calmed down, I called our ED and let him know I was not happy and that I’ve decided to decline this promotion due to the added responsibilities at a very low bump in salary. He said he would review and get back to me but that it would take a bit of time. I let him know that I’ll continue in the interim role for a short period of time but that when I’m in the central office in three weeks, we need to discuss the future of my role, the value I bring to the table and my pay which he agreed.

    However, before that happened, my second paycheck had come in and he had doubled my raise. I called and thanked him for being open to my concerns about the pay scale. He said he agreed with me when I reviewed the value that I had already added to this company for him and this new increase reflected that.

    This was the 1st time in my life that I had done anything remotely like this and after I’d hung up the phone that 1st phone call, I was shaking in my boots thinking WTF do you think you’re doing? How DARE you talk to your ED like that? This blog gave me the confidence and the knowledge to know that negotiating is A-Okay. Being prepared and able to lay out my reasons why I felt it needed to be higher than it was originally was what helped me, I believe.

      1. Totally Anonymous right now, please and thank you*

        Thanks Shamy! I won’t lie my confidence about dealing with it this way was just enough, fueled with anger about the whole process (who makes someone apply & accept a position w/o knowing the pay rate/package? My company is weird.) that when I saw that first pay-stub post promotion, it took all of my being to not call immediately but I knew I needed to think & prepare WHY I thought it was ridiculous.

        Our company bases raises based on the current salary and I was not confident to even try to negotiate at my original hire which has continued to hurt me all these years. I’ve now broken that cycle once, and I hope it continues for others with promotions/raises where they look at value added, and the new duties and pay accordingly.

  153. Bluebell*

    In 2010 I was just starting to look, and a friend forwarded me an opening that looked great. In the initial discussions with HR they said that the range would be between X to x+10. After more than a half a dozen interviews and a pretty intense process, I was offered X -5!! This was only 2K over my current salary and with the decline in benefits, I explained to HR that I’d actually be losing money. I managed to negotiate back to X and to get an extra week of vacation. I still felt a little short changed, but I was advised by a career coach not to press too much. I was there for three years and then recruited to a place which hired me at an almost 30% pay bump.

  154. PinkyLady*

    Just took a new job after negotiation last week! I was offered the position and salary, and did the whole, “Thank you, I’m very excited, when do you need an answer?” After looking over the benefits and weighing my options, I emailed back (I know, not everyone likes to do negotiations by email, but It’s worked for me twice now). I used a version of the email below (my draft from my last job, more or less), and it resulted in an offer of 7% more, which I promptly accepted!

    “I am thrilled for the offer to become an ___ at ___. Given my X years of Y experience and my track record of managing Z, I’m confident in my ability to contribute effectively to your team. However, I did want to discuss salary before accepting the verbal offer.

    I was hoping to receive an offer closer to $X, based on both my experience and the averages for similar positions for someone with my experience level. I would like to propose moving the offer closer to $X in line with my skills and the demands of this position.

    Again, I am very excited about the position and the prospect of becoming a member of your team! “

  155. Ripley*

    At a previous job, I used a job offer to negotiate a salary increase. About a year-and-a-half ago, I worked at a creative agency, where I had been for about 6 years at that time. I had been exploring other job opportunities for a while and occasionally interviewing at different places. I got a solid offer from one company that was about 13% higher than my current salary. I decided that I didn’t feel like the company was a good fit for me in terms of my long-term career goals, but I didn’t want to miss out being paid my actual worth! So I presented the job offer to my manager and said, “I’ve been offered a job at X for X amount. But I love it here, and I would love to stay here. Would you all be willing to increase my salary to X to match this company’s offer?” The next day, HR approved my salary increase. This may not work for everyone in every situation, but it’s worth asking!! If the job offer is for a company that’s not suitable for you, use that job offer to your advantage. Ask your company if they’re willing to increase your salary to match the worth that others see in you.

  156. Long-time AMA Lurker*

    Wow, reading this thread is fascinating! I feel like I’ve been pretty spoiled by my current company as they’ve progressively built in promotions/raises since I was hired in with an “entry level” position 4 years ago. I have a non-technical role in the aerospace industry, and my escalation has gone like this:
    initial offer, which I accepted without hesitation – 50K, seemed like a ton compared to my nonprofit job
    salary adjustment after I stayed on for 6 months – 55K
    promotion within my department (same title) – 65K
    assorted merit raises and awards for projects – about +5K over time, 70K
    final, most recent promotion, honestly long overdue – 80K

    I am admittedly a “high performer” and am marked for leadership development, but maybe I need to give my workplace more credit for being so diligent about this over the past 4 years. Now what I’m the most afraid of is making the leap to another position, or another company, where I might need to actively fight for these increases…

    1. Ripley*

      Yes! Your company sounds like a fair, but rare one. The last place I worked, I had to fight so hard to earn salary increases. Their standard increase was 1.5%. That’s just ridiculous and isn’t the least bit equivalent to cost of living. That’s why I had to leave. I was also a high-performer, but my company was just incredibly stingy.

  157. Brownies*

    Firstly….much like buying a car, try to negotiate pay when you can walk away from a deal you don’t want. If you have a job, side gig or other salary (even if it’s working at Target) safely in the bag, you can negotiate calmly and effectively. Negotiating pay is never easy, you’d think that after doing this multiple times, I’d feel better about it but I don’t. But here’s what I’ve gotten the past few times.
    2016- I was underemployed for a few years because if the market downturn (I was in real estate) but got an interview with a start-up. My salary jumped an extra $35k, kept my 5 weeks of vacation, got full benefits, massive title bump, and went from being managed to managing a team of 18. I burned out after 2 1/2 years but that job got me back into the seniority level I wanted.

    2018- I accepted a position with no travel (yay) and no direct reports (double yay) and a small pay cut (didn’t care). The kicker was the non-salary extras I negotiated. Since I had a six figure salary that I was content with, I was under less pressure and so, so NOT anxious. I asked for and received….reimbursed medical premiums (extra $550/month), car allowance ($250), phone allowance ($75), company paid car insurance, and a company credit card so I don’t have to do expenses. When I left that job, I cried. Then the CEO teared up. We had cake. Then he came to me on my last day and said that he put a note in my file that said I am eligible for re-hire and to feel free to just walk if if I even moved back to town. *sniffle*

    In 2019, I moved to Seattle and had to find a new job. The private company I work for now couldn’t afford my salary and countered with a 30 hour work week with an option to increase to 35 or 40 (with proportionately more pay) in December. This gave me a much higher per hour rate and I get to work from 9-3 every day. It is amazing. And I do not have that ridiculous 2 hour Seattle commute, can come and go as I please. Most importantly, I finally have glorious work/life balance which is…after so many years of jockeying for more money, a bigger title, the fancy office, direct reports, and assistance and all that other shit, the most important thing to me. in my most current salary negotiation, I actually negotiated for free time. :)

  158. moink*

    When I first started at my current company, I was moving from Belfast, UK, to Berlin, Germany (I am from neither country) so it was a little challenging to know what kind of money to ask for.

    I asked around with some people who lived in Berlin and had similar levels of education to mine, but were in different technical fields than mine. I got guidance that with my education I should be able to get approximately €60,000 a year.

    During the interview, they asked me point-blank how much I wanted to be paid. I said 70,000. I was 100% expecting them to try to negotiate me down, and planned to accept if it was €60,000 or more. The response was silence – so I filled it with “euros… a year” rather awkwardly. They wrote it down and said nothing.

    When the offer came, the hiring manager made sure to explain to me that I should multiply the monthly salary by 13.2 to get a yearly salary (the works council has negotiated various extra money at points over the year, like Christmas money and vacation money) and that it therefore came out to €70,000. I was surprised to get no negotiation, I felt I couldn’t ask for more than I said in the interview, and so I accepted. I actually wished a bit that I had asked for more, because maybe I would have gotten it?

    In the course of working, my salary seemed to go up at various points. First moving from “low performance” (the assumption where everyone starts) to “expected performance” partway through the year meant that even in my first year I actually made €74,000. I make overtime and am paid extra for business trips. There’s a yearly bonus tied to company performance that I have received most years (about half a month’s pay). Over the last six years the union has negotiated a couple of cost-of-living adjustments. after six years in the company, my income tax statement says I made €98,000 last year.

    Weirdly, I have discovered that I am paid significantly more than some of my colleagues. I am not really sure why – I have a “prestigious” higher degree and I asked for it, so I guess that’s it. But I also haven’t gotten much in the way of official raises since I started, despite being a pretty high performer, since my managers are not willing to go to bat to their superiors for me as I am already paid more than others.

  159. Kitty*

    I got offered a new job and they told me the salary (which was already 13k more than my job at the time!). I asked “do you have any flexibility on salary?” and the HR rep asked me what I was looking for, so I asked “would X+3k be possible?” She said she had to check with higher ups and would get back to me. The next day she called and offered X+2k, which I happily accepted because I was already happy with the initial offer. I chose to ask for 3k because I thought that was a conservative enough amount to not seem outrageous. Though in retrospect I wish I’d tried for X+5k just to see if they’d have gone up any higher!

  160. Sarah*

    Last time I was job hunting I wasn’t in an urgent position of needing to leave my previous job or find something quickly, so I decided to experiment with “acting like a mediocre man” (I’m a woman) and setting my salary expectations REALLY high (almost 25% over my already decent salary).

    It worked — shockingly well. Two potential positions didn’t blink and one indicated that that number was the BOTTOM of their range. Most interestingly, I *was* openly laughed at by two other recruiters saying there was no way they could offer me that, after which I said something along the lines of “obviously for the right position I am willing to find a way to make this work, but this is in the range is not abnormal for roles like this based on my conversations so far.” I was offered both roles. One really couldn’t offer that number but still offered about 8% more than I was already making and the other (which is my current , fabulous, job) gave me that number exactly as my offer, plus a bonus.

    Moral of the story: if you can afford to, be bold.

  161. Em*

    Use salary surveys if you can get them! And if you are getting promoted internally and have a good relationship with the person whose position you are taking (assuming they are leaving the organization), ask if they would mind sharing their salary with you to help your negotiations.

    I got promoted internally from assistant (not assistant manager; an actual assistant) to manager when my manager left. I am in a niche profession, and the average age of new managers was 10 years older than I was, and I would be the youngest manager at my company by 2 decades. My former manager had decades in the profession overall, and I had 3. The company’s COO (in charge of staffing the managers) really took a chance on me. But my inexperience seriously complicated how much to ask.

    Knowing my manager’s ending salary, combined with a salary survey from my professional organization, gave me a good ballpark. My manager’s ending salary was $80,000. The salary survey said that the average manager salary for people with less than 1 year in the position was $68,000– but respondents had 4 times more experience in the field than I did. So, I decided to aim for less than the average– $63,000 but to ask for more.
    Into negotiations:
    This strategy probably only works with a negotiator that you already know and have a rapport with: I refused to give my number first in negotiations with the COO– well, I demurred by saying, “I understand why you want me to give my number first, but I would really like to hear what you think I’m worth in this position. After all, you have more experience judging management potential.” She pushed me a little, but I held out politely. She gave me her number at $65,000, and that was her ceiling. I was quietly happy and and then to negotiate for more PTO, but no dice per company policy (which I had heard was a thing, so that wasn’t a huge surprise). But she did give me a REALLY good in-building parking spot (very difficult to get even if you’re willing to pay) that would save me a good 20-25 minutes *per day* as opposed to my previous spot and was worth a couple hundred per month. I considered the significantly shorter commute a fair deal.
    I accepted at $65,000 and a crazy good parking spot. After I accepted, she asked what my number was a laughed when I told her it was less than what she gave me. She said this gave her a good feeling about my ability to negotiate with vendors (a core part of the management job). So far, she’s been very pleased with the deals I’ve made over the last couple years, which I’ve been told is the reason I’ve gotten the max bonus and salary increase available each year.

  162. TechWriter*

    The salary negotiation at my current job was impacted by two factors:
    1) I was a referral from a current employee who had a good reputation at the company.
    2) I have access to an excellent, voluntarily-reported regional salary database through my main professional organization (

    After deciding I wanted to take the job, I listened to the initial offer, which included the health, 401k, PTO, and transportation benefits. I thought about them for 24 hours, realized I wanted to job regardless, but I also was leaving an excellent 401k deal, so I wanted to see if I could get a base salary raise as compensation.

    I spoke with the company’s internal recruiter and explained the budgeted salary was good, and the PTO policy and transportation benefits were generous compared to my previous employer, but the level of 401k matching was no where near my previous employer (and gave them the numbers on the 401k match). When the recruiter responded sympathetically to the 401k difference, I asked if we could raise the base salary offer $5,000 to compensate for some of the 401k difference. 8 hours later the company came back with a $2,500 increase to the base salary offer, which I was happy to accept.

    One year into the job, I got a raise based on my performance which put me $2,000 ahead of where I was at the previous company, 401k match included. My manager specifically cited the 401k match note in my file as part of the compensation increase.

  163. HeyKittyGirl*

    I negotiated at my second job ever/first job after getting my Master’s degree. They asked me in the interview process what my expected salary was and I asked about the budget for the position without saying a number. The hiring manager said he didn’t know the budget for the position and would have to ask his boss. He warned me that it would be “less than consulting” (which was my previous field). I said I would be happy to discuss the budget for the position directly with his boss if easiest. They offered me a job later that day (over phone) with a salary of $95K. I went back to the office to meet with them the week after to discuss the offer and asked for $110K, citing the average graduate of my program’s salary after graduation and adjusting for my years of experience. They came back with an offer of $105K the next day and I accepted.

  164. EAW*

    Three stories here …
    1) I negotiated for the first time a few months ago when I was getting hired for my current job, and it succeeded! I got an offer of X, said something to the effect of “I wonder if there’s any room to negotiate a little more on the salary, I feel like I should at least ask …” Right away she said ‘ok, how about Y” (around $4k more than the original offer). I said thanks, that sounds great – and that was it. In retrospect, I should have used better/more polished wording, but in any case it worked!

    2) When I got my very first job way back in high school, the person asked me what I was hoping to make. I had no idea, didn’t know anything about the world of job applications, had never read advice about negotiations, etc. and so I didn’t give a number. In reality all I could think of was minimum wage. The boss promptly listed her number which was several dollars an hour higher than minimum wage, so I was thrilled. And thus I learned why it’s better to not name a number first :)

    3) And finally, a negotiating fail: When I got my first ‘real’ job out of college, I was so excited to get the job that I literally accepted on the spot during the call when I got the offer. I think my exact words were something like “Thank you, I’m so thrilled, of course I’ll accept.” Didn’t even cross my mind to say anything else, like negotiating. Pretty funny in hindsight, and a good example of what NOT to do!

  165. HRQueen*

    I came on to this job through a staffing agency. Since it’s an HR position, I was able to see what my predecessors were making. In the two months before I transitioned to permanent I kept hearing how much better I was, how much more I was doing, and how things were improving already. So when they offered me the job at the same salary as my predecessor I pointed that out and said “Frankly I bring more to the job than she did and I feel that is worth a higher salary; I would like X amount.” They came back and said OK (drat… should have asked for more). It seems easy and fairly straightforward, however, if I hadn’t been a long time reader here it probably would not even have occurred to me that that was an option.

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