Okay so I've got an offer. Now how to negotiate a higher offer?

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Comments (107)

 
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2/13/18
square40:

There is like no information here you are being as vague as possible what is your deal man jesus

Agreed. Others have given some decent general advice, but negotiating salary is all fact-dependent.

During the hiring process for my current role, I was in the driver's seat--I wanted the job, but they wanted me more, so they even beat the number that I had requested after the initial offer wasn't acceptable. In my job previous to my current one, I had left a business that I had started so was effectively unemployed. It was a "commodity" job (there were a ton of available people who could do the role) so I had to accept the offer put before me.

 
2/12/18

Agreed. I honestly would only feel comfortable negotiating if you are paid below market value or if you have another offer to compete against.

 
 
3/29/18

I don't think it is wrong to ask what the conversation will be about so that way you can prepare if necessary. Likely it is about salary, but you dont want any surprises. I think you better drill home why you deserve X. Maybe get some salary info for people at similar firms as it will greatly strengthen your negotiating power.

Worst case you can always try to factor into contract a six month salary review etc. They clearly got power as you got no offers(not that they don't know but I wouldn't lie on that).....

They may give offer as take or leave it, I would try to not accept anything until after meeting and say you want written letter to review/emailed. Wouldn't be bad idea to have a minimum level you work for and show why you deserve salary you think you deserve

 
3/29/18

If you are still interviewing, tell them you are near the end of that process. That way they should understand you can't accept an offer on the spot, but that you also won't keep them hanging for a few weeks. It may also help in the offer they give you if they think you are desired by others.

Given your conversation with HR, they probably want to talk about an offer with you to see if you are serious. The pay may be lower, but they'll probably tell you about the better work/life balance. Also understand the pay that you deem to be low may be more than the HR person makes and I would guess that you are younger, so tread lightly.

You should be prepared for a real negotiation. You already know that the pay will be lower, but how low would you accept? Are you willing to remain unemployed if it's "too low"?

If the number isn't to your liking, you can try to negotiate for a performance review in 6 mos with the opportunity for a raise or something.

Like you said, you don't have any real leverage here so I think it is more on you whether you think you'd be better off in this job or back to searching for a job which may pay better.

 
3/29/18

Thanks Bearearns. I am surprised that this is how a firm will conduct its offer process. Should I really be prepared to negotiate back and forth for a specific number? Seems unprofessional to me on behalf of the firm. Unfortunately, this is a new junior role so I cannot easily find comparable salaries. I also know this firm doesn't pay good bonuses, so I want the salary to be as high as possible.

 
3/29/18

One thing I did not find out is the hours. I do not know if this will involve weekend work, but I certainly will not work 100 hours a week if the salary is 70k. Can I ask what the hours expectation is during this negotiation?

 
3/29/18

You can definitely ask about the hours expected are during the negotiation. I'm willing to bet that is one of the things THEY bring up as a justification for their lower starting salary.

This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..

 
3/29/18

As Grosse said they likely will say that the pay is lower but worklife and hours are better.(this be good time to ask, what they mean by this -subtly hinting on work hours). No sense of work hours at interview?

New junior role so they themselves are not sure what the salary will be. So definitely is negotiating room, that said you need to negotiate well if bonuses are not great.

My guess is they liked you but are afraid of what you will say to salary they want to offer. Hence they are willing to move up a bit from whatever they initially offer you. This is likely reason for face to face rather than phone/email offer. Remember you dont have formal offer, but seem close. Rarely will a firm retract offer over salary dispute, but it does happen though.

 
3/29/18

@ Bearearns, you seem spot on with your analysis. I happen to come from a very specific group/focus that my experience is valuable to them, and they want to hire ASAP (very busy).

Any suggested strategy though as to who throws out the first number? I expect the HR guy again to ask me my minimum. Should I say something like "Look, you know my previous salary. I understand you likely cannot pay as high bonuses, so what is the best offer you can make?" I'm afraid of saying "I want 120k base" and them saying "Oh, we can only do 70k". Thanks again very much for the advice.

 
3/29/18

If they want to hire ASAP then you have a little leverage from that regard..... I wouldn't try to avoid throwing out first number. They know your previous salary was higher and probably assume bonus was as well.

They also know hours likely are lower if you were in IB. I would come in with some market numbers on salary (call up your alumni school and see if they got any numbers for first years- then tack on on 10-20k at least). Asking minimum is hard to answer. You say too low you are stuck on it(no way they giving more). You say too high and they get scared away. I would divert answer more to my market research shows _____, I got these numbers from ____ , and from the career services from where I graduated. As a result, I think I deserve slightly more because I got IB experience, right qualifications, and good candidate.

Rather than tossing number, show first how you arrived at number and then give. Think of it like a brain teaser where you need to explain logic.

If not satisfied with what you got say you need time to think it over. Then also add, I am disappointed in that my salary could not be higher, but I understand it is a business, is there a way my salary can reconsidered in 6 months.

 
3/29/18

Well this was retarded. Went to meet with HR and the hiring manager today. HR lady came in first and basically gave me a first round screening interview, asking behaviorals and such. I was thinking to myself "you gotta be fuckin kidding me..." Must have just been a formality that HR met with me.

Then met with the hiring manager. We just shot the shit and she then asked me whether I could accept within 24 hours if given the offer. I said yes if the package is satisfactory. Then we discussed a bit so I gave my "expectations" which were above what they were offering (expected). So I should hear back soon - looks like it is up to her and HR to hash things out, if they want to hire me. I hope my above expectation / requested salary did not disqualify me.

 
3/29/18

Sounds like they are indeed quite interested in you. I would maneuver the conversation by simply asking them what they can do while explaining how interested in the position you are. Worst case scenario they extend you a salary not high enough to persuade you into accepting. You can always tell them you'd like some time to think about it, then come back at them with a higher desired salary; if it matches, great; if not, you simply won't end up there.

 
3/29/18

What is the lowest base you would take and how many years of experience do you have? Also, is this NYC?

 
3/29/18

This is NYC. I have 2+ years experience as a banking analyst at a BB.

Still haven't heard from them - last met with them on Wednesday and was told I would hear back by the end of the week. It is not the following Tuesday... I can't tell if they are just slow or playing games. It's like dealing with a flaky girl who sometimes texts you back after a few dates haha.

 
3/29/18

I would give them a call back, dollabillz.

 
2/12/18

My requests for more pay usually go something like this: While the experience gained from this role is more important than compensation, based on my current/ previous salary and my expectations for compensation related to such a role, I feel like a salary of xyz would be more appropriate. They will either give reason why your compensation will stay the same, agree to give you a pay raise even though it might not get up to your #, or they will outline a case in which you can "earn" your number in short duration.

 
 
2/12/18

Excellent response. Thank you. This is exactly the constructive feedback I was looking for. Much appreciated Bob.

 
2/12/18

i would not acknowledge that the experience is more important than compensation. this reduces your negotiating power/communicates you are negotiating from a position of weakness. focus on what unique experiences/skillsets you bring to the table - i.e. negotiate from a position of strength.

 
3/29/18

Depending on the firm/group, you might lose a year, might not. As for bonuses, it depends when you make the jump and when bonuses are paid.

lateralup:

I currently work less than 60hours a week typically, can that be used as leverage for an even greater salary when I will be expected to work 70-90hours?

Do not do this. You tell them you are a hard worker, willing to burn the midnight oil, etc. This sends a bad message...you are doing it for the "learning opportunities" and love of their firm.

I am going off second hand info, so take it with a grain of salt.

 
2/12/18

Another excellent response, thank you! Solid advice.

 
2/12/18

I always indicate that just because I want to make it known that if they can't increase the offer then that's okay. But I understand it from your perspective as well.

 
2/13/18

why would they even consider increasing the offer if they know you're ok with the current offer? that defeats the purpose of asking...corporations aren't nice guys; employees shouldn't be either

 
2/13/18

Maybe I misstated. I tell them the experience is what is most important in order to show I am not simply chasing $/ the next best opportunity and my primary concern is career development. Thus far I have gotten a pay bump whenever I take this approach.

 
2/16/18

No. This is not like applying to colleges/universities to see which school can match financial aid money. Do not name drop. Jesus how dumb are you kid?

 
3/29/18
lateralup:

I currently work less than 60hours a week typically, can that be used as leverage for an even greater salary when I will be expected to work 70-90hours?

Ya, that should go over well.

 
3/29/18

I was always under the impression tat long hours were a part of the lifestyle associated with IB. the fact that you work ed 60 hrs or less at your old job amazing for you, but should not a basis for increase in pay. Many of my friends who interned at BB in NYV, told me that a lot of times the interns were unassigned but made to stay in the office til 3am or so just to test their commitment. I feel like long hrs are a part of the job, and should be known going into BB.

Hugo

 
3/29/18

Any idea on how to approach this? What kind of salaries are standard for someone in my position? Stay at 70? Get bumped to 80? Higher?

as 2nd year (which you will after the summer) should be 80k base

Do people who typically get a full year's bonus after the switch? or is it another stub?

Nope. you usually get nothing. you MIGHT get a stub at your new bank but it will be minimal

I currently work less than 60hours a week typically, can that be used as leverage for an even greater salary when I will be expected to work 70-90hours?

do you want the bank to rescind your offer?

Any other key points that you guys can make on areas of negotiation to be aware of when lateraling?

no negotiation, you are a junior guy and easily replaceable

Keep in mind, I know to speak with HR on these matters, but I want to find out what is typical among first year laterals

I hope you can work hard because you will be in a real shock when you need to work 80+ hours / week

 
3/29/18
lateralup:

I currently work less than 60hours a week typically, can that be used as leverage for an even greater salary when I will be expected to work 70-90hours?

You want to leave CLT working less than 60hrs a week in IB with approximately the same comp as your NYC counterparts? Might be in for a shock when it comes to COL and quality of life. Unless it is a serious trade up or will position you for something you really want to do after banking, I would take a much harder look at this.

 
3/29/18
CatsLHP:

You want to leave CLT working less than 60hrs a week in IB with approximately the same comp as your NYC counterparts? Might be in for a shock when it comes to COL and quality of life. Unless it is a serious trade up or will position you for something you really want to do after banking, I would take a much harder look at this.

This.

You're going to make the same amount of money working in NYC/SF but pay 2-3 times more. Unless you're going from BAML to GS TMT, this shouldn't even be considered.

 
3/29/18
lateralup:

at a big Charlotte bank.

I currently work less than 60hours a week

Seriously curious which bank you work for...

I'm putting in 80-100 hours and my buddies at Wells are about the same.

 
3/29/18

do you work on saturdays and sundays as well? if so how many hours during weekends?

thx

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2/12/18

I usually leverage multiple offers. When the offer letter comes in, I ask HR what the acceptance deadline is and tell them that I'm mulling over multiple offers. They usually come back with more $$. If they don't, then I just ask for it.

"Elections are a futures market for stolen property"

 
 
2/12/18

Some of the best advice yet. I will absolutely do that.

 
3/29/18

I think you should lose that "I'm so grateful to be here" attitude.

Shoot for the moon with a justification outlined in your business plan.

1) You're going to build the largest database of owners, brokers and third party professionals in the region.
2) You're going to attend every conference and every trade meeting in the area.
3) You're going to start writing articles and become recognized as a thought leader in your space.

Basically you're going to be doing $500k work for $200k.

 
2/13/18

Without going into too much detail about past experiences, I'll highlight the pros and cons of each offer to HR, including compensation and tell them that I'm weighing my options. In the past this had led to an immediate 10% bump in base plus 20% signing bonus. If they don't respond in this way (i.e., more money), then I'll come back with an exact number that I need to get me there. You should overshoot this number by a certain %. Be careful though. If you take too much, they'll hold you to a very high standard when hired.

"Elections are a futures market for stolen property"

 
2/14/18

Nice, I really like this passive-first approach. Going through recruiting now.

 
3/29/18

Totally agree. I just want to be strategic without overthinking it. i.e. if the salary surveys I have show the range in base salary for similar positions to be 150-250k, then why not ask for 250k by saying it's the top of the range and I'm a top performer based on track record? or ask for more than that with the intention of settling somewhere lower.

similarly, the topic of fees and sharing in them came up in a past discussion, so I feel it should be included in the offer with some sort of quantifiable metric. isn't that customary?

 
3/29/18

Congrats on the offer, sounds like a really cool position. Definitely don't think it's out of line to want fee sharing/incentives to be quantified in the offer. Also can't hurt to come back on base if it's low, but my one thought would be to propose a structure of your variable piece that ties your incentives to the firms performance (rather than just discretionary targets of X% of base). Lot of principals I know get excited about the idea of setting up a comp package that is tied to you making the the firm money and would be willing to give a lot more on variable than base - sharing in the fees you impact could be a part of this. Again, congrats and look forward to hearing how your negotiations go.

 
2/12/18

You need multiple offers, or to have the brass balls to come across as if you are willing to walk no questions asked if you don't get what you want. You may get your bluff called if you don't have other offers, or you may come to find out that the company just doesn't pay as much as you think.

 
 
3/29/18

No way you are getting 150% pay. Maybe 10% even 20% more.

Find the rates of other interns at boutiques. If the firm is paying the same as street you might be able to get 10% more. If they're lowballing you, match try to get it to the avg pay on the street. You need data to back up your ask for a higher pay.

 
3/29/18

Yeah I realize how insane 150% is. I've read a lot of posts where people are strongly discouraging salary negotiation, especially as an intern, and that I have very slim leverage. I do have unique startup experience that they value, but yeah I have way more expenses than the average banking joe. It's around 60% below street btw...

 
3/29/18

Assuming this is a grad school internship? If so, I think they would be fairly understanding if you just told them that you love the opportunity but you need to be realistic about providing for your family. I am sure they will be understanding and at least take it into consideration. Whether or not they bump your pay 150% is a whole other story but its worth having the conversation.

 
3/29/18

It's actually not, I am a little older than the average UG though.

 
2/13/18

Just tell them you're a hard-worker and you have passion for real estate, but it's also important that you have enough money to pay for coke on the weekends and not be super stingy about it and actually share with your bros

 
 
3/29/18

Analyst comp is set. No negotiating.

Regarding you point on the awful job market.... if you do not accept your contract, why should the company not move on to the next hungry, qualified candidate who would get a job any other year.

No negotiating.

  • Child Please.
 
3/29/18

No negotiation. They will think you're a prick (and so would I).

- Capt K -
"Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

 
3/29/18

thanks for the advise guys.

the main reason why im bringing this up is because from what i've heard from friends of mine working at the AM firm, you should never take the first offer as their HR is known for giving a low initial offers... thoughts?

again, im not really trying to get more added onto my base, but more concerned about bonus and getting more clarification with regards to that.

 
3/29/18

Well I knew a guy who knew a guy...who once was able to increase his offer. The ONLY way you can negotiate an offer is if you have more than one offer that is higher than the others, even then it might tough especially in this environment.

 
3/29/18

Long answer:
Think about when those people you know got hired: 2008? 2007? If earlier than late 2008, then they could probably get away with negotiating. I think that now the firm can easily hire an Associate/VP type from a smaller fund/target school for the same amount.

Short answer:
Negotiate and you're pissing in the pool.

 
2/13/18

When they ask if the offer is okay, just ask if they can do any better... there's no harm and no deception on your part

 
 
3/29/18

Simply be honest with them and explain your situation...that you have an obligation to repay a pro-rated portion of your bonus. My understanding is that lateral hires and sign on bonuses vary, especially in this environment with a lot of people unemployed, the best action may just to explain your situation.

 
3/29/18

Laterlas into analyst positions get no bonus unless they want you bad .... and given you don't have previous BB experience - ur not gonna get it period

 
3/29/18

did you ever get a response from HR regarding this?

also curious about the bonus cycle if you're a lateral hire starting as 1st year analysts. let's say you start in April, you'd get your stub bonus or year end bonus as the rest of the other 1st years but you've worked 3 months longer than them. Will you bonus be hire or the same? (pretty much you'd be working 3 month for no bonus then if it's the same)

 
2/13/18

Unless you're a mid to senior level hire there isn't as much upside for you as there is downside by pissing them off. Be polite and tread carefully as you can easily blow yourself up. If a counter we're to be too outrageous, we'd likely come back firm then be annoyed at a new hire or move on to the next candidate. Hundreds of resumes come in for every opening.

 
 
2/14/18

Grow some balls dude.

Besides the potential for more $, countering an offer can tell you a lot about a company. Do they negotiate in good faith or not. If they pull the offer due to a counter, you probably don't want to work there anyways

 
2/15/18

If negotiating salary pisses employers off, I would view that as a positive because to me, as a candidate, that's an easy way to figure out which employers I have no interest in working for. If a company cannot negotiate in good faith before I even start working there, I do not want to know how they will handle my bonus or raise requests in the future.

 
3/29/18

bring me with you as an analyst? :)

 
2/16/18

This should have been said a while ago. +1

 
3/29/18

Hi folks,

I realize that perhaps I am new to this forum. That said, would be good to get some responses/validation as to the reasonableness of my compensation expectations. Greatly appreciated

Darius

 
3/29/18

I don't know the answer, but I'll give you a bump anyways, just because it's well written. :)

-N.

"It's about the game." - Gordon Gekko
"No matter how much money you make, you'll never be rich." - Jacob "Jake" Moore
"'Oh Africa Brave Africa'. It was... a laugh riot." - Patrick Bateman

 
3/29/18

OK, I'm not in Equity Research, but I think you should not just focus on the base salary issue.
You said that:
- you are currently at a regional bank and the offer is with a bulge bracket
- the base salary would be higher by 5k
- you'd be following your Analyst, so working with someone you know
- you bonus would be in the 35 to 55k (you can compare that to your current expected bonus)

So based on that (if you like working with that Analyst) it seems like a great offer.

As for the salary, when you say you are second year associate, do you mean you are two years out of undergrad? If so the salary seems more than decent.

For the signing bonus, they are supposed to compensate you for the bonus you are leaving behind. So that would be 6 months of your expected bonus. Since it's the analyst you used to work with who wants to bring you on board, he should have a good idea of what the number is. This is standard practise.

I would go back to them saying that you're excited by their offer and wanted to know if they had any flexibility. If they say yes, say you'll sign right now at 100k. If they say no, take a few days and accept.

Again, I do not work in equity research and I work in London, not the US.
Hope this helps.

 
2/23/18

What's the general consensus on providing compensation expectations to HR before the offer? I'm concerned that if I hang it too high, they'll write me off, and if I hang it too low and try to increase it post-offer, they'll hold me to what I had stated pre-offer.

 
 
2/23/18

The art of the deal is negotiating as if you have multiple offers even when you don't. Use your balls, those that do get paid more.

 
2/23/18

Not sure what market practice is, but do employers ever ask to see the "other offer"? If I were HR at a firm, and a candidate told me he/she had a competing offer with better comp, I'd want to see the other offer.

 
2/23/18

never in a million years would they ask to see another offer. Which is why you should always negotiate from the mindset of having multiple offers regardless if that is the truth. Otherwise work there for a year waiting for that raise you could have effortlessly negotiated upon receiving first offer.

 
2/23/18

Thanks for the input. Any idea why firms don't ask to see competing offers? Seems like it would solve their problems of candidates bluffing.

 
2/23/18

Its called negotiating in good faith.

 
2/26/18

This guy is a troll. Look at his banana count. Google Jeffrey Chiang, guy who bluffed an offer and got royally shit on when the interviewing company reached out to the company he said he had an offer from. Beware

 
2/26/18

It is illegal for any company to give another company that information you are a fraud.

 
2/26/18

Looks like someone didn't google Jeffrey chiang ;)

 
3/29/18

The chances of having the offer rescinded are not very high assuming you are professional and do not come off like a jerk when you are negotiating. I would let them know that you appreciate the offer, but that you believe a higher number would more accurately reflect the value you will bring, given what the market is.

I don't see anything wrong with asking company B to match company A, at least on the base salary. Most likely worst case scenario is they say no, and then you just have to make your decision. You have the most leverage now, as firm B made it clear that it wants you and you have a fallback offer, so don't be afraid to negotiate.

 
3/29/18

If by right out of school you are referring to undergrad, I'd simply recommend the big 4 job as it opens more doors for you, carries a greater weight (which helps in 3-5 years), and if you are actually 22 w/o a wife, kids or mortgage, just do the higher travel job for a couple years for the experience.

If you are coming out of grad school, just approach company B and be honest. Let me them know you received another offer at $xx but prefer their firm. Ask "can you match". be prepared to have them counter at some point in the middle and congrats you just got a couple extra K!

best of luck,

 
 
3/29/18

Depends on what level you're coming in at. If you have to ask the question, you're not in a position to negotiate.

 
3/29/18

Analyst and 99% of associates should not negotiate.

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."

 
3/29/18
Gekko21:

Analyst and 99% of associates should not negotiate.

agreed. 100 %

 
3/29/18

MBB have standard base salary across all post-ugrad and post-MBA positions across offices.

This is actually a worldwide thing but debatable how equal it is.

 
3/29/18

Who are the 1% of associates who should negotiate?

/curious

 
3/29/18

Those who have offers from all 3 of MBB, feel free to try and negotiate. You will probably be laughed at.

 
 
3/29/18

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3/29/18

You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son.