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Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

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Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Yaza » Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:13 pm

Hi All,

I had a meeting with hiring manager who discussed few details (start date, % increase in my salary, duties..) about new job offer in same department in the same company. He advised that HR will be in touch to send me the full details of the offer (relocation..). At the end of meeting, he asked if I accept the offer? I said Yes. I was nervous and felt that If I told him that I need time to think, he will think that I am not committed. I felt down as I should have said something like "it is good offer but I would like to think about it".

After the meeting, I had chance to think about the offer and talk to other people who made similar transition and it seems the salary offered is ~ 4% less than what other people get.

I still did not hear from HR and I still do not know the full details of the package. But I am thinking to contact the manager if he could increase the salary?

Could you please let me know what you think?
Yaza
 
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:04 pm

Yaza, you should recognize that while there are strategies you can take at this point, this is a risk because you've already said YES to their offer. Therefore, the real time for negotiation has passed -- everything you do from here on will be with at least a 50/50 risk of losing the offer entirely.

First off, what do you mean by "others got 4% more." Who are the others? Were they hired by the same company, in the same geographical location, and with exactly the same kind of job? Do they have exactly the same training (discipline, degree) as you? When you ask others their salaries, it's an uncomfortable conversation and many people will add a bit to their number. They do this almost unconsciously -- they just "round it up." By doing that, of course, you find your 4%.

So think long and hard about it first. If you are absolutely sure that this is an unfair offer, than come up with a plan and stick with it. You'll have to be very firm and realize the risk. I think there is a middle ground, though. You're likely to get a review and possibility of a salary upgrade in 12 months, the standard time for this to happen in 90% of companies. Talk to the hiring manager, and not the H/R contact, as soon as possible and start with a very positive "looking forward to being on the team" sort of message. It's positive, it's not negative. But indicate to that person that you've done a bit of research, and you find that on average, their offers are in the 4% higher range. Personally, you don't find 4% high enough to warrant walking away from the offer -- because you like the job and the people you'll be working with -- but you'd like the manager to consider giving you a salary review in six months instead of a year. Tell him or her that you will strive to do the best job you possibly can, and that in six months she'll have a great idea of what you look like as an employee. Don't ask them to commit to a number, just to the review.

That's a middle ground that would work for a person who has already accepted an offer.

Dave
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Andrew » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:36 pm

You don't say where you are in your career, but if it is anything like the beginning, don't bother trying to get another 4%. Your compensation in 10 years will be entirely based on your accomplishments and this initial offer will mean nothing. I know people that started at $50K and in 10 years are making $150K and others that start at $50K and 10 years later were making $65K.

Salaries are supposed to be confidential, so you really should not have information from other employees. By having this discussion you are communicating to management two things: 1) you are not a happy camper and 2) you and the people you spoke to do not follow the rules.

I'd drop the whole thing and focus on making your mark in your new position.
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Rich Lemert » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:50 pm

I agree with the core of Andrew's response, but I'd like to comment on the following statement (at the risk of hijacking this thread):

Andrew wrote:Salaries are supposed to be confidential, so you really should not have information from other employees. By having this discussion you are communicating to management two things: 1) you are not a happy camper and 2) you and the people you spoke to do not follow the rules.


This rule exists for two reasons: 1) to protect the privacy of the individual employee, and 2) to make management's life easier. Salaries are based on a number of factors, some of which the job holder is not aware. By making the information bilaterally confidential, HR avoids having to deal with a lot of unnecessary complaints about "why is Sally making more than I am?"

The unfortunate side effect of this is that it places all of the power in the hands of the employer. The employee cannot gauge for himself his value because he can only see on data point - his own salary. It is part of the corporate attitude that feels employees should tolerate whatever the company demands because they are lucky to have a job at all.

The ideal, as far as I'm concerned, is that companies should freely publish salary ranges for all positions. If necessary, similar jobs could be combined to help preserve anonymity (e.g. only one person in the company works in a specific area). Individual employees can see for themselves where they fit in that band and judge whether or not their contribution is properly recognized.

Employees still need to act responsibly with this information, however. They need to recognize the various factors that go into setting specific salaries within the published ranges, and not blindly demand to be paid $X just because that's what someone else makes. They need to honestly assess their contribution to judge whether or not their salary is fair.
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby PG » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:30 am

I like Daves suggestion about potentially adressing the question through a salary revision but Before you got that path make sure that you know that it is possible. For example we are doing a global annual salary revisions for all staff at the same time. Of course promotions etc may happen at other time points but the probability that anyone can request a salary revision that is out of the regular cycle is minimal and not something I would recommend suggesting in our Company since it rather shows lack of understanding of "how we do things".
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Andrew » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:34 pm

Rich, in a large company with a "band" structure, the level of transparency is ridiculous. I was in one of those companies and all my reports knew they made about 15% less than me and my boss made 15% more than me as we all fit into these bands, and the means of the bands were separated by 15%.

In most companies, you have a lot less information. I would say in general, in the absence of a well defined band structure, the employees don't really have the information to know where they stand relative to others with the same experience or background. Even managers may not have enough people under them to know how a given employee at a grade fits in with others in that grade (maybe that manager only has 1 Chemist III or Sr. Chemist II).

This is why I think having these discussions in the absence of real information is pointless. Even for entry level offers, candidates are different. We'll pay formulators more than analytical folks starting out as they are harder to find. We might pay the MIT grad more than the MSU grad. 4% is the difference between $65K and $62.5K. I cannot see how a discussion over this minute a difference in an initial evaluation of value to the company will succeed or even end well.
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Rich Lemert » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:54 pm

I agree that minute differences (e.g. your 4% figure) are not worth worrying about. That's why I included my warning to them in my final paragraph.

What I object to is the attitude that employees must always be kept in the dark about what their peers are earning. Information is power, and this policy keeps all power in the hands of the company. There are good reasons for the employer to keep the information confidential, just as there are good reasons for employees not to share information they've found out about what others are making. I don't feel these reasons apply to information about your own salary.
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Andrew » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:16 am

Ok, lets do a thought experiment here. Suppose I drop the policy of confidentiality and let everyone talk about their salaries. Now, I expect this would precipitate a wave of discussions with everyone below the mean. So, how would those discussions go? Each employee would come armed with information about other's salaries and we would still be unable to explain why this person is 10% below the mean as we would remain unable to discuss the performance of the comparator employees as it is all confidential. Ultimately it will come down to "you have to trust that we have compensated you correctly relative to others in grade based on performance, of which I can only talk about yours". Do you think that would lead to more or less contentment in the workplace than the current approach which we all use?
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby Yaza » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:18 am

Thank you everyone for the advice.

The issue now is that I feel that the position will be like a continuation of my postdoc and I will continue to perform basic science that is not related to any existing company products. So I feel that I missing the industrial experience of a big pharma. I feel like that they look at me as a "lab person". While I like the lab work, I would appreciate more responsibility which I do not think they are keen to offer this to me. I am already planning to my next move which will have some management level I suppose. So I should get the best experience of this position.
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Re: Can I negotiate an offer after verbal acceptance?

Postby PG » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:36 am

If I unerstand this correctly you have done a postdoc in a Company, you have been offered and accepted a position within the same department of that company.

After accepting you first had thoughts about the salary (ie 4% lower than you woudl have liked) and now About the actual position itself.

I believe that the first lesson is to think and ask questions that you may have before you accept a position. It is perfectly acceptable to ask questions about the content of a position. The company wants you to be happy with the position that you accept, it is a part of having the right person at the right place. If you are unhappy they will soon need to recruit again for the same position and they most likely want to avoid that. Importantly, the questions you ask will be a part of the material they use to make a decision and too many questions about for example career advancement into a non-laboratory position will send a very clear signal that you are actually not looking for a bench position and may become an issue if you are applying for a laboratory position.

Currently you are in a position in which you have accepted a position and it is highely unlikely that the company you work for now will offer you anything else before they have seen your performance in the position offered. Walking away from a position after you have accepted it makes people unhappy and biotech / pharma is a small community and you really cant afford to make too many people unhappy. My advice would be to start working at the position you have accepted and once you have done that look for opportunities that will allow you to advance your career either within the same company or somewhere else. You will probably have to stay for at least maybe a year before moving on internally. Externally can be done faster but will be easier after 1-2 years.
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