negotiating employment

I was recently offered an entry level position at a corporate company beginning to expand their design team. However, the offer was far below expected (roughly the 3% mark on average). Also, the vacation time was fairly non-existent. I fully understand that this is an entry level position and i really cant turn it down. Im just curious as to how open companies would be to negotiations given the current economic status? Im thinking of giving in my ideal number (roughly 2500 more, still less than the 10% avg), but am concerned about them saying ‘too bad, well go to someone else’.

Do you think I am wrong to ask for more money or vacation time? I just dont want to move just to struggle to live again.

Try saying “I’d like to discuss your offer. I am very interested in the position you’ve offered, but the salary is a bit lower than I anticipated. Would it be possible to bring it up to $XXX? If not, what is your review process like and could I expect to be where I want in 6 months?”

At this point, a job is a job, and if you’re offered one you should probably take it. If they like you, they’ll work a little I’m sure. If they only picked you because you were the one who didn’t talk salary requirements at the interview, they could go to someone else. My guess is they’ll work with you a bit though. $2500 more/year is really only $85-$95 extra take home per paycheck…

Typically, you’d want to sell yourself so well that you can ask for higher/better compensation and the employer will have a tough time saying no. These days, I don’t know how well that really works, especially for something entry level. Think about just asking for more vacation time as opposed to greater pay, at least they won’t feel like you are trying to pinch them for every last penny. Ultimately, no employer who’s got a clue will hire you for more than you will contribute to the bottom line. Unless they are just feeling extremely charitable, anyway (in which case, please forward me their contact info! :laughing: )

I think you can negotiate a bit so long as you go about it with the right way. If you draw a line in the sand, ask for something outrageous, or try to twist their arm, they will likely send you packing, no matter what the state of the economy happens to be.

Listen to the “stuff mom never told you” podcast, their is one about negotiations. This is targeted towards woman, I think, but it seems to be an insightful source of info.

If you have an offer letter, I would casually let them know that you are very interested in the position but feel the offer is a bit below your skill level and would like to know if their is room for a more attractive offer?

I think this really depends on your attitude towards the position, i.e.

“Oh my god, my dream job was offered to me! But it’s a few bucks less than the average” - I’d say take the position.

“So yeah, I got offered this position, sounds ok but the money is kinda lame” - I’d say hold out.


As someone I talked to recently said, now is not the time to be looking for a job. If there are no other offers on the table you may want to seriously consider this as there are very few jobs going. A lot of consultancies are even asking “do we really need interns right now?” because their workload has decreased so much. It’s better to be searching for a good job from the comfort of one.

Tell them you need 24 hour access to the company jet, but you’ll settle for another $2,500 annually.

Doesn’t sound like you are too far off. If $2500 is the only difference, it’s pretty close and certainly within room for negotiation. Your options as i see them-

a. make a counter offer, asking for say $5000 more, then you can settle in the middle. (even $5000 isn’t much, and you might actually get it).

b. make a counter offer asking for X more time vacation (say 5 more days), benefits (kicking in after 3 months instead of 6), etc. that would amount to the $2500 you want. Sometimes it’s easier for a company to add benefits/vacation rather than salary as it doesn’t show the same on the bottom line and isn’t a starting point for future increases.

c. reply with an OK, but ask for a 6month performance review or inquiry into the potential for increases based on normal reviews and increases. average salary increases per year is %3 or so, so if you can get that after 6 months instead of 1.5 years you net the same.

d. accept it. often a job can be a starting point and $2500 is not much in the grand scope of things. if there is future growth opportunities…

e. don’t accept it. if you feel the company doesn’t have much growth potential or isn’t that interesting to you, no need to lose sleep over it.

Since it is a junior position, keep in mind (esp. in this economy) you don’t necessarily have that much negotiating power. likely there are countless others that would be willing to do the job for the amount offered. If you can phrase your counter offer or negotiation in a way that highlights your skills/experience as opposed to straight cash, it’s much better. review the job description and if you have more experience in any area (ie. they asked for 2 years experience and you have 2 plus 1 yr. internship, use that.). of via skills, if they don’t mention CAD but you are proficient you can put that forward as an added bonus for them.

Best of luck,


Thanks for all the help guys. I ended up asking for a little bit more and got halfway there. I also received a performance review in 6 months, so it will all work out in the end.

Needless to say, on March 30 i will officially be able to call myself a ‘designer’. Thanks for all the help guys.

I always thought that companies lower the rate because they expect you to negotiate for a higher price. Ask for a little more than what you think is a prudent number and they will reply with a number that pleases both parties. Act respectfully modest about the situation and you should see a higher price.

Congrats! Did you get the jet?

Needless to say, on March 30 i will officially be able to call myself a ‘designer’. quote]

welcome to the suck.

funny, I was thinking the same. Usually there is a budget for the position and the company will offer you a little less assuming you will ask for more and then they will still be within budget.

If they say no, you can just accept as is and you are no worse off, and you know you at least tried.