General discussion


The salary issue... how to approach it?

By ObiWayneKenobi ·
I'm having a problem that I hope I can get some advice with.. I'm planning on relocating soon and I've been interviewing with a company in the state I'll be moving to for a position as an Applications Developer (working with ASP.NET, C# and SQL Server); they haven't made me an offer yet but I've had three phone interviews and flew in for an on-site interview, so chances seem pretty good. They might offer me the job by the end of the week.

They wanted a salary history in my cover letter, and as I'm used to companies that offer much less than what's average where I live now, I said I was negotiable but looking for something around $35,000/year (which is still a good deal more than I am making at my current job). I have two years experience with ASP.NET and web design/development, and with some of the reasearch I did it seems like the average salary for what I would be doing is closer to 45-50K a year, so it looks like I sold myself short for fear of pricing myself out of the job (as I said, I'm used to companies that will offer barely anything no matter your experience, so to me $35k/year is a lot, but then again I've only worked for small businesses and this is a very large company).

Basically I'm asking how do I approach this.. if they make me an offer and ask me what I'd want as a salary, is it "right" to jack up the amount when I essentially said I would take something lower in the cover letter (although I *did* say negotiable)? And if so, how much do I up it by? I'm not greedy.. I could live on the 35k but I also don't want to screw myself either way by taking too low an offer since I *am* going to be moving to another state after all, and if I price myself too low I'll never be seeing much in the way of a raise, but I also don't want to shoot myself by asking for too much and losing the offer. So how do I approach this situation?

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by Ed Woychowsky In reply to The salary issue... how t ...

Geography plays a big part in salary. Consider, for example, a position for 45K that would be wonderful in one location might be a starvation wage elsewhere. Personally I increase the dollar amount in relation to the distance from home and also take into account city taxes, which are common around New York City and Philadelphia. Since you will be relocating, this should provide an opening for bringing up the need for additional dollars.

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by JamesRL In reply to The salary issue... how t ...

Its always easier to be honest.

I would suggest that you do the research on the cost of living, and if it appears like its more than you thought, adjust your requirements accordingly.

In my company, you are put into salary bands with minimums and maximums. If you start at the bottom of the band, you are more likely to get a bigger raise than if you are at the top of the band. So your theory isn't necessarily so.

I too started at the bottom of my pay scale for my job, but over time, I catch up. When I am paid more than average for the job, I either get smaller raises, or a promotion (and the cycle starts again).


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Or you get pushed out of the company like I was

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Carefully

because you reach a point where they have to either promote you to the next level, if they have an opening, or push you out because they can't or refuse to pay you more than your current salary allows. Either way, it's a no win situation because everyone will eventually reach an apex beyond which they cannot progress in a given corporation.

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Don't ever chase a job around the country

by Why Me Worry? In reply to The salary issue... how t ...

Believe me, I know from personal experience, but mine worked out for the better. I can't tell you how many times I hear of people relocating to work for a new employer, only to be hung out to dry within a few months to a year because they were terminated shortly thereafter. It's your choice, but unless you have other options, I'd be very carefull if I were you.

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Thank You

by ObiWayneKenobi In reply to Don't ever chase a job ar ...

I'll be careful.. the relocation is something I plan on doing anyways.. my girlfriend lives there and we are expecting our first child soon (next month, actually), so I want to relocate, and obviously need to find employment.

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Awww..congrats on your first child

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Thank You

I wish you and your family all the best and much success in your career. You are always welcome to participate on TR and discuss practically anything that comes to mind, be it IT related or not. :-)

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My response to requests for "salary history"

by Why Me Worry? In reply to The salary issue... how t ...

Read my resume and call my references, but I will not sign my own death warrant by letting them know what I was making if I am looking for a significant pay increase. If they really need to know, I'll provide them with pay stubs, but giving them a printed list only serves as ammunition for their HR dept to lawball you when it comes to negotiating pay. If they won't have it any other way, I tell them where they can stick their job and move on to someone else that doesn't need a blood, urine, and DNA sample from me for a damned job. If my resume, experience, and refernces aren't enough information for them to determine what I am worth and respect my market value, then they can all go to **** for all I care. For every cheap *** employer looking to lowball, there are hundreds who will pay well above market for quality talent.

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Variation on a theme

by Too Old For IT In reply to My response to requests f ...

Since Columbus, Ohio has been so far below market wages for decades now, I include the following at the top of any salary history I am forced to provide:

Salary history should not be taken as an indication of acceptable compensation for positions under consideration in <fill in new town in better market>.

Since only an idiot does not understand that a request for salary history is only so that HR can find a down-trodden sheep to low-ball.

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Well Said.

by ITPirate In reply to My response to requests f ...

What you have made in the past really should be of no consequence to your future employer. If you made $35k at your last job, the company feels that they're doing you a great service by offering you $40k. 5-Grand a year is a small raise no matter what they say. It works out to approximately a $2.30 per hour raise and even less after taxes.

Companies that offer "competitive salaries" really don't. They compete just enough to be higher than your last job.

As for whether or not it is right to ask for more after stating in your cover letter what you might accept, hope that they ask you what you would "like" to make before the offer is made. And next time, you might want to put a clause in your cover letter stating what you want, and that you would consider taking less but that it would depend upon the job and it's requirements.

Just an idea or two for you.


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I Agree 100%

by Iblastrock In reply to My response to requests f ...

Well stated. I could not have said it better myself.

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