Author Topic: $3000 =/= $20,000  (Read 5628 times)

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Mopsy428

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$3000 =/= $20,000
« on: August 07, 2010, 09:13:08 PM »
BG: I have my law licenses. Right now, I'm looking for legal work or any work in a certain part of the country. (I'm teaching in a different part of the country.)

I sent in an application, resume, and my required salary to a large company. I got offered an interview. For my requested salary, I stated X amount. The interviewer "Mr. Jones" asked me about the salary, and if I would be opened to a lower salary. I said I would, BUT based on living expenses and student loans, it could only be X-$3000. He says that would be fine, and we scheduled the interview.

I go down to Big City. The interview went really, really well. I got offered the job, and then Mr. Jones told me the starting salary was X-$20,000. I thought I heard wrong, but I didn't. For one of the few times in my life, I was stunned. The salary would barely cover living expenses.

Then Mr. Jones said something that really irritated me even more: "Yeah, this is the starting salary we give kids right after they get out of college." First, I'm not a "kid". Sometimes I'd like to be one, but the reality is that I'm close to 30. (And for the record, I do NOT think recent college graduates are "kids", either.) Second, I didn't "just get out of college." I wanted to say, "Oh...so what do you give "grown-ups" with advanced degrees?" But I kept my mouth closed until I said, "Thank you so much for the interview. I really appreciate it, but unfortunately, I can't accept the job."

I felt awful about not accepting the job, and I'm angry at myself for seemingly not making it clear that I wasn't interested in the interview if the salary would be that low. How on earth do I avoid that situation in the future without sounding pushy? I would much rather have people be upfront with me (example: "Unfortunately, we start all employees at Y salary, regardless of experience") than just telling me something that I want to hear.

Dindrane

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2010, 09:21:21 PM »
I don't think there's really anything you could have said to make yourself more clear.  It was really their fault that they wasted your time and their money by not being upfront with what the salary would actually be.

The only thing I can think of that you might have done differently is push them to tell you a number once you told them your salary requirements and they asked if you'd be willing to go lower.  So you say you need $X, and they ask if you are open to a lower salary, and you say, more or less, "How much lower?"

The might not be honest even if they are naming the number, but you're more likely to hear something that is closer to the truth that way, I'd guess.


katarain

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2010, 09:26:26 PM »
He's just a big fat liar.  It's not your fault.  Bait and switch, I guess.

KenveeB

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2010, 09:28:18 PM »
When he said that was the starting salary they always used, you would've been perfectly fine to say explicitly, "Unfortunately, as I said in my initial interview, I am unable to accept a salary lower than X-$3,000."  You were very clear about your requirements earlier and they completely ignored you.  I agree with Dindrane that it's better to let them suggest what the lower salary would be.  Maybe "Yes, I'm open to some negotiation.  What is your usual starting salary for someone of my experience in this position?"  If it's completely outside of the realm of possibility, then you can say that clearly at the time.

June24

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2010, 10:41:48 PM »
It wasn't your fault at all - they were dishonest with you and wasted your time.  >:( Next time, you could push harder for them to name a starting salary before going for an interview. Maybe they thought that you'd be more likely to accept once you had spent all the effort traveling to their location - people are less likely to pull out of a deal once they feel like they've invested effort, even if the effort that they expended doesn't justify the losses that they'd be taking. Basically, they manipulated you. They heard you loud and clear when you said that your minimum salary was X-3,000 - they just didn't care. Don't feel bad!

Just curious - how did they react when you refused the offer? Did they try to guilt you?

Also, they paid for your trip down there and the hotel, right? I think PPs thought that they did, but I didn't see it in your OP.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2010, 10:47:38 PM by June24 »

cicero

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2010, 08:05:57 AM »

i think that at the point where the offer was x-20,000 you should have said something. but there was really not much you could do when someone is playing games.

this happened to me more than once when i went to interviews through a placement agency. They were told that the job pays Salary X and at interview I was told SalaryLessThanX. I did say "Oh there's been a misunderstanding. I am under the impression that job pays X".

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zoidberg

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2010, 08:21:54 AM »
Don't feel bad. Theyíre counting on you to feel bad. Bad enough to take the job even though it pays much less than youíre worth. Itís unethical and unproffessional but it seems to work. I also have the feeling that itís a tactic thatís often used on women. As an HR Manager, this makes my blood boil.

Oh, just wanted to add: itís okay to have one set salary for people starting at your company. But itís something you have to make clear from the get-go. I had a hard time finding good people for our Trainee openings because we could only pay amount X. But I never held back the information
« Last Edit: August 08, 2010, 08:25:21 AM by nischi »

Carnation

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2010, 02:05:18 PM »
Hopefully he will not get anyone desperate enough to take that salary.

The only reason he offers that little is because he thinks someone will take it. :(

sbtier

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2010, 02:11:04 PM »
Happened to me last year.  Had four in-person interviews and then got an offer for 15K less than the amount they agreed was fine in the first interview.  I turned it down cold and tell anyone who mentions the company how they wasted my time.

Goog

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2010, 06:26:06 PM »
And that's why it's generally a good idea to put the 'desired salary' a few to several thousand more than what you really expect to make.  Because THEY want to get you for the cheapest they can, so they're never going to offer you what you ask for.  They'll always offer a few $K less.  In your case, unfortunately, it was waaaaaaayyyy out of the ballpark of even being feasible, but with a different company, that might not be the case.  You can always lower the salary that you'd be willing to accept, but there's really no way you can come in later and say 'oh, actually I'd really like to make a few thousand more than what I put on my salary requirements.'  So start out on the high end and then you have some cushion for negotiation.

And if they ask you how much less you would be willing to accept?  In your mind, you know you can go $5000 less.  Don't say that to them.  Say $3000.  Or even $2000.  Then if you have to drop even lower, you have some power for negotiation....if you go even less, will they throw in an extra X days of vacation?  They're not looking out for you at all....you have to do that.

But yes, in your case I would be mad too.  It WAS a waste of your time when they had no intention of offering you anywhere near even your lower amount.  But just think of it as dodging a bullet...if you had accepted it, you'd probably end up being resentful and always wondering if you could have done better, and that's not a good way to start off a new job.

Sharnita

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2010, 06:32:18 PM »
Actually I think it would be reasonable to ask about salary for adults with advanced degrees.

DavidH

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2010, 11:47:44 AM »
I'm going to disagree with some of the others and say I think you were right to turn in down, but salary for a new job is a negotiation and this was part of the process.  You made an offer, they asked if you'd accept less, you said yes and gave a lower number and they decided to bring you in for an interview.  At that point, they thought that there was room to negotiate and that after the interview was the right time to continue. 

They didn't know that X-3k was really your lowest, just as you don't know that x-20 was really their best offer since you didn't really try to negotiate once you heard that number.  Most companies won't finalize a salary negotiation until they've interviewed the person, because they have a range and based on the interview they may be willing to pay a bit more or less.  In general, it is worth having a preliminary discussion as you did up front, to make sure there is some chance of agreeing on a number later on. 

In the future, in the same situation, I'd give a slightly higher number up front, and then if they ask would you be willing to go lower you can say that there is some room to negotiate and ask what they were thinking of.  You are under no obligation to give a number at this point, and if you do it weakens your postion by essentially lowering the starting point.  If they respond with a number, assume it is their starting point and if you are not too far off, go ahead and interview. 

After a successful interview, both you and the company now have something invested in the process.  If they give you a number that is too low, particularly if they give you a reason like this person did, use it to your advantage.  In this situation you could have said, I understand that's what you pay recent college graduates, but I have an advanced degree and XYZ experience so I would be more valuable to you, what do you pay those with my experience. 

lilfox

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2010, 01:14:14 PM »
"Yeah, this is the starting salary we give kids right after they get out of college." First, I'm not a "kid". Sometimes I'd like to be one, but the reality is that I'm close to 30. (And for the record, I do NOT think recent college graduates are "kids", either.) Second, I didn't "just get out of college." I wanted to say, "Oh...so what do you give "grown-ups" with advanced degrees?" But I kept my mouth closed until I said, "Thank you so much for the interview. I really appreciate it, but unfortunately, I can't accept the job."

I had a version of this happen to me (funny how common it is, eh?), although the hiring manager was much more polite about it.  When I got my job and salary offer, I thought it seemed a bit low so I talked to the manager to discuss the offer.  He said that it was a standard amount for someone who had just gotten their advanced degree.  I said that's fine but I also have 3 years of applied experience from my break before the degree.  In my case he was able to go back to HR and get me an adjustment and I took the offer.

I think it would have been fine if you'd politely reminded him of your extra years of experience/education and that you don't fit into that 'kids' starting salary' camp.  But it was also perfectly appropriate for you to say that your salary requirement is X and unfortunately their offer is too low to consider.

BTW, I've also heard the line about "we start all position X's out at this salary."  In some cases it may be true but when they're offering less than market standard, it only hurts that company.

Mediancat

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 01:36:00 PM »
I'm going to disagree with some of the others and say I think you were right to turn in down, but salary for a new job is a negotiation and this was part of the process.  You made an offer, they asked if you'd accept less, you said yes and gave a lower number and they decided to bring you in for an interview.  At that point, they thought that there was room to negotiate and that after the interview was the right time to continue.  

In that case, he sounds like a horrible negotiator, then. Bargaining is supposed to be about reasonable amounts. If the interviewer had meant "X-5" I could still see getting the OP in for an interview, but the difference between X-3 and X-20 is so broad that the interviewer either wasn't listening to the OP, or simply felt that once there he could pressure her into it.

So at best the guy's incompetent, and I'm not inclined to give him that much.

Rob
"In all of mankind's history, there has never been more damage done than by someone who 'thought they were doing the right thing'." -- Lucy, Peanuts

LeeLee88

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Re: $3000 =/= $20,000
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2010, 10:23:06 AM »
I have been in the same situation, and have said, "Well, the only issue I have with that is that I did stipulate that I could only accept [this] pay range.  Is that a feasible? Because if it isn't, then I am very sorry, but I can't accept the position."  Obviously said with a very polite tone and all that.  This way, you're reminding them that yes indeed we did talk about the pay range, and yes you did agree to that, and the terms still stand.  It is very difficult to hide annoyance at having your time wasted like that, but it isn't rude to gently remind them that you agreed to the interview because your interviewer told you your terms were acceptable.  I honestly don't understand why some companies try to waaaaay low-ball people instead of negotiating a bit, but I'm not an interviewer.

I've had it before that there was a miscommunication between the initial hiring person and my interviewer, but in your case, it's like the guy was just pretending he'd never had that conversation with you.  He really did waste yours and his time in a big way.