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Strange Behavior During Salary Negotiations

Strange Behavior During Salary Negotiations

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

No, this was all weird.

Assuming they know things about you they they don’t know, like your living arrangements: Weird.

Justifying a salary offer by what they assume your expenses are: Weird. (And irrelevant; your expenses are none of their business, just like your expenses aren’t a way to justify it when you want more money.)

Assuming you’re on your parents’ health insurance: Weird.

Suggesting you live off of credit cards: Weird.

Offering you the job in person rather than over the phone: Inefficient, but not unheard of.

There are a bunch of red flags here. I can’t tell if they were pushing you for an answer right then and there in the meeting, or if you just didn’t ask them for time to think it over, but if they were pressuring you for an on-the-spot answer, that’s another red flag (the biggest of all, in fact — that is always a bad sign).

As for how to handle it — well, interviews are a two-way street. Just like they wouldn’t have offered you a job if you had conducted yourself really weirdly throughout, you should be very cautious about accepting an offer from any employer that behaves weirdly itself. It’s highly unlikely that the weirdness is somehow confined only to their hiring process — and indeed, you found that out after you started working there.

So my advice if you encounter a situation like this in the future is to (a) thank them for the offer and tell them you’d like a few days to think about it, (b) do some research if you haven’t already on what the job should pay in your area and at that level, and © call them up and counter with a higher number if you feel it’s warranted. If someone refuses to give you time to think over an offer, run. If someone tells you that you should accept a low offer because you live with your parents, politely respond that your expenses are not a factor in how much your work is worth. And if an employer seems to be unprofessional, rude, or unfair in its dealings with you as a candidate, assume it’s going to only going to get worse once you’re employed there.

What do YOU think? Ever had a strange experience negotiating your salary?
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PLUS: 10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary