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Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Hello All,

I'm a young engineer that just got a bachelor's in civil engineering. I recently interviewed for and was offered a position at a construction company I was eager to work at.

I tried to negotiate a higher salary than I was offered, but ultimately I failed and was offered only the original salary. I accepted this since I still wanted the job and the salary isn't much lower than what I was aiming for.

My question is, as engineering employees and employers yourselves, what would you think of a new person coming in like this? I feel kind of embarassed and awkward coming into my first day on Monday now that I tried to squeeze some more money out of them and failed. Do you think they will look down on me a little bit for that or will they just forget about it?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Nothing wrong with that! It is somewhat expected. The fact that you got the job means they are OK with you. Now prove yourself and the salary will come!

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

They'll forget about it. I didn't try and negotiate pay until I took this job at the age of 38 (I was quite happy to walk if they didn't bump it up). Easiest $12000 per year I ever made!


Greg Locock

New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

LOL Greg!

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

New grads really have no bargaining power but, in general, there is nothing wrong negotiating.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

I admire your nerve for trying, as a new graduate. That probably sets you apart from other grads they've hired.
Keep up the attitude that you won't just accept what's given to you, because often there's more if you just ask.
This is only one case where there wasn't more to be given - but next time there might be.


RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

You don't know until you try and practice makes perfect. That was practice session one. Kudos to your verve and willingness to put yourself out there! If your employer is smart and thinking, they'll recognize your potential beyond just the technical aspects.

Since you're a new graduate, make sure you get on the path to licensure. It matters.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

To me, it would depend highly upon how the offered salary compared to median salaries for the locale... if they were above average and you still (in your words) tried to squeeze them for a few more dimes, I'd be somewhat annoyed as an employer. If they were at or below average, I wouldn't give it much thought.

But they hired you, so it's in the past and should be (mostly) forgotten about.

Dan - Owner

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

It doesn't matter. Go to work. Get on with your life.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

It's expected. They've seen it before, they'll see it again. Assuming their refusal doesn't affect your work behavior, then no one will care. Most of the people who work there won't even know.

And I disagree that new grads have no bargaining power. With the construction industry booming right now, it's pretty competitive and can get difficult to find qualified people. Especially qualified US citizens or permanent residents that won't have to play the visa game. New grads certainly have less bargaining power than experienced people, but I don't think I agree that it's nothing. Especially if the company has already gone through the process of courting you, checking references, etc.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

You'd have been foolish not to try!

They won't forget about it- they'll at least for a while remember that you were concerned about your salary. Work on being worth more, then gently remind them that you're worth more. Gently- and only after proving that you are indeed worth more.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

You were correct in trying to get as much as you can. Many companies will exclude a new hire from the first pay raise cycle (or even the second) on the premise that you got a great deal coming in.

Keep an eye on some of the benefits that don't show up on your paycheque - tuition reimbursement, kick-ass health benefits, opportunity for travel (especially internationally) - try to see the whole package

As others have mentioned make sure your company is compensating reasonably for the industry you work in and the city you are located in.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Job offer time is the best time for you to negotiate. Negotiate fairly and you should never feel bad and you shouldn't get any bad feedback from a fair employer. I negotiated salary for every job/contract I took, I didn't win every time but the practice was good.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Always negotiate. I've had companies come up between $2,000 - $25,000 more than the initial offer. Even when I was very happy with an initial offer, I still ask if there is any more they can do, and so far there always was more they could do (and they did it). Only a few times (out of 50+ offers in the last 10 years) has a company said they couldn't do more. All of those times, the initial offer was low enough that it was an easy for me to decline and move on to other things I had in the works.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

The only failed negotiation is when you don't even try. You've set the tone that you are looking for a little more. Someone else that didn't negotiate at all might take a year and a few awkward conversations with the boss to get where you're at on day one. Just because you didn't get a bigger number now doesn't mean the negotiation was a failure.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

My company usually takes in 5 - 10 graduates a year in this area, and has a fixed salary for new graduates. It goes up every few years to keep in line with inflation and most companies are within a couple of thousand £'s of each other. The recruiters here probably couldn't (even if they wanted to) increase the start salary of a graduate.

That said, I'm pretty sure none of them would hold it against you for asking (as long as you were professional about it and not asking for a ludicrous amount).

If I was sitting in the interview, I'd be pretty pleased to see someone recognising their own value and trying to sell it. That's a valuable skill that not all graduates are able to do.

In my experience the best time to negotiate salary is during a 'yearly review' (if you do those) or at promotion. Demonstrate you are "exceeding the requirements of your role", and it should be a fairly easy case to get a raise.

Bear in mind 'large' companies will have 'pay brackets' which will relate to job roles / titles / responsibilities, and being paid more than those brackets allow will be hard (if not impossible) to achieve. Although technically based on roles, you might also find a 'years of experience' expectation (although I think this is technically discriminatory, you'll probably find it still holds true).

I have a good relationship with my boss, so I have no qualms about telling him what increase I expect at reviews / promotions and he usually meets these or comes close. In a few cases, HR have stepped in and capped a raise (there are 'mandatory company wide limits'), but he's usually made it up with a bigger than usual annual increase the following year, or a bit more in the bonus etc.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

JMO but fresh graduates' experience and ability varies quite significantly so I wouldn't say they have no bargaining power, some even have more than experienced engineers I've known. Personally I wont negotiate salary, either a company approaches me with an offer within a couple thousand of my desired salary or I look elsewhere. Some will say that's short-sighted but I've had no issues being in the top 10% of engineers and getting what I want in that regard, maybe I'm just lucky but I dont like to deviate from success. OTOH I do negotiate vacation time and relocation/hiring bonus (often forgotten "free" money) as those aren't tracked nearly as closely as salary on budgets and HR reports.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Fresh out of college you should be more concerned about where you work and the quality of your initial work experience.

I wouldn't worry about your employer's reaction. I'm sure they laughed it off. Kids say the darnedest things.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

The two (or three) "bosses" interviewing you and discussing the starting salary will not be in their positions forever. Unless some one was actually in the room when the issue came up, it is not known nor discussed outside of that room: If it were known they'd have problems with anybody else making less, or starting out less, or getting a different deal. DON'T TALK ABOUT SALARIES with anyone EXCEPT your boss.

Your reputation, however, IS what "you" begin making with the engineers, bosses, IT, expense accounters and travel staff and management that YOU interact with for the next 2-3 years of your salary cycle.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Embarrassment and humility coupled with the will to prove you are more than a single misstep will get you somewhere. When they ask you for something, just try to give something that is overkill that not many people in your salary range could give.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

You didn't do anything wrong, negotiating is not easy. Give it a bit of time, prove that you deserve a raise and go for it.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

I think I'm kicking a dead horse at this point but I'll echo everyone else: don't worry about it! Best of luck in your new job!

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

No one is coming to work because it is their hobby. Everyone is trying to save up for their retirement and their mortgage. Now you just go to work and hopefully you get what you want there. A pretty big chunk of fresh graduates switch companies after they get their PE license so don't be too surprised or disappointed when if your present employer doesn't progressively increase your salary. Companies that play that game love spending money to train fresh graduates over and over.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

"No one is coming to work because it is their hobby."

Oops, did I make a wrong turn down the hallway? I was wondering why I was having so much fun; I hope no one in HR catches on winky smile

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

It is not bad to negotiate. Even you are young, you showed personality when you tried to negotiate with them. That is a good thing. I think that your new employee liked that, especially because you will be working in the construction industry.

RE: Salary Negotiation Failed Recent College Graduate

Take the job. Do it with all your heart and soul.
Once you learn the ropes, get a new job. You will know your value.
If the company counters, its good, if not, move on.

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