Have you ever been offered a job that had a salary budget lower than your target, and were able to successfully negotiate an increase to the offer?

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Yes, but for the most part it’s ill-advised. The budget and salary ranges for each position are set for a reason. Even if you manage to negotiate a higher salary, you would still be within the limits of that range, and your future raises would be capped. Of course, getting a promotion down the line puts you into a new salary range but no one is ever guaranteed that. Now if you know you’ll only stay in this next position for the short term (e.g. max 2 years), then the short term gain might be worth it.

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I ALWAYS ask for their salary target on the first call and I try to get them what they’re looking for if it’s out of budget (and sometimes I can! And if I can’t and the candidate has their heart set on a number I let them know there is no wiggle room and it’s up to them if they want to interview). It irritates me when someone decides when we get to offer that they want more.

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Yeah. It’s a great feeling. But it won’t end well in the long term

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For many organisations I would also think that rewards and remuneration approval will be a pain in the ass

Yes. Because I look at the entire package - the total rewards. If they can come close to the salary range I'm seeking, then I'll ask for other things to make up the difference. A signing bonus, additional vacation, promise of a salary review in 6 months, etc. Not all companies can adjust their standard PTO and hiring practices, but hiring managers often have some latitude. Also, remember that negotiation starts at the very first impression. In the screening interview, make sure that you give a range, not a hard number, and make it clear that you look at the entire offer when considering a new role. Because responsibilities and expectations vary from place to place, it's fair to say that you would need to better understand the role (compensation should match the complexity of the role) before settling on a firm number, but "comparative roles are usually paying XX-XX in my market" ("in my market" is important because of cost of living, which companies not used to remote workers may not have considered.). If you haven't set these expectations from the beginning, you can still come back and say you've done research and the offer is slightly below market and you were wondering if they could come up a little. You probably won't get them to come up more than 10k, but it's something. Final piece of advice - It's not what you "want" it's what the market is paying for the specific role. Depersonalize.

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I haven’t but I’m in a situation now where I hope to. The budgeted salary for the role I’m interviewing for is significantly lower than my prior role (also low for the area). That said, I’ve already decided that I’m comfortable taking a cut if all the other intangibles work out as I’m at a phase in my life where those things are a priority to me. I’m hopeful that between a bit of flexibility on my part and a willingness to close the gap on their end (it’s a large gap so even moving the needle 3-5% would be meaningful), we can work things out. Very curious to hear how it’s worked out for others though!

Just realize that your higher starting salary will increase expectations, could breed resentment among coworkers and could lead to lower increases in later years because you started at an advantage over others (if equity is a concern). And remember that most of the time, unless you are going for a really top level position, they are hiring for the position - not the individual.

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