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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter answers a viewer’s question about a tough salary negotiation where he was low-balled by a firm he received an offer from and hen received a counteroffer from his current employer.

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I'm going to paraphrase the scenario for you, but just follow with me, okay? This person is an offer from a quality organization that he would really like to work for. However, they lowballed him. The hiring manager went the bat, saying that lowballing him was the wrong strategy; he is worth more. Regardless, HR has lowballed him.

With some trepidation, he decided to give notice. It is the middle the month as I am recording this. He is given 2 weeks notice and it would be starting at the beginning of the month with this well-regarded organization in this job that you prefer doing.

He gives his notice, having been a consultant for this 1 firm for a long time. They have been dangling a carrot in front of him and now that he is given notice, suddenly they go, "Wait! No no no no no no no no no! DON'T GO! WE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU NOW!" He has a dilemma. What do you do?

The negotiation is completely botched so let's acknowledge that. It should have been done differently and I will simply say he has some leverage on both sides. This is the way that I would play it.

He's not sure if his current firm will give them a promotion. I also know he really would prefer the other position more (the one with the celebrity firm), but, you know, there are always other fish in the sea.

You start off by determining from the current firm what they are really going to do for him. Let's start off with the position that he really wants and a raise to minimally manage that which he has given notice for. OR, if it is less money than what he is currently making,. He is getting a promotion, and more money should come with a promotion, right?

Even if they don't commit to the promotion and they just commit to a full-time job, ask them to put the offer letter in writing so that he has that as an indication of their good intentions.

Next, with the other firm, once he has this, he can go back to the celebrity firm and say," I gave notice and received a counter offer. I would frankly rather join your firm. However, let's get practical. All along I have said that I am likely to get a counter. You have lowballed me and guess what happened? I got a counter. I would rather join your firm. The hiring manager tells me that he went to you and told you not to do this but you did it anyway. But, regardless, I would like to join. This is the number that will cause me to join."

The 1st thing I would do actually is called the hiring manager before calling HR and tell them that you have another offer as a counter just as you would warned. " You know, I am not independently wealthy.. You won't see my name in the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans. I want to join your firm and I would like to work for you. I can't walk away from so much money and this role which is an interesting role. Can you get me more?"

Have him or her go to bat for you with HR. Have them call the big medium blowup the situation and force HR to do what they should've done all along. Some major organizations do this; they lowball and try to save some money. They act as though it is coming out of their pocket. But, at the end of the day, there are other firms that you can join.

Recognize that! This is a market where you have choices. Don't allow yourself to be bludgeoned based upon the old scenario of a year ago and beyond! Use your leverage well here.

The celebrity firm, the well-known firm, will up the offer or they are going to walk away and then the hiring manager is going to blow a fit. That doesn't help you. The real question is you can only do this if you would really accept the current situation. If you won't or can't, then you are stuck because you have no leverage. You don't really want to walk away.

If you are prepared to walk away, this is the best way to play it. Get the current offer,See if they will up the money a little bit when they do it. Then circle back to the celebrity firm's hiring manager and tell them what's happened and say, "Look, I want to join. You know what I am worth. However, HR has a bug up your butt about lowballing me. I don't know why. Do you?' Have he or she go to bat for you.


Jeff Atlman - Job Hunting Coach - Job Search CoachJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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