Author Topic: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?  (Read 1044 times)

AMandM

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In a conversation recently, the question arose whether an offer of a different job could be used as leverage to negotiate improvements in your current job situation. I know that in academia, high-up professors can absolutely get concessions from their university (more money/more research support/lower teaching loads) if another university is trying to lure them away. It's not a give, but it's not uncommon, and there aren't any negative repercussions for trying, even if you don't get what you want and you still stay put.

The person in the conversation with the most corporate management experience said no. "I've had people do that to me, and they might get a little salary bump or something. But the first chance I got, they were gone, because they'd shown that they weren't loyal to the organization." Is my interlocutor representative of the general way the corporate world operates? It seems consistent with lots of stories on here of the loyalty corporations expect *from* their employees while not extending the same *to* them. On the other hand, you'd think a company would take steps to keep a valuable employee.

ctuser1

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2020, 07:42:45 PM »
The person in the conversation with the most corporate management experience said no. "I've had people do that to me, and they might get a little salary bump or something. But the first chance I got, they were gone, because they'd shown that they weren't loyal to the organization." Is my interlocutor representative of the general way the corporate world operates?

He is right, but for slightly different reasons than he directly explained.

When you do this, you put your manager in a very difficult position. Corporations DO NOT LIKE to hike salaries of existing employees. So, the manager really has two choices:
1. He does nothing and tells you to take a hike. It somehow becomes common knowledge (it tends to). That is now used by HR or higher-ups against the manager when he is trying to fill the empty position back up again.
2. He really pushes it with higher ups, uses a lot of his political capital, to secure a raise (likely to be small) for you, with no guarantee how loyal you will really be going forward.

How do you think your chances are in that place after you put your manager into that tough spot professionally?

Incidentally, boomerang employees are perfectly fine in most places (with exceptions, Bloomberg, for e.g. never hires previous employees)! You give your 2-week notice, go out, keep in touch with folks, and come back 2 years later after negotiating a higher salary upfront.

ChickenStash

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 10:14:51 AM »
Short answer: Yes, you can use a competing offer to negotiate for better benefits. It's not uncommon.

Long answer: ... but it's risky. Based on the people I know that have done it, things didn't always turn out well. In a few cases, they got little extra but were put on the short list to be canned the next time there was a RIF. Some others wound up with higher workloads or put on bad projects that made the job unbearable and they wound up leaving - there's a thought that more $ means higher workload rather than just keeping pace with the market. The company could also call their bluff. I've seen some folks present another offer and the manager flat out say no and "encourage" them to resign right there.

Some departments do voluntarily give people raises to keep pace with the market. I worked one place that had to give me a "pity raise" so that my salary moved above the minimum for the job code - I should have quit when they told me that. On the other hand, a manager friend of mine recently took over a department and handed out quite a few raises and promotions to get everyone up to market wage and get their titles to match their skills - he had a lot of work to convince HR that the existing pay rates did not match the market.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 10:24:24 AM »
I haven't dealt with this personally but with some friends the way it has worked is if they were offered a job somewhere else and truly planned to leave. They informed their current employer that they were planning on taking the position and in some cases the current employer offered to match that offer to try and keep them. However, this is only going to be effective if the employee in question is really someone they want to retain. My friend that had the most success with this is now an executive at a large tech company in his mid-30s so he's on the far end of the bell curve. This tactic is probably going to backfire if you're just an average to slightly above-average employee - or if you're dealing with a huge rigid corporation.

Go read the thread on FU Money stories. This is the kind of situation where you would need to be willing to actually leave and take the other job if they say no. And in a year or two you could end up coming back and getting a promotion/raise.

Boll weevil

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 01:27:27 PM »
It can work the other way too. I donít know if they still do it, but one of the companies in town would blacklist you if they extended you an offer and then you didnít come work for them. They didnít like being used as the leverage.

Malcat

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2020, 04:36:30 PM »
Ooh, this is a very "it depends" kind of territory.

It depends on your company's corporate culture:
-as mentioned above, if the culture is against raising salaries, would this put your manager in a bad position?
-how is your company with boomeranging back?

It depends on where this offer came from and what's standard in your industry:
-Did you seek out this offer while still working for your company? If so, this could get you fired or at very least, mistrusted.
-Is this offer unsolicited and are unsolicited offers the norm in your industry? If both yes, then your company probably deals with this all the time and is better equipped to handle it effectively.

Overall, I wouldn't try this unless I was very willing to leave the company anyway AND I was okay with the other offer falling through as well, AND there was some rational reason to stay if they did come through with a great counter offer. This would make sense in a situation where a job offer required a major relocation, and where finding new positions in general is quite easy.

I would NOT do this in a company with a notoriously punitive culture, I would also not do this if there are only a few options for employers, or a very tight knit industry, as it risks burning two bridges.

Personally, I always made my employer aware of the unsolicited offers I was receiving. Although I was never trying to negotiate an increase in compensation, I was definitely always using it for various forms of leverage.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2020, 12:31:53 PM »
I think everyone above gave the same answers I would give..

The only thing I would add to is that if you are happy at your job (outside of money) then you should be speaking to your management about MBO's or other opportunities to make more. If you go to your management and there is no opportunity to make more then you just need to make a career decision on happiness vs $$.

Personally I would never take a counter offer (for some of the reasons stated) and once I've been put in situations that had me look for a job, I knew it was time to go. And when people have come to me for jobs I made those career decisions

use2betrix

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2020, 05:42:03 PM »
Depends how valuable you are to the Company and your team.

I started at my current company (contractor for a fortune 50 company) two years ago. Within 6 months they gave me a $45k raise and two weeks vacation, without me even asking for it.

Within about a year of that, I was getting burnt out so I asked for more.. Bumped up to about $100k over my starting pay, and to 3 weeks vacation + paid holidays (didnít get paid holidays before).

I knew I had leverage and I knew my value to the company. I have employees that I will fight tooth and nail to get them more money, make things easier on them, and basically help them out as much as I can. Iíve also had employees that if they were to ask for a small raise, I wouldnít even bother asking my boss and just tell them no.

Some companies may have policies that restrict this kind of stuff from happening, but in many cases there are loopholes.

Ultimately, the biggest thing to make this happen is to be invaluable. I work circles around probably 98% of the population in terms of work ethic. Iím not that smart (I just have an associates degree, and struggled HARD in school) but I work very very hard and Iíve found systems to help compensate for my learning/memory issues..

Thereís a book called ďGritĒ by Angela Duckworth that discusses this well.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2020, 05:45:56 PM by use2betrix »

PDXTabs

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2020, 07:45:19 PM »
It depends on the organization. I worked for a Dow component where it was 100% okay, because that's the only way you were going to get your pay back to industry standard. It was a big bureaucracy and that's how you played the game. Now I work at a startup where it is absolutely frowned upon, but I've still seen it work.

Incidentally, boomerang employees are perfectly fine in most places (with exceptions, Bloomberg, for e.g. never hires previous employees)! You give your 2-week notice, go out, keep in touch with folks, and come back 2 years later after negotiating a higher salary upfront.

I think that it is actually good for the organization. Got get some new ideas and then come back.

AMandM

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Re: Can you leverage a job offer to improve your current job situation?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 11:39:21 AM »
Thank you all!