Salary negotiations at a prestigious firm--mechanics?

I was offered a job on Friday with a MUCH more presitigious firm than the one I’m at now, but they offered me 25% less than what I’m making now. I’m honestly willing to take a small pay cut to get on with this firm because the upside POTENTIAL is definitely there, but I’m responding Sunday night letting them know what my current salary is (I honestly think they have no idea) and explaining that I simply can’t take a 25% pay cut and that I’d need something more on par with what I’m making now. So my question isn’t what should I do. Obviously, I try to negotiate a higher salary. But: I’ve never been through this process before. Does anyone know how it works (negotiations aren’t through HR but through the hiring manager). Is he likely to respond basically “F you, this is how it is. Sorry”? Or is he likely to respond, “This is our position, but we can offer you, maybe 5% more”? What happens if I’m offered a little more? At what point does one reject an unacceptable offer? When they say this is our final offer? How long does this stuff take? Days? Weeks? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.


This is obviously a tough one, but I would highlight thinking about total compensation and about the discounted value of your expected pay. First, I would notes that the salary might be lower at prestigious firm, but what really matters is salary plus bonus plus benefits. If the new firm is more successful, you might expect greater pay from bonuses, particularly this industry. Second, if you think you’ll make much more over the history of your career due to the new job, you also have to think about present values of future earnings. For instance, even if you got paid the same amount at both jobs, but one had a 3% growth in compensation and another had 4% growth, you would still want to take the other one. In fact, it might even make sense to get paid 10% less b/c over your lifetime you might make more (depending on the discount rate). That being said, it can’t hurt to say this is what I make currently, is there any room to negotiate. Or perhaps the salary is set in stone. In that case you could look to get additional benefits. For instance, paying off some of your student loans or a signing bonus. I’m sure they want to hire you and they want to find some way that you both are happy.

Obviously make sure you let them know how much you making at your current firm but don’t tell them you can’t take the 25% cut yet. Ask if their offer is negotiable or not, then you weight all your options go from there