Friday, February 12, 2010

Zen and the Art of Negotiation

Anonymous @ 8:43 asks,
I got a job offer. (Pardon while I squeal like a child for a second.) I've yet to talk to the Dean about the details of compensation and any negotiations about salary, benefits, and so forth. And, frankly, I'm terrible about negotiating.

So does anyone know what it is reasonable to negotiate about and the process of negotiation? Will he give me an offer and then will I have a couple of days to consider it, during which time I can counter and ask for more money, or a lowering of teaching duties for the first year, or what have you? Any advice at all about how to manage this upcoming conversation would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! (And !!!!!!!! )
First, congratulations. Second, my (extremely limited) understanding is that once you receive a formal offer, in writing, a two week negotiating period is customary. You don't have to answer right away. I'm sure the Smokers can provide more info.

--Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

I think it's quite difficult to negotiate. Last year I had an offer while waiting for a fly out in my dream city and discovering that I was short listed for a fly out for an interview in my fantasy city. The dream city meant that I could easily live with my dream girl, get married, etc... The fantasy city meant that, hell, I don't even know. That's how good the fantasy was. At any rate, I figured that since it was early in the game and I had something like two 1/7 chances for jobs I'd prefer I could negotiate something. Fail. They said that I'd get nothing that they hadn't offered and if I didn't say 'Yes' before these other interviews too place, the offer was off the table. (In fairness to them, the campus interviews were beyond a 2 week period.) The job market is worse this year and I doubt schools don't know this. If you don't have another offer in hand, it's probably quite hard to negotiate. (Assuming that you're not at an institution that wants to keep you.)

zombie said...

Check these sources. I read another one somewhere that was pretty informative, but can't find it at the moment. I'll find it when I get back to my home computer.

As has been said, candidates are in a weak position because of the economy and dearth of jobs. And you and the school know it, so don't make any demands you can't back down from.

And congratulations! (see , we can be magnanimous in the face of bitter jealousy)

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:03,

So what happened?

Anonymous said...

It is very unlikely that you can get much in the way of salary. That's something that is in the dean's hands. On the other hand, department chairs often have a freer hand in organizing their own fiefdoms, so you might be able to negotiate your working conditions — e.g. supplements to travel budget in the first few years, limiting the number of new preps for the first few semesters of teaching, and so forth.

Remember that unless you are willing to walk away or are God's gift to philosophy your negotiating power is next to nothing. These are basically pretty-pleases dressed up as negotiations.

Assistant Professor said...

In my experience, it's fine to ask for improvements in the terms of the offer, but it's very unlikely that you'll get any improvement without another, better offer in hand.
The real negotiation come in when you have more than one offer.
It is not uncommon, however, for job to give an extension on the deadline for you to decide if you have a fly-out or are waiting to hear from another school--though it's also not uncommon for no such deadline to be granted.

Once you have two offers, you can seek improvements in the offers in terms of:
-- salary
-- a one-course teaching reduction in the first year
-- research money

and perhaps other things.

improofund said...

Things may have changed with the bad economy, but two years ago, I negotiated a $3k increase in starting salary (I asked for $5k) w/o having another job offer. I am no hotshot, and this was at a good, but not great, liberal arts college. Deans will almost always offer you the lowest salary they can get away with, and they are, at many places, willing to up this a bit if you ask. You can't _just_ ask, of course, you need to provide some reason (you have a lot of teaching experience, good pubs, what have you -- you can duplicate the reasons that got you the job). I think usually that your new department chair will be able to tell you if there is room to maneuver on salary.

I would always ask for more. Unless the demands are outrageous, you have nothing to lose. And deans expect it. Don't be in the mindset of "oh, I'm a poor graduate student and I don't deserve anything." You do -- more than you will get, for sure.

There is an interesting book on positive (as opposed to adversarial) negotiation called "Getting to Yes." Folks on the Chronicle website recommend it highly.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:03 here,

I live in the actual city, not the dream city and not the fantasy city. I took the job, I teach philosophy, I dine alone on the weekends, and I'll probably never leave the city I now live in. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I should have rolled the dice and turned down the offer. I spend more time thinking about how I should have accepted the offer and gone to the campus visits anyway to see what happened. I also think about how cool it would be to go back in time and do things differently. (A little hint to all of you irrational bastards who want to get into philosophy.)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the job offer!

Anonymous said...

I would always ask for more. Unless the demands are outrageous, you have nothing to lose.

That seems easier said than done. The problem is it's not always obvious that one's demands -- or better, requests -- are outrageous. Couple that with the very real possibility that the department might rescind the offer, and things get complicated.

Anonymous said...

I actually told the chair of the search committee at the end of my on-campus visit that if offered the job I would accept on any terms they decided were fair. I have since become friends with the search committee chair and she told me recently that my declaration that I would not negotiate was the decisive factor in the hiring decision. if I had not done so, they would have opted for another candidate who they suspected had other offers on the table. They just wanted to end a successful search, rather than haggle back and forth over terms. My luck!

Elizabeth said...

Tiny-but-oh-so-important tip I learned from my advisor: get it into your contract that you must be able to open your office windows.

He has the only office windows in the whole building that open. I am so jealous.

Anonymous said...

There are a couple of things to bring to the negotiating table that don't involve salary and benefits, but are good to get covered in these discussions.

1) Relocation expenses. Don't assume they are covered--ask about this. Many places do cover them--but how much? Ask about it, and if, to your surprise, they aren't covered or seem too low, see if you can get them covered.

2) "Start-up Funds." People in the hard sciences get big funds to set up labs, etc. In the humanities there are also (commonly) smaller funds for setting up your office--computer, printer, books. Ask about it. If it seems low or is non-existent, see what you can get in terms of setting up a reasonably priced professional office for yourself. For instance, I arrived on campus to start my TT only to find that my office came equipped with the department hand-me-down computer. It was around 10 years old. You couldn't buy cartridges for the printer. They'd stopped making them. And it was too old to network with the department printer. I had a desktop at home, so had to get a laptop. So, I really wished I had asked about this sort of thing.

3) Pre-Tenure Course Release. Find out what the policy is. There may be a standard policy in place for all junior faculty. There are cases in which there isn't such a policy. Have a discussion about this, if so. The matter of how junior faculty meet research demands for tenure is important. Even in the case where junior faculty are not simply granted course releases for research, ask about competitive course releases.

Congratulations! It's great news, and squealing like a child, turning cartwheels and popping a bottle of champagne are all in order.

zombie said...

All good info here for those of us with a shred of hope left.

Here's another useful link, on Leiter's Law School blog, that's applicable:

Anonymous said...

Couple that with the very real possibility that the department might rescind the offer, and things get complicated

This is ridiculous. If you get an offer and ask for something, they may well say No. In fact, they're almost certain to say no if you have no leverage. But, and please pardon my French, of course they're not going to rescind the fucking offer just because you ask for an extra couple of thousand dollars.

More generally, unless all of your effort has to go into something else (like a job for your partner), try to get the highest starting salary you can. Everything in your future career (raises, outside offers, etc) is affected, through the psychology of anchor points and the magic of compound interest, by the number you start with. Candy like moving expenses and research funds is great, but in the long run nothing beats a higher salary.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:20: I (anon 5:38) never said anything about *not* trying to negotiate for a higher salary. I simply wanted to suggest a couple of things besides salary. Each one proved to matter for me, but I didn't know to ask about them. Thanks so much for the charitable reading of my post. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

But, and please pardon my French, of course they're not going to rescind the fucking offer just because you ask for an extra couple of thousand dollars.

I (anon @ 1:16pm) didn't say an offer might be rescinded "just because you ask for an extra couple of thousand dollars." Nice straw man! I merely claimed it's not always obvious where to draw the line between reasonable negotiating requests and requests which strike the hiring committee as excessive. And if you think no committee's ever rescinded an offer in the face of what it took to be excessive demands, then you're simply mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:20: Yes, they really might rescind the offer--or at least threaten to.

A student in our department got an offer at a top SLAC, as well as a number of other good schools. He tried to "negotiate" his teaching load. They responded that, since he was obviously not as committed to teaching as he had indicated in the interviews, perhaps he was not the candidate for them after all.

He backed off and took the job, on the original terms, and we all learned from it.

I'm not saying that all negotiation is bad, but it's smart to be careful about it.

Jon Cogburn said...

They almost certainly won't rescind the offer, but do keep in mind that you have to go through a third year and then tenure review. In very few cases is it completely clear that the candidate has either failed spectacularly or succeeded beyond wildest dreams. In fact, most institutions have a little bit of the Groucho Marx thing where you wouldn't want to belong to a club that would accept you as a member (and this leads to a lot of defensiveness). So hitting it out of the park when it comes to promotion is usually weirdly defined in terms of being able to get a job elsewhere (and since most institutions are not in dream cities, most of the people who hit it out of the park actually leave the park).

So most of us are in the middle where our promotion could go either way depending on levels of departmental, collegiate, and university charity and/or mean-spiritedness. Factor in the ridiculous job market, and things get much harder. You are almost certainly replaceable.

So I *would* worry a little bit about being too demanding.

My M.O. was not to ask for much but to give as much as I could. (1) Don't have an attitude about the place you live in (it's really insulting to your senior colleagues who have lived there forever). Instead, wring every ounce of meaning and joy you can out of the place (e.g. get involved in theatrical productions, join a D&D game, support the local yoga studio, do charitable work, get heavily involved with a church to the point of cooking things for the potlucks and teaching adult sunday school, etc. etc. etc.). This will actually help you with promotion (and increase your mental and physical health). (2) Strategically pick service things that you will find enjoyable and make the biggest difference in the department that you can (undergraduate advising, the philosophy club, redoing and keeping up to date the web page). (3) Don't have an attitude about "dumbing down" your classes. Rather, do everything possible to be make your classes entertaining and accessible to your students, who will almost certainly be worse than the students you taught in graduate school (though every semester you will have some that are as good as any at your grad. school). Incorporate popular culture into the class. Make sure there is are at least two funny stories in each lecture. Put detailed notes on the web including detailed test help so there are absolutely no curve balls on the tests. (4) Be zen about journal submissions. These journals have a 5 percent acceptance rate, so if you are as good as everyone else, you'll have to submit 20 times to get an acceptance. One or two hours a day will be spent rewriting papers to idiot proof them so the next uncharitable reviewer doesn't make the same mistakes. This actually does make the papers much better. (5) Don't be the squeaky wheel! The squeaky wheel does not get the oil. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

So again, unless you are clearly a star, don't push it with negotiations. Just ask about moving reimbursement and possible money for a new laptop. And ask in a totally casual way, after accepting the job. You have no leverage anyhow. And even if you do (in terms of another job offer) it may not be worth it to come in with a significant portion of the senior faculty and administrators thinking you are a prima donna. It's much better to be the helpful promising young person rather than the city slicker with the attitude. You have no idea how much some of your senior colleagues/administrators will end up hating you if you present yourself as condescending to them.

I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it is just the way it is with the job market so horrible, and with the nature of 95% of the jobs that are available.

Finally, be cool with it if they don't have any money in their budget for your expenses. Education cuts are gruesome at this point. This is another reason to accept right away. The position really can be pulled at the last minute. Get the contract and sign it ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Does the campus have a union? Ask, it might make getting a higher salary difficulty.

Computer. As for funds or the ability to buy what you want. That is, get as much control over this as possible. Make sure you get a nice printer in your office. Black and white lazer printer shouldn't be too much. You might not be thinking about this, but if your campus doesn't replace computers very often, you could get stuck with a piece of crap for 4 to 5 years. Not freaking fun.

Definitely ask about relocation funding. Some schools have a clear policy 2K is the max or something.

What ever you do, ask for these things to be included in the offer letter or an additional letter. Verbals aren't enough.

What's the teaching load? If you have a 3/3, you probably won't get a class off. But 4/4, I bet you could ask for one class off in the fall to get up and running.

Summer: If you need money fast and summer school teaching is limited, get it in your contract that you have first choice this first summer. Maybe no one wants to do it, so you are good to go, but ask.

Ask for a new desk chair or money for one. You will be in it a lot.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Here is a tip from someone on a search committee. If we make an offer to a candidate and that candidate asks for a higher salary then we'll ask what his/her competing offers are (we need this to take to the dean otherwise we look like assholes). If the candidate says that he/she has and will have no other offers then at best we'll all chuckle to ourselves then tell him/her to politely take it or leave it and at worst we'll all think the person is a self-important prick. So, if you have no other offers the worst isn't that we'll simply say no to salary increase requests but rather that we'll say no and think you're a lil' shit before you even show up for your first day.

improfound said...

The above comments should show that negotiating is different depending on the person you are negotiating with. If you are negotiating with a dean, you can talk to your new chair and ask if negotiation is possible and/or desirable. In such cases, you can get a feel for what the institutional norms are, and decide accordingly. At my institution (and I know this is true for others), it is expected that you negotiate your salary. Furthermore, the dean would think you a chump if you didn't. True, I knew that going in, since I asked my chair, and that's a great help. If you are negotiating with your chair or a departmental committee (who may be negotiating on your behalf with a dean), things are much more complicated. You can't really ask "is it cool to negotiate with you?" And you have to worry that you might be unlucky enough to joining a department w/people like anon 7:44 who think you are a "lil shit" for daring to ask for a higher starting salary.

Anonymous said...

Actually Anon 10:09, I would regard anyone as chump who entertained even for a second raising the initial salary offer for someone who had no other offers, that is, unless the candidate has explicitly stated that acceptance is conditional on just such a raise. Of course, anyone with no other offers would be a chump to refuse an offer in hand absent a salary increase. So, your advice then appears predicated on all parties being chumps.

You seem to forget that in order to negotiate anything successfully, you must operate from some position of leverage. Having no other offers means you have nothing to leverage. So negotiating for hardcore items like salary raises with no other offers means that you think you're better than you obviously are or that you are willing to refuse the offer should your request be denied. Either risks annoying the dean or department enough to warrant scrapping you in favor of a likely comparatively hassle-free choice #2. No one on the hiring committee is going to be bending over backward to give you a raise that they themselves did not get, so you must be out of your mind to think they'll happily do it when you ask for it absent competing offers.

Mr. Zero said...

If the candidate says that he/she has and will have no other offers then at best we'll all chuckle to ourselves then tell him/her to politely take it or leave it and at worst we'll all think the person is a self-important prick.

I guess it sort of depends on the details, but from what you say here, it's not at all obvious who the self-important prick is. You don't have to be an asshole to want extra money. You could just be a loving parent or someone who likes to watch sports in HD. And since people report having negotiated such raises with no other offers, and people have pointed out how important starting salary can be, it makes a lot of sense to find out if the number is flexible.

I am stunned that SCs would think somebody is a "lil shit" or a "chump" for asking for extra money. I have no idea why a person would react in such a dickish that way to such an understandable thing.

I guess it just shows that applicants aren't the only ones who can have bad attitudes.

Anonymous said...

One thing you might want to ask about is when your pay begins. I know that when I started my first paycheck came at the end of September and I'd been expecting it at the end of August.

I've heard of some people negotiating for that one month additional pay to tide them over.

juniorperson said...

One point, which I learned the hard way is incredibly important, is TO GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING.

Department Chairs and Deans do sometimes just straight-out lie, even about important things. I left one TT track job (at a good SLAC) for another (at a terrible R1) mainly on the basis of a significantly increased salary and an Instructor position for my wife, both of which vanished the moment I appeared. (Although my salary was continuously promised to me for the first two years, all the while being paid to others in the Department--I was told straight out by the Dean that he'd just lied about the Instructor position. Nice.)

Admittedly, this is an especially egregious case, and I'm happy to say my experiences at my current position (at Perfection College) have all been the opposite of this.... But just remember than one can smile, and smile, and yet be a villain.


CTS said...

As a dept/ Chair and frequent SC member, I suggest a middle road:

1) Ask, nicely, about moving expenses, office amenities, and what should be policy matters such as pre-tenure leaves.

2) Look up the standard pay scale for the institution and your discipline (the scientists are getting more; we live with that). If you really think your offer is less than they can provide someone with your preparation, you can politely ask if there is a posssibility for a bit more in salary.
This is especially tough these days, as most places are making cuts and puttingholds on hiring.

3) Do not assume that what you are accustomed to is the norm where you are going. For example, someone here suggests asking for a nice printer in your office. Where I am, departments have shared printer/copiers - and sometimes two depts. share one central printer/copier. We also have a central print shop for large jobs.
This does not mean you cannot inquire; it means you should be ready to learn the norms of the place hiring you.

4) Know the place! Of course a slac is not going to be happy to hear that a new hire immediately wants a reduced teaching load! That is exactly the kind of request that does make your future colleagues wonder if they have made the right choice.

goforit said...

I can tell you how it works at my place, a university with a good grad program. (I would id myself, but I'm going to include an anecdote involving some jr faculty and I don't want to provoke speculation about them.)

To negotiate, you would talk to the department chair, who would present your requests and case to the Dean of the Faculty. If you didn't have another offer, you wouldn't have much chance of getting anything really substantial (i.e., anything that would cost a lot), but under certain unusual circumstances it could happen. One year we hired two new people, and one of them had another offer and was thereby able to negotiate a higher salary. Our chair asked the Dean to raise the other new hire's salary to match, and he did. My point is, the fact that a perfectly rational profit-seeking negotiator wouldn't give you a nickel under the circumstances doesn't mean it's pointless to ask. (I disagree with one bit of Jon Cogburn's advice: don't wait until after you've accepted the job to ask for more money. Once you've accepted, you've got a salary, and you're going to have to wait until next year to get a raise.)

If you did ask, as I said, you'd very probably get nowhere, but nobody here would think you were a shit and there would be no chance at all that the offer would be rescinded. (I can't imagine rescinding an offer because you found out the candidate wanted to teach one course fewer the first year -- I like teaching and I'm committed to it, but it seems completely reasonable to me to want to do a little less of it, especially in your first year.) On the other hand, nobody would think you were a chump if you didn't attempt to negotiate. I guess if you asked for something ridiculous (instead of the Dell, could I have a Mini Cooper?) your future colleagues might wonder if there was something a little wrong with you. But, after all, we're philosophers and so are you, so nobody is going to be shocked if you are a bit clueless about this stuff.

Here's why I wanted to post this comment. As I obviously don't have to remind the readers here, job candidates go through months at least and often years of groveling, kowtowing, self-abasing, begging, and all that self-esteem crushing crap. Then, finally, you get a job offer, and for one brief shining moment, it's them who want you. It rubs me the wrong way that some people are telling you that even at that moment if you dare to ask for more you're going to be made to feel like Oliver Twist. You're entitled to feel a little power run through your veins -- it doesn't mean you're uppity, self-important, or a shit.

Anonymous said...

Dept: "We are pleased to offer you the position of assistant professor. Your starting salary is 60k a year."

Candidate: "Awesome. Can I have more money? Say, 65k?"

Dept: "Umm, well, most if not all of our assistant professors start at 60k. Moreover, we'd have to get the Dean's approval for any increase and to do that we'd need a reason for the increase. What, pray tell, is the reason you had in mind? Do you have an offer from another institution? Is our offer lower than your current position's salary?"

Candidate: "No, I just want more money."

Dept: "Great. We'll get on that right away...Prick."

Mr. Zero said...

Dear Anon 1:15,

I don't recall anyone denying that it was possible to ask for extra money without a competing offer in a genuinely prickish way. I thought the question was whether anyone who did that would, of necessity, be behaving in a prickish way.

Also, your starting salary of $60K seems to me to be a bit on the high side. Also, your "departmental" character is being an asshole. "pray tell"?

How about this:

Dept: "We are pleased to offer you the position of assistant professor. Your starting salary is 40k a year."

Candidate: "Awesome. I am really pleased and flattered, and I fully intend to accept the offer once I discuss it with my family. One question I had, though about the salary. Is there any flexibility there? Is there any way you could increase it to say, 45k? I have young children, and I'm sure you know how expensive that can be. I would appreciate anything you might be able to do."

Maybe the person is in a weak bargaining position, and maybe that means he won't get the extra $5K. But does that make him a prick? No, it does not.

improfound said...

Look, there are dangers to negotiating, and I didn't mean to suggest there weren't. You might run into people like Anon 1:15. But again, there are often opportunities to learn about the norms at your institution. You can learn whether the people you'll be negotiating with are reasonable or not. Make the most of this. If you find out the person in charge is reasonable, you should feel fine asking (politely and with some statement of why you deserve it) for a salary increase. If you want more input on what to do, take an hour or two to read through the Chronicle forums on negotiating. There's _lots_ of advice there.

The following is a true story. I had no competing offers.

Dean at SLAC: "We are pleased to offer you the position of assistant professor. Your salary will be Xthousand/yr."

Me: "Thanks, I'm very excited about the position. I noticed that Xthousand/yr is the lowest salary allowable under the faculty guidelines. I have two years of teaching [in a temporary position], so that would put me at the same salary as someone coming in with no teaching. Would it be possible to get Xthousand plus .1(Xthousand)?"

Dean: "How about Xthousand plus .065(Xthousand)?"

Me: "That's great. Thank you!"

Anonymous said...

My story:

I got an offer from a school for less than 40K a year (a lot less). It was a joke. I told them I made more the prior year at my temp teaching job at big state school (true b/c I got to teach a summer class).

The dean said: prove it.

I faxed over my W-2. They made the counter offer $100 more than I made the prior year at big state school. Which was several thousand more than the offer original offer.

I turned the job down b/c I got a better offer the next week. What this did do, however, is give the next person some leverage against the dean via the chair. The chair could argue that they already lost someone b/c of salary and to have a better starting offer. The chair was just as mad at the dean as I was.

The next person got a much better offer (not what I was finally offered), but much better than the original go eff yourself offer I got. (I know the person who got that job.)

And by the way. It is nice to know how people will deal with you. That other offer I took. The provost lied to me about two very important things. I still wouldn't have taken the other job, but the point is: get as much in writing as possible.

Anonymous said...

How does one find the payscale for an institution?

zombie said...

I can't vouch for the accuracy, but I have found salary info here:

Just do a search on the school in question.

But I'd be interested in knowing other sources.

Anonymous said...

Are there really schools where a department level search committee handles the salary negotiations?

At the dozens of places I'm familiar with from my own experience and from placing many students in jobs, either the department chair handles this or the Dean of the College (or higher administrator)handles this.

Asstro said...


You need to look for salary information according to department. Those salaries are likely averaged in with professors in economics and the law school. Information like that will skew any average northwards. Philosophers are on the lower end of the pay scale.


Also, as to the question of negotiating, one tip that I found helpful was to get a sense from the chair of the search committee where s/he stands with regard to the negotiation. Often it'll be the case that it is the dean that is pulling the trigger on the salary negotiation. You should be able to strategize with the chair (either of the SC or the department) about what will work with regard to the dean.

I would argue that it's in the interest of everyone on the faculty to get you as strong an offer as possible. They all want you to come. They all want you to succeed. And, perhaps most crudely, they all want to argue that in subsequent years their merit pay ought to be higher as well.

Think of the chair as your friend in this negotiation and it'll seem much less intimidating.

improfound said...

You can find average salaries across rank (assistant, associate, and full) here:

This is not terribly helpful, as it averages humanities depts w/business and law. It's probably more accurate at smaller schools w/o an MBA or JD. But it does give you a rough sense of what people earn.

State schools are often REQUIRED by state law to publish faculty and staff salaries, and these are broken down by person. Sometimes they publish them in books that you can find only in the university library. But sometimes you can find them online. I know of several state schools that do so. That is an enormous help in bargaining. Unfortunately, private schools will keep this info under lock and key.

Anonymous said...

It's important for women in particular to give negotiation a shot. A partial explanation for the persistence of the pay gap is that, for a number of reasons, many men negotiate and many women don't (see People get raises as a percentage of their salaries over the course of their careers, and the gap just widens.

I (a woman) was fortunate enough to have a few offers last year. I hate negotiating-- I won't even haggle at flea markets-- but for the reason cited above I gave it a shot. And I got more money than I would have otherwise...

jon cogburn said...

Asstro says:

"I would argue that it's in the interest of everyone on the faculty to get you as strong an offer as possible. They all want you to come. They all want you to succeed. And, perhaps most crudely, they all want to argue that in subsequent years their merit pay ought to be higher as well."

This is just not true. If there is significant discord in the department, then it is probable that many of them didn't want you to come and don't want you to succeed. And if the university is having problems fundingwise then the senior faculty are probably already bitter that their salary increases have not kept up with the the increase in junior starting pay. They would be fools to think that you getting more would increase "baragaining power" that they don't have.

In all probability the truth is somewhere between asstro and what I've written, inversely proportional to the level of penury and dysfunction in the dept.

Anonymous said...

9:53 hit upon the winning strategy: You should be able to strategize with the chair (either of the SC or the department) about what will work with regard to the dean.

Even if the chair is in cahoots with the dean, this will help lean the chair over to your side to see that you already see him/her as a trusted colleague. S/he will also feel obliged to reciprocate the trust by helping you or at least throwing you a bone. Worst case, you'll get a better sense of what kind of person the chair is and how sincere s/he is.

And even if chair is fully on the dean's side and does not or cannot budge, you get points for future use in ingratiating yourself to the chair.

Love this tactic...perfect example of negotiating judo. Wish I had used it in my case!

Anonymous said...

I tried to negotiate last year with the chair of the department that made me the offer hoping that the chair would help with the dean. Chair didn't see any reason at all to help and thought it was crazy that I'd be asking. When asked chair whether chair would speak with the dean about the things I had requested and the reasons why I thought the requests were reasonable, I never received any word as to what happened and strongly suspect that the chair never spoke with dean. When the official offer arrived by mail, it also seemed to be about $500 less than was suggested would be the offer over the phone. So, no books, no travel money, no moving expenses, and no increase in the salary. I'm happy to have a job, but prepare to be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

But 7:34, you did learn something about your relationship with your chair or how your department operates, right?

Anonymous said...

We love to try and systematize!

I'm a CC professor in a major urban area with a good union (no, it's really good). I got my job offer less than month to my August start date. I was told that the salary offer was totally non-negotiable. And it didn't matter, because between the union and some street smarts, I didn't need to.

Because it was a public institution, I looked up the pay scale guidelines. Google search "[school name] + some combination [human resources] [new hire guidelines] [new hire salary] [new faculty salary]." Be resourceful, kids. Using this method, I've been able to predict -- with good accuracy -- the salary offer for every (including non-academic jobs) job I've ever gotten.

You should go into your *interview* (for any job) having at least tried to figure this out ~ partially because it can help convince your hiring squad to give you a better offer before they even offer to you.

Because of my research, I had read the entire Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Union and Admin. I knew the payscales, the new new hiring procedures, the means of calculating new hire salaries, and the process for department chairs to make special budgetary requests (ie, things like new computers and stuff) when it came to new hires. And I knew all of this BEFORE the interview. I got an IMMENSE amount information. I felt a little bit like a bad-ass. This won't (obviously) happen all the time, but a search like this could at least yield SOME useful information.

The most useful thing was how offers were calculated. It was based on experience and there was some pretty interesting stuff on how to weigh experience. It turned out EVERYTHING mattered -- including my dinky high school retail job. So I made sure to mention during the interview that my CV only listed some of my job experience, and offered up my (complete) professional resume. It mentioned administrative and committee work were worth more points. I came in from an admin job, and I made sure to mention during the interview every last committee I could reasonably claimed to have been affiliated with and could work naturally into conversation. I knew in advance to ask certain questions during the interview ("How frequently is technology updated? I use a lot of technology while teaching, and I think its important for me to know.") that made it clear to them I was a grown up and professional who knew how the working world works.

I got a decent offer. I got a new computer (which three years later is basically shite anyway). I got an office with a window overlooking downtown. I got a fancy schmancy ergonomic desk chair (I have back problems). And I got a delicious lunch with my chair. Act like a professional, and if you are dealing with professionals (kind of hit or miss in our discipline, I guess), you ought to be treated like one.