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Should I mention offers I turned down to my boss?

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Data Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

It's performance review time, and I want a nice raise and bonus just as much as anyone else.

Standard procedure for getting a raise seems to be making the case for yourself: keep track of all your accomplishments during the year so you can present them to your boss when asking for a raise/bonus. Simple enough. I'm prepping that list of things right now.

It's also been the case that this past year I turned down 3 offers that each would have paid me more than my current gig - between 20% and 40%. Now, even though I'm underpaid at my current gig, it's also the case that I'm compensated for that by it being super chill - no deadlines, lots of latitude on what to work on, a nice WFH arrangement (1 day in office a week), and pleasant coworkers.

My question is, do I mention that I got the offers in addition to mentioning the things I'd accomplished over the year? There's an element of "hardball" in that, but maybe it's not a bad move. I guess the phrasing of it is the key. So instead of saying "I've got other offers, give me more money or I leave", it's "I really like working here and with you. So much so that I turned down other companies that were offering decently more. Can you see what can be done to raise my compensation?"

Finally, I'm aware that the best way to ask for a raise is this way:
"I really enjoy working on this team. I want to do more to increase my impact and empower my teammates - What are the steps I need to take to get to that next level?"

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Discussion

(3 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    No, this will almost certainly label you as a flight risk.

    Negotiation is all about leverage, but since those offers aren't live anymore (and the positions are almost certainly filled by now), they aren't creating leverage. Given the market, I imagine your boss can do the math and figure out why you turned down those offers. Employees turning down higher-paying roles to stay at a position with better WLB is nothing new.

    As you mentioned, I would just focus on knocking the standard procedure out of the park. Make it clear what your impact is and why you deserve the next level: [Taro Top 10] Navigating Performance Review

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    Data Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    Thanks @Alex. Would the situation change if the offers were live? Is it normal to use live offers to negotiate your current pay up? Does that note also get you labelled as a flight risk?

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    Would the situation change if the offers were live?

    Yep, at that point you have a ton of leverage.

    Is it normal to use live offers to negotiate your current pay up?

    Yep, but the tricky part is that it depends on company:

    • For example, Meta explicitly disallows this. You can bring the greatest offer in the world to your leadership chain at Meta and they won't budge on your current compensation.
    • On the other hand, Google is known for playing ball here (especially if you have a competing offer from Meta, hehe). I know engineers who took a competing FAANG offer to their manager at Google and got a $100k pay bump.

    I imagine this sort of internal policy information is hard to find. You probably need to look around on Blind or talk to coworkers you trust.

    Does that note also get you labelled as a flight risk?

    Yep, that risk is also there, but I imagine it can be mitigated if your pay has been stagnant in your current role, you are a high performer, and you have a good relationship with your manager. The reason why this scenario is better than the other is that it's far, far more likely to work and get you a substantial pay raise. So even if you get labeled a flight risk, at least you got some money for your troubles.

    There's a complex outcome as well where they still refuse to budge on your pay and try to call your bluff. This is why I recommend to engineers in this situation to not be bluffing and be prepared to take one of those competing offers. Otherwise if you stay, it's just super awkward and you didn't even get extra $$$ from the situation.

    Long story short: Find out if your company's policy allows ad-hoc pay raises from competing offers, calculate the risks, and make your call accordingly.