Dealing with a “Low Ball” Salary Offer

Posted November 5, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

We’ve all been there. You interview for a job, you’re convinced this is the one that will finally push you over into your “dream salary” category, and then….the low ball salary offer. You’re shocked. What do you do? Cry? Scream? Stalk once again to make sure you’re not crazy?

There are many many reasons for a low salary offer. Perhaps the company is old school and simply hasn’t jumped into the 21st century of salaries. Or maybe they’ve been struggling financially, but really need to hire this position. Maybe they have incredible benefits that might make up for the low offer. Who knows? But whatever the reason, trust me when I say that they have one. I was recently at an event and heard a very experienced woman say, “Remember, no matter how bad the offer is, they think it’s a great one.” They’ve put a lot of thought into this. They’ve run the numbers for their business and unit, and this is what they’ve come up with.

There are many things to take into consideration when you’re putting together a counter offer, too. I loved the advice given from the Personal Branding Blog in their article “How Do You Handle the ‘Low-Ball’ Salary Offer?

  • Is this career opportunity really so tremendous that you should seriously consider taking two steps (or more) backward in order to (possibly) later make a quantum leap forward in your career?
  • What effect, if any, will taking a salary “cut” have on your professional brand, particularly at your new company, if you decide to take the position? (“We were able to hire him/her ‘on the cheap.’”)
  • Is your level of dissatisfaction with your current job so high that you will consider any new position with a company you perceive as “better,” even if it involves a reduced salary?
  • What other career opportunities have you developed (or are you developing) during your new job search that also have potential for coming to fruition? How do these opportunities stack up with the one you’re currently considering?
  • Do you think (or believe) that there might be at least some room for salary negotiation with the hiring manager? If not, here is another suggestion: Try negotiating a “signing bonus” of $10,000. That would make up for the salary reduction for two years and give you “breathing room” until you can “prove” yourself on the job?

Great advice, right? Take it! You can sometimes turn a low-ball offer into a reasonable one. But make sure, in the meantime, that it’s the right job and the right path for you. Then negotiate!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."