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August 28, 2019 | 5 min read
How to Respond To A Lowball Salary Offer


Going through the hiring process and receiving a job offer can be an exciting time to advance in your career. But what happens if you receive a job offer with a salary that is much lower than expected? While a lowball salary offer can certainly be frustrating, the good news is that there are a few things you can do to help you through this decision. Below are 6 ways to handle a lowball salary offer:

Ask for more time to think about the offer

Remember that you don’t have to accept or decline the job offer right away, especially if you didn’t get the offer you wanted. And if you received a low offer, you may need to recoup before continuing the conversation with the hiring manager. The best way to stay composed during this process is to politely ask for some time to think about the offer and share a timeframe for when you can give a final decision. Giving yourself some time to think about the offer will allow you to weigh the pros and cons.

Negotiate for a higher salary

If the salary you were offered is lower than expected, you shouldn’t always take it as face value. Many employers expect potential hires to negotiate a higher salary, so don’t sell yourself short. Make sure you do your research on your market value before you head into salary negotiations in order to confidently ask for what you want. Then, take it from there based on how the employer reacts.

Consider the company’s overall package

If you’ve already tried to negotiate for a higher salary but the employer doesn’t have the money to give you for the position, you shouldn’t feel defeated. Remember to look at the full package the employer can offer when making your decision. For example, you can ask your potential employer what their retirement packages and healthcare benefits look like. Do they have a high 401K match, low-cost health insurance or commuter reimbursements? If they have some of those options, you’ll need to do the math and see where your money is going. You may just find that their offer is better than expected.

Negotiate for more benefits

Another tactic you can utilize if the employer is unable to meet your salary requirements is to negotiate for certain benefits that may make the lower salary offer more worth accepting. Many times, salary is out of the hiring manager’s hands but other non-salary related options can be an important factor that they can control. When speaking to the employer, see if you’d be able to receive more paid time off, stock options, professional development investments, or a more flexible work schedule.

Create a plan for performance reviews

One way to combat a low salary is by setting yourself up for success if you do take the job.  Talk to the hiring manager and see if it’s possible to have scheduled, structured performance reviews more frequently than yearly reviews. With a set schedule in place, you may find yourself earning promotions or bonuses that equal the salary you initially wanted.

Don’t be afraid to walk away

If you go through these negotiation steps and you still feel uncertain or unhappy about the overall offer the employer gives you, don’t be afraid to walk away. If you don’t feel comfortable with the offer, you won’t be able to fully concentrate on the job at hand, and you may find yourself job searching for a higher paying role sooner rather than later. Remember, in today’s candidate-driven market, you are in a good place to wait for the right job for you.

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