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Submitted by FizzSagan on


 Hi All,

Should I state that the compensation is too low even though I don't have an offer yet?

Extra detail:

  • Found by recruiter on linkedIn due to MT advice.  Called by recruiter and asked for resume.
  • MT resume got me an interview with 'head' recruiter.  
  • I currently have a second interview schedule with the recruiter and the hiring manager. 

In the interview with the recruiter we discussed compensation.  I know the salary and have been told there is a bonus.  No detail on the bonus was available.  While the salary is larger than my current, after researching cost of living plus the negative of uprooting family I doubt I would accept unless the target bonus is 25% or greater of base salary.  I do not work in an industry where this type of bonus is typical and expect I would have to turn DOWN an offer.

I would hate to waste the recruiters time further as I may have need of this recruiter in the future, either for my career or to find other candidates!

ken_wills's picture have nothing.

Take this one step at a time - you haven't even met the hiring manager yet.  You may find a dozen reasons to love the opportunity, or to hate the opportunity - none of which have anything to do with bonus.

Bonuses are negotiable.  For now, set that aside - and concentrate on learning about the job, the team, the company, the challenges, the opportunity.

And one of the best ways you can be valuable to this recruiter is to be a great candidate (by the way, great candidates don't necessarily get the offer or accept the offer....).

Sounds like you're doing everything right.  But try to keep focused on the next step (or two) - not something that might happen three or fours steps down the line.


Good luck!

Mark's picture
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Now is not the time to talk compensation.  You only talk compensation when it's an issue - when they've offered it. 

Every minute you spend talking compensation now is a minute not spent talking about your abilities.  Since you don't have an offer, your abilities are still in question.  Further, you don't KNOW the compensation won't be enough.

If you turn down the offer based on compensation, that's reasonable.  If they protest ("but you knew") you can say, I didn't "know" - I can't know until the offer is in front of me.  Further, things like relocation often don't come from the same budgets, and I had hoped there would be more.

Don't worry about wasting the recruiter's time - leave that tot the recruiter.  Until you have an offer, your hands are full.

Good luck!


FizzSagan's picture
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Thanks for your advice Mark!  I took it and just completed the second interview and feel it went well -- their is now talk of flying me out for a face to face interview.  I didn't get the offer, but I am jumping through the hoops without doors closing!

The same question applies -- should I be discussing compensation at this point?

The opportunity for this job sounds fantastic -- there appears to be far more professional growth potential and the company is very attractive.  The job would have more client facing time which is something I relish.  However, I would be unlikely to accept the compensation range previously discussed.

A flight from my location to their location is a SIGNIFICANT time commitment (16+ hours of travelling each way), and a serious cost ($1500 to $8000) as well.  I do not feel it is appropriate to accept an offer for a face to face interview if what I know of the compensation for the role would result in me turning it down!

I feel I should call the recruiter and tell them that without more detail on the expected compensation that it looks as if I would have to turn it down for these two reasons:

  1. I would be expecting larger pay from my current company if I was placed in a similar location based on previous discussions around such an opportunity.
  2. The cost of living is 30% higher than where I live now, meaning there would be very little increase in my existing compensation.

Thanks for your time!


PS.  The second interview was a video interview -- definitely a different animal than a phone or face to face. 


Mark's picture
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Now is not the time to bring up salary.  You don't KNOW what salary they're going to offer, and you don't know everything yet.  In the same way that you believe you are "worth more" than the salary you are presently, paid, they believe their offer has more to it than a salary.

It's not unreasonable for you to be delaying all the detailed calculus of whether a given salary will work for you in a given location.  To say now that you've done that math says that you've been thinking about the wrong thing. 


FizzSagan's picture
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 Thanks Mark -- great advice as always.

When would be the right time to discuss compensation plus cost of living concerns?  I am worried about spending their money and a significant amount of my time!

I have completed follow up phone calls with the recruiter discussing availability and willingness to move and followed your advice.  

I have been told I am the preferred candidate and we are now in discussions around scheduling a flight for me and my wife to visit the city and for a face to face interview.  The travel time to this location is a minimum of 16 hours and can be as high as 28 hours one way.  This would likely be a whirlwind weekend visit which means I could very easily spend more time up in the air then on the ground for a 4 day period...

stephenbooth_uk's picture


reading your post and the discussions following it I find I largely agree with what Mark says but have a concern that you have indicated that if the offer were in the indicated range you would have to decline.  It feels dishonest to continue with a recruitment process when you have stated an intention to reject an offer based on one parameter without at least seeing how flexible that parameter is.

The recruiter you mention, are they internal to the company or a consultant working for an agency (or similar)?  If they're external it might be worth giving them a call and asking how set in stone the compensation is.  If they've worked with this company before  they may know if that compensation range is fixed and cannot be gone outside (some companies have rigid pay grades for jobs, often paying a bonus is a way for local managers to get around this) or how much wriggle room there is.  It's a short conversation that could be a go/no-go on the job, it is one to have with the recruiter and not in an interview though.



Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


jib88's picture

It sounds like you think the position would be great if not for the one negative about what you think the compensation may be. Because you would take it if the pay was right, it should be worth your time to make the flight to do the FTF and find out more. Don't worry about their costs for the flight - they are willing to pay that money to find out more about you to decide if they want to make an offer. From their point of view, it's a very small cost to confirm they would be offering a job to the right person.

Once you complete the FTF, you MIGHT get an offer. You might not. You might screw things up or not click with the boss. But if you do get an offer you can then start thinking about pay. Even if you think you're going to be way above their range, they might like you enough to offer you a lot more than you expect. You may be able to ask for more money and get it, if it's really the only thing holding you back. Or you may decide that everything else is good enough to convince you to live on less money (I bet a lot of people live in the area on half what you think the range is). You just don't know yet.


FizzSagan's picture
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The recruiter is an external recruiter retained by the hiring company.  

I am leaning to asking the recruiter about the cost of living -- they are an international company and I would expect they have good data on such an item.

While I have done research and also asked contacts/clients familiar with the area, I am getting mixed information on the cost of living.



faulkn_s's picture

Hi all,

I recently interviewed for a role through a recruiting company - they sent me a full brief on the job including compensation and benefits.   Following two great interviews (largely thanks to the podcasts !), they offered the role to me at a lower amount than the role was advertised for.   I know how M&M feel about negotiating on compensation but this is a weird situation and I feel like I need to discuss this with them - any advice?

I have thanked them for the offer and told them I would think it over and come back to them. 

tlhausmann's picture
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Need more information to offer guidance. Are we talking about 5% below what was expected or 30%? Can you afford to live on the smaller amount? Is the smaller amount still a raise and promotion for you?

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
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Mark knows what he is talking about.  Twice I have been in a situation that the compensation would be too low and in both cases they wanted to hire me and I wanted the job.  I was fortunate that in the end they offered me what I wanted and could accept. 

I've also been hiring and met candidates at various compensation ranges and it is useful to know what is available at different levels.

MT is very clear, until you get the offer you have nothing and how can you decline nothing.  Don't worry about wasting their time.  You are not their boss and they obviously like you to continue with the interviewing.  Go through the process and evaluate any offer received when received. 

Good luck!!

Mjoyce's picture


Something else to consider, they probably have not offered their top limit.