I have a second interview in December that I've started preparing for. I realize that I don't have a good idea of how to respond to a “way too low” salary range. I consider the position fairly senior in that it deals with initiating and negotiating contracts for IT services. I'd be very happy to get the position and I'd be excited about the new development opportunities that it offers.

In doing research on this company, I've learned from credible sources that they tend to lowball compensation and not just on jobs related to negotiations. My research says they are likely to offer about 60-75% of my minimum acceptable salary. My minimum might have a little flexibility based on cost of living in different locales, but we're not even close. I understand about looking at total compensation, but if there is such a large discrepancy in base, almost no amount of other compensation can make up for it.

If this happens, my thought is to be direct with them about my disappointment over the low range even though it would probably cost me an offer. I would probably use a phrasing like "Wow, I'm a little disappointed. I consider this position to be fairly important to your organization and I'm very surprised to see such a low number. I was hoping to see something more in the range of 110-120% of my target." Yes, its just negotiations.

Question – is this the best tact to take or is there something better? Is there a better way of phrasing it? As I think about it, I see this as the only way forward. I’d really like the job, but I’m afraid that its too far out of reach.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Yes, your approach is correct. Some thoughts:

DO NOT TALK ABOUT SALARY UNTIL YOU GET THE OFFER. It's irrelevant until you have a concrete item to talk about. Trust me.

Get armed with data about averages for this role in the industry and the area. Figure out cost of living adjustments, and politely make a credible counter offer.

Be kind, generous, and understanding. This is how somoene in a position of power SHOULD behave. (And you will have the power when you get the offer.)

Because...they may come back to you later, and you want the bridge not to have been burned.

If it doesn't work out, because YOU choose to turn them down, it's a simple case of one of your factors not marching up with one of theirs. THAT is why companies say no all the time.

bflynn's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]DO NOT TALK ABOUT SALARY UNTIL YOU GET THE OFFER. It's irrelevant until you have a concrete item to talk about. Trust me.[/quote]

Thank you for the response, I was pretty certain I was on track, just wanted to make sure. Its not something that I intend to bring up during the interview. However, if they bring it up, I'm more confident on where to go with it.

And, I could be wrong - it might not even be an issue.


joolzb's picture

I have received an offer!!! yey... but the basic salary is 80% of my last employed position and the role is identical to previous but on a larger scale with more travel. (I have been working on a freelance/consultancy basis for the past 6 mths and we are expecting our 2nd child, so need some security for the next 12 mths).

Tuesday gone, I was asked back and the IT OPS Director delivered the offer which he precluded - 'I dont know if your going to bite for this one, but we are offering...' which kind of makes me feel as he believes it to be low also.

He gave me the option of going away and mulling over the offer (which I took) and said that I could start as soon as I am ready, its up to me. Now don't get me wrong its probably not bad an offer but its a good 20% lower than I need and they will pay for a car allowance, but I dont have a car, may last job came with a car.

The other issue is that the want a 6mth trial at the end of which they will review the role and salary and order a company vehicle.

Today I requested a meeting to discuss the offer (next Wednesday) and made a quick list of the points and my issues (to give them something to work with before the meet). I have also asked for a list of the criteria that I need to meet to be successfu and if it went to 6mths, get the deal I want).

Some members have warned me away from taking a 'soft start' package and I have been bitten before by an MD who would beg borrow and steal to get his own way - I dont want that again.

Everything needs documenting - milestones, figures, dates...

Any advice on my approach - iron fist / velvet glove type of thing.
Just how much power do I have, now I have the offer?