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Should You Consider a Job Offer Lower Than Your Current Salary?

Should You Consider a Job Offer Lower Than Your Current Salary?
Reading Time: 5 minutes

A common challenge when you’re on a job search is figuring out the salary range for a job position, especially since it plays a strong role during the salary negotiation. But even if you know the range for a role, specialists agree there is a chance you’ll receive a job offer lower than your current or expected salary

If you have gone through many selection processes and haven’t received the job offer you expect, you could renovate your job search strategy by partnering with a recruiter. Working alongside them will allow you to clear the salary range and other questions you have about a job opening and guide you throughout the process, from the application to the time you get a formal offer. 

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But if you’re good on your own and just want to be prepared for lowball job offers and how to handle them properly, keep reading and level up your negotiation game. 

Why do employers send lowball job offers?

Once you know the salary range of a job opening or you’ve discussed this aspect during the job interview, you’ll have a stronger sense of the compensation the company could offer that aligns with your profile and job duties. Unfortunately, even if the salary announced in the posting meets your expectations, you may face a lowball job offer, as it’s a common negotiation practice. 

A lowball job offer is a salary offer at the lowest end of the budget or even outside the range provided in the posting. Although it may affect an employer’s branding, the most common reason to start a salary negotiation with a low bid is the belief that this is a smart financial strategy. Nevertheless, there are other reasons for employers to reshape a job’s salary range.

Budget changes

Budget constraints are another common reason for getting a job offer lower than your current salary or what’s advertised. Although this would be a more reasonable argument for a lowball offer, it’s worth noting whether cutting costs is a usual problem in the company and how transparent managers are about these issues.

If, aside from budget cuts, you notice the company has a high turnover rate, lacks non-monetary incentives and benefits, or is constantly restructuring its areas, it’s not the safest option if you’re looking for a financially stable work environment. 

Job postings with different salaries

The labor market usually sets salary ranges. A job with high demand will be more likely to offer a higher payment. When companies don’t run a compensation analysis properly, you may receive a lowball job offer even if you’re already in their interview phase. 

This usually happens when an employer realizes their competitors have similar roles with less compensation. If that’s the case, the hiring manager may send you a job offer with a lower salary than the advertised salary in the job description or what you previously discussed; it’s up to you to decide if the cut matches your expectations or if your experience and skills are worth more. 

Different job specifications

Another possibility for receiving a lowball job offer is that after submitting an application or interview, the employer changes the job specifications for the role. If the position has fewer requirements, this means the company may offer you a lower payment than your current salary or what you expected to get from a new role. 

For example, the manager may no longer require you to lead a team or have a specific technical certification, meaning the company will pay you less as you’ll have fewer responsibilities. Other aspects that could change the payment for a job opening are location, work hours, permanence, or a flexible work scheme will also influence the compensation. 

Your experience and background

Since job postings receive a lot of applicants, some more qualified than others, companies often post a broad salary range to have wiggle room to negotiate according to each candidate’s profile. 

If you check all the boxes for a C-level or management role, the company will likely offer you a salary close to the top of the range. On the other hand, if you’re more suited to a lower-level position, you’ll get a lowball job offer, and even the job title may change from the one advertised.  

How to respond to a lower-than-expected salary offer

When you have clear expectations of your worth, receiving a job offer that is lower than what you expected may be frustrating. One of your goals is to increase your current salary, whether because you’ve been in an entry-level position for a while or you’ve upskilled your profile, and your new skill set is worth more.

So, how are you supposed to handle a low bid from a company? Aside from handling your emotions, you need to approach the situation with strategic thinking rather than just ranting about it.  

Verify the job posting details

If you’re participating in more than one selection process, there could be a slight chance that you’ve mistaken the salary range between them; another chance is there’s a version of the posting that’s revised or reposted. Before inquiring, double-check you’re actually getting a lowball job offer by reviewing the job post.

Have a clear idea of your worth 

Instead of immediately replying to the job offer, take some time to reflect on your labor market value. Research average salaries, perks at work, and other industry standards, and with this in mind, write a polite response or make a compelling case to renegotiate.

Ask for clarification 

After showing gratitude for the job offer, ask the hiring manager for a breakdown of its components. Make sure to understand how they determine the salary and whether the lower base is compensated with other benefits.

Evaluate if salary negotiation is an option

Depending on the response you receive from the clarification, weigh in on whether you’re still interested in the position and whether the employer’s attitude is open enough to renegotiate the terms of employment. If you feel less encouraged, expressing your gratitude and politely declining the job offer is more than enough. 

Expose your worth 

Depending on your perception of the employer and desire to work there, present your case for why you deserve better pay based on your achievements, experience, and how your profile aligns with the company. At this point, your salary negotiation skills will be vital for getting a new offer. 

Weigh in a possible counteroffer

After following the previous steps, the best-case scenario is you’ll receive a counteroffer. Even if you receive a job offer lower than your current salary, an employer could put other benefits on the table in exchange, such as vacation days, flexible work schedule, or both growing and educational opportunities. 

It’s up to you to decide if these benefits compensate for a lower payment or if the salary is at the top of your priorities. Nevertheless, don’t feel obligated to accept the counteroffer right away. If the employer is unwilling to meet your expectations, consider looking for another opportunity that better suits your financial needs and still aligns with your career goals. 

Don’t take it personally if you’re getting a job offer lower than your current or expected salary, and most importantly, always be professional and polite with your responses. Be clear and straightforward about your expected payment range, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. 

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Contributed by Luis Arellano

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