You Got the Job but the Salary Is Low – Now What?

Posted by Pat Tovo

Searching for the perfect cleared job can take a lot of work. You research the market, scour job postings, submit applications, and perform follow-up due diligence. Whew! It may take a lot out of you.

Finally, all your hard work is paying off and a job offer seems apparent. Are congratulations in order? Not yet. Get ready for the salary negotiation phase.

This will be the next step in landing your dream job and it will call on your confidence and your market research. Prepare for the discussion by honestly evaluating what strengths and skills you will bring to the organization, research the company’s reputation for salary levels, and understand what the market will bear.

Now, let the negotiations begin.

It Doesn’t Go as Expected

You likely discussed salary ranges with a recruiter at the outset, but it’s still possible the first offer you receive may not be what you hoped for. Don’t take it personally. There could be many factors involved in the package presented to you.

Take a deep breath and remain gracious. You can respond with, “I really appreciate the offer and would be very excited to work for your organization. Of course, you know this is a lower salary than I expected. Could you give me a day to consider and then I will get back to you?”

Consider the Opportunity

The first place to start is thoroughly evaluating if this is the right cleared job for you. You can make a list of pros and cons about the position and the company.

Here’s a checklist of questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the position offer me the responsibility and challenges I desire?
  • Is there an opportunity for growth?
  • Does the company have a good reputation in their industry? Are they growing?
  • Is the geographical location a good fit? Is there a possibility of relocation to another part of the world that appeals to you?
  • Did the employees you met with seem excited about the organization and how they’re treated?
  • Does the company promote from within?
  • If you prefer working remotely is that an option?

Once you have completely evaluated the situation, take a step back and ask yourself if this is a job you want to fight for. After a long job search, it is easy to get caught up in the momentum of being wanted. But does the opportunity get you excited about your future?

If the answer is yes, then determine what your bottom line will be.

What Are Your Negotiating Strengths

After working through the checklist, if you decide the job is a great opportunity for you, then make a list of details that will build your case for a higher salary.

  • What is the average salary for the position in your location?
  • Is your experience more than the minimum required for this role?
  • Do you have skills not specific to the job that could allow you to expand your area of responsibility?
  • Do you have a solid history of success that supports your worth?
  • Are your soft skills a strength? (This includes qualities like communication skills, leadership, multi-tasking, problem solving, etc.)

Gather the answers to these questions and use them as a basis for presenting a case for a higher salary.

Look at the Big Picture

If the company seems firm on the monetary offer, there are many other perks that could easily bolster the offer. Here are some options:

  • A sign-on bonus or yearly bonus
  • A six month raise review
  • Company paid certifications
  • Family insurance
  • Childcare
  • Fitness facility membership
  • Car expense account
  • Extended vacation time
  • An elevated position title
  • Work schedule flexibility
  • If relocating, will they cover all your expenses? Help your spouse find a job?

Determine what is important to you, what will make you feel like your compensation package is equal to what you offer the organization, and what will make you feel appreciated.

Call On the Fire in Your Belly

Now that you have the facts gathered and gotten your thoughts together, it’s time to confidently call back the hiring manager and work through the specifics of the offer. Be firm but be flexible. If you walk away from the job, you want to know that you gave it your best shot. If you take the job, you want to step into the position feeling good about the offer.

Whatever becomes part of the final offer, be sure that it is all spelled out in a written document. Personnel can change and you want to ensure that all elements of your package will be honored.

When All Is Said and Done

Hopefully the negotiations went well and both you and the employer are excited to be on the same team. If not, be proud of your efforts. The right fit is in the works and before you know it you will be calling friends and saying, “I got the job. Drinks are on me!”

This entry was posted on Monday, September 18, 2023 4:36 pm

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