How To Handle A Low Salary Offer
You’ve landed your dream job, congrats! But...your salary offer is more of a nightmare. Let’s hear what our hiring experts have to say about handling the delicate topic of compensation with your future employer.

The Whole Picture

Natesa, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., suggests first taking a moment to consider the total offer. She says, “Your compensation is made up of much more than just a base salary or wage, and it's important to look at the whole picture when assessing a potential company or role. Benefits play a large part in a total compensation package. One role may seemingly offer more with a higher base salary, but when you look at total compensation, another role may actually be the better option. Typically, at larger organizations, benefits programs can be negotiated, so it's okay to inquire about them during the later stages of the interview process.”  More from Natesa

Heather, Hiring Expert at The Hershey Company, suggests going in prepared. She says, “When it comes to negotiating a salary with a company that could potentially be your employer, it can get sticky. If you want to negotiate for a higher salary than you were offered, you need to be able to show why you’re asking for more. Research what kind of salary is standard for this job, in this industry, at your experience level. Factor in your goals for your career. Can this job jumpstart you to getting where you want to be? Is it a high visibility position where upper management would notice you? Is it challenging? Take into account relocation, insurance, 401k, bonuses, perks, etc. into the total package being offered.”  More from Heather

Be Transparent

Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., suggests shooting it straight. He offers, “The best approach to take when it comes to salary is to be as transparent as possible, as early as possible in the recruiting process. It is perfectly fine to have a dialogue with the recruiter about your salary expectations and the salary range for the position. The earlier you have this conversation, the better, so you don't advance far into the process and then find out that the salary is well below your expectations. If this happens, it could damage your chances of obtaining another position with that company in the future that may be within your salary expectations. If the salary offer is only a little lower than what you were hoping for, it is perfectly OK to negotiate with the employer. Make sure, however, that you negotiate in a friendly and humble manner (i.e. the ultimate goal is to find a salary that works for both you and the company). Negotiating simply to benefit you will not work well.”  More from Steve

Come Prepared

Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., suggests, “Do your research and find out what the market rate is for the specific role you’ve been offered. Be prepared with that information and also what you feel compensates you appropriately for your unique skill set. It is a conversation you will need to have, and only you can decide if you want to take a lower wage if the negotiations don't go in your favor. 

“What does the salary package look like? You need to take into consideration your base pay, benefits, bonus opportunities, etc. The company is likely monetizing all of those things when they approach you with an offer, so to ensure you are comparing apples to apples, be sure to take that into consideration when you are researching competitors. What are the non-monetary benefits? Growth opportunity, company prestige, location, education options, etc. What is your long game? Finally, take your time when you are deciding how you want to handle a job offer. Be smart, be savvy, be prepared.”  More from Stephanie

Calculate For Success

Cory, Hiring Expert at Cigna, shares, “If the salary is less than you hoped, you are allowed to say that! But before saying so, I'd recommend asking them what the market value (the median salary) is for the role. Once you know, you want to be within 60-70% of the MV. Using that calculation as a comparison, you'll know how high you can negotiate. Thank them for the offer and ask if there is any possibility of getting closer to ‘X’ number, which is what you'd hoped for and see how they respond.”  More from Cory

Even if you ultimately decide to pass on an offer, make sure that you handle the conversations with professionalism and tact. You don’t want to burn down any bridges with a company that you may want to work with in the future! Even if this offer and this role isn’t the right fit, it’s still an honor to receive it, and it’s one step closer to happily hired. 
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