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How to deal with a lowball offer

Almost everyone has been there, you just made it through a tough interview process and you’re excited about this new company and role. They let you know that out of all the applicants you are the person they want to bring on which is great. That is until they give you your offer and it comes in well below what your expectations are. Your first instinct is probably to freak out and be insulted by the situation. Although you have the right to feel this way there is a better way to deal with it. Through this article I want to give you a better understanding of why companies do this and what you can do to get a more aligned offer. These are simple steps that can be taken so that you know how to deal with a lowball offer.

Why it happens

The biggest reason companies will lowball your offer is that they are negotiating with the assumption that most people exaggerate their salary. Just as most people inflate their salary demands in the process a company will drop their salary lower than expected. The reality is that 84% of companies are expecting a negotiation when it comes to their offer. This means they are flexible in terms of their offer if you take the right approach. Another major thing at play is they are trying to create equality among their own employees. They are working to fit you into the appropriate level as to not create problems among their team. There is a lot that goes into their offer so as tough as it may seem don’t take it personal. Finally, organizations want to see you fight for their role so by giving you lower than you wanted they are looking to see your reaction to it and how you handle it.

How you can deal with it

Understand your value

As with most things in life being prepared will help you. You should be taking your time to do research before even entering an interview process so that you know your value on the market. There are plenty of resources you can check some out on our negotiations article. Your salary expectations need to be based on the role you’re applying for as well. If you bring all the necessary skills then asking for an increase from your current salary is expected. However, if you will be learning new skills that will help your grow your career then coming in lower might be best. It’s also important to remember to think about things like vacation days and bonuses at this stage. Build out what your total package looks like from the start for the role you’re applying. Let them know upfront what your expectations are in detail to help eliminate any surprises.

Stay calm and ask questions

There’s no need to get upset by the offer or to overreact to it. Having a poor reaction to an offer can often sour the relationship and you’ll end up losing the role. Instead just begin to ask questions to understand the rationale behind it. Understanding why they came up with this offer can help you negotiate. Maybe they believe you didn’t have certain skills or experience that they missed in the interview. Perhaps there are other factors that played into their decision to make this offer such as other perks or benefits. There are many reasons why they might come in lower than you expected but if you don’t know why it’s hard to show them why you deserve more.

Present your case

Once you’ve understood where they are coming from now is the time to use your research and make your case. Let them know how you came to your salary request and cite market information to back up your case. Make it clear that you are prepared and your number wasn’t just pulled out of thin air. It’s important to lead with the facts and information and to not let your emotions take over at this point as tough as that can be. Not every company is perfectly aligned with the market so letting them know can help them adjust as well. 

Be flexible

Most companies are willing to be flexible on their initial offer especially once they have the rationale behind your ask. However, at times a gap may still exist between you and them. Getting creative can help at this point, if they can’t meet your salary demands there might be other perks such as vacation days that can help close the gap. Hiring someone is a risk for them so another option is having a review after 6 months with specific and measurable goals can help you get to where you want to be. In any case you need to start looking at the role and the full package to understand if you can live with what they’re offering. Can this organization help you advance your career? Is there opportunity for growth? Many factors can play into it and making a sacrifice in salary to work on a great project might be worth it.

Be willing to part ways

Sometimes the gap is too large between your expectations and their offer so you need to be open to walking away. An offer needs to make sense for you and your family so don’t be afraid to turn it down. Don’t let emotions get in the way, you may be frustrated with the loss of time and effort but understand they are just as frustrated in not being able to work it out. Don’t forget it’s a small world and you may run into these people at some other time in your career. So politely turn down their offer and leave things on good note. After all, things can change and perhaps in the future they may change their compensation package to meet your demands.

Most people will experience a lowball offer at some point in their career as it’s just how most companies work. They want to save money while at the same time testing you on how much you want to join their team. The important thing is to stay calm and evaluate the situation and how much you want this new role. Everything is negotiable so don’t stress so much about the initial offer. With the right approach and following these steps is how to deal with a lowball offer.

How avansai can help

As your partner we are with you each step of the way and can help coach you through each situation. Create a Candidate Profile we can help you with your next role and negotiation. We can also help you determine your value on the market as well by reaching out to Corey or me.