What To Do When The Offer Is Low
Bummer. A less-than-fantastic offer can be a downer. Because salary offers feel so personal and they seem to be closely tied to feelings of self-worth, you run the risk of not responding as positively as you should. Worse, you might even “blow up” an opportunity if the offer is significantly less than expected. Receiving a lower-than-anticipated compensation package feels like rejection. You may be hurt, embarrassed, confused, and perhaps even angry. If you’re like most people, you may not handle this as confidently and powerfully as you did the interview. Even though the salary or title may not be what you want, it is vitally important not to show your disappointment. Don’t lose your cool. Rather, negotiate!
Managing the Paradox – Negotiate When They Still Love You!
Managing the paradox is stating one perspective, then acknowledging an alternative view. If the offer is low, express your enthusiasm for the opportunity to contribute to the growth and profitability of the company first – then reveal your disappointment in the job offer. Ask what flexibility they might have to enhance the compensation package. Inquire as to whether some form of satisfactory accommodation can be worked out for both of you. The last thing you want to do is become demanding or dismissive of their employment offer. For instance, you might explore a few of the following phrases that can maintain your confidence while communicating straightforwardly.
“Thank you for the offer. The opportunities at ABC Company sound terrific and I am looking forward to contributing to the team. I know that we can accomplish a number of significant things for the company. However, I am somewhat disappointed in the compensation package, as it is not fully competitive per my experience in the marketplace. I would like to explore creatively how we together can reach a mutually agreeable compensation arrangement. While money is important, it is not the only career consideration, as we both have acknowledged. My interest is to remain whole, salary-wise, over a twelve-month period of time.
“Would you be open to considering some options that might include a hiring or sign-up bonus and/or guaranteed six-month and twelve-month salary increases? I understand that career moves like this are a ‘leap of faith’ for both of us. I am willing to sacrifice some money up front because I am confident that through my contributions, any deferred dollars will be made up over time.”
Coaching Tip: Keep your cool. Remain confident and reasonable. Take accountability for not effectively demonstrating your capabilities. Recognize that you may need to add more compelling data (results achieved and ability to build a high performance team). Keep the door open for future discussions. End on a positive note.