How to Negotiate if Lowballed in a Job Offer


The interview is usually the first time you will be interacting with the company in a professional capacity. But even when you make your best impression and have all of the qualifications they desire, you might still not get the salary you deserve. When you go through something like this, there are a few things that you can do.

You could get up in arms about how the company is paying you less than your market worth. Emotions take control, as you possibly get angry or show the interviewer that you’re upset, possibly ruining your position. You could accept the offer, but the interview stage is when you should be setting your boundaries. Therefore, accepting the job at a reduced pay rate can lead to the company expecting you to make more concessions. 

Finally, you could collect yourself and try to negotiate for better pay. Granted, this is not easy, but negotiating can do more than just raise your salary. It can make you look like a more valuable candidate. But you need to go about it in a specific way. Here is how to negotiate a lowballed job offer.

Counter Offering

One of the most effective and oldest ways to renegotiate an offer is to make a counteroffer. The counteroffer is the minimum acceptable salary you send, but you could demand more if you feel like the job is demanding more of you.

A counter offering is also effective because it reduces the back and forth on what is “acceptable.” You have a specific amount you want met and will accept nothing less. So you could say something like, “I’m sorry, but the current offer you’re making is low, and I’m not will to accept anything below (your minimum salary).” 

Be sure to keep a polite tone and face when rejecting the offer, as you don’t want to come off as high and mighty. And if you can, you should also thank them for the offer they made, which shows that you are grateful for their efforts.

Sometimes, lowball offers can be a way for companies to see how good an individual is at negotiating and knowing their worth. Therefore, staying calm is an essential part of the negotiating process.

Not Very Foolproof

Stating your counteroffer, while a good strategy at times, comes with a few caveats. For one, there is a possibility that you have undervalued yourself, especially in the eyes of the company. So even though your minimum salary might be higher than the lowball, the company might have given you a better offer if they tried again.

Your minimum acceptable salary is the ace up your sleeve to help you earn more money. But it can also be a smoking gun because you don’t want to draw a line in the sand that could have been a lower offer.

Exploring some of the downsides of counteroffering leads perfectly well into the second way that you can negotiate, which is to let the company decide.

Let the Company Decide on a Better Offer

Companies will always want to save money, which is why they will always throw you a lowball offer. Sometimes it’s more of a trick question, and other times they are hoping that you will accept the offer at lower pay. But when you call out that their offer is low, they will want to make a better offer, especially when the company contacts you themselves.

Letting the company decide for themselves lets you have your cake and eat it too. They can match your expected salary, or sometimes pay you much more. If they still offer you a lower package, you can tell them that it is still not good enough and that they should reconsider.

Telling Them You Don’t Like The Offer

When a company lowballs you, it’s best to ask them for a day or two to get back to them. Most companies might even offer you a week to consider the offer. During this time, you should craft an email stating your disappointment with the offer.

However, that is just one part of crafting the email. You also need to tell them how you want your offer improved specifically. You might want them to increase the salary, or you might want specific benefits with your package as well. On the other hand, the benefits could be fine, but the salary they offer might not be as good.

Either way, you need to be specific about how they should improve your package.

The Company’s Response

The company can respond in one of two ways, both of which open different paths. They could say that they are grateful to you for considering their offer and will ask what you would want. In this situation, it’s best not to beat around the bush and make your counteroffer.

But, if they accept that their offer was lower and say they will make another one, you just won the golden ticket. Even on the lower end, they will offer something closer to your expected salary or might even surpass it.

Consider When to Use the Counteroffer

Like all good strategies, this will only be effective when you use it in the right situation. Therefore, you should always consider where to use this tactic. Only use it when you know you can stand your ground. There may be an uncomfortable silence, or you might even see the interviewer become cold. Regardless, you need to stand strong.

Secondly, if the company is showing an interest in you joining their ranks, you can apply this strategy as well. The chances are that a valuable employee might have referred you to them, or they contacted you for an interview. If any of those two situations happen to be true, this particular strategy may be a good idea. Just be sure to stay polite when you ask them to reconsider, as the company might not want someone big-headed.


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