When You Get A Low Ball Offer: Keys to Negotiating And Knowing When To Step Away
The interview process can be grueling. A lot of times it starts off with a phone interview, then maybe progresses to some sort of online assessment, and finally you make it to actually meet a person face-to-face. During that phase, you may talk with several people over the course of multiple interviews. It can take a lot out of a person, especially if that person is already working full time and has to take off work to do all the phases of the interview.
Eventually...at some point, salary and benefits get discussed. If the two parties are on different pages, they part ways. If they agree, the interview process continues. After all these steps, its natural for the interviewee to become mentally invested in working for the company. The applicant may know that an offer is coming. Yet, what happens when the company gives a low-ball answer?
I have been interviewing at various places for about eleven months. I have been selective on the places I apply and even more selective on the interviews I go on. If something does not mesh, I politely inform the recruiter that I am no longer interested. Why waste anyone's time?
However, I recently interviewed for a position that I was in love with-everything about the job. Location, job duties, the culture. The interview process went smooth. We discussed every aspect of my background, which went above and beyond their job/skill requirements, yet they stated they pay accordingly. We also discussed every aspect of the position. I told them what I was making, year end bonuses I am expecting to receive, and all benefits that my current company offers (PTO, health, 401K etc). Compared to my current position, the opened position would be slightly higher in pay to compensate for not offering insurance. Everything seemed to line up.
Then I received the offer letter. Not only did it state that I would be working without benefits, but the salary was LESS THAN HALF of what I currently make. I was dumbfounded, especially since this amount came out to barely above minimum wage. I really wanted this job, so I started to crunch numbers, trying to figure out where I could cut back to make the job work. I read countless articles on how to negotiate better pay. Yet, could pay be negotiated to that extent? Tips such as "point out your strengths and how you can add value to their team" and "high light your education and your successes" were both common concepts. I also read a hundred times about if you can't negotiate more pay, maybe negotiate better benefits, such as having them 100% of insurance. Obviously, this tip could not help me.
And then it dawned on me. The company is playing games with me. They know I am overly qualified. They know what I make and what it would take for me to leave my position. Why would they even waste both of our time? I don't want to work for a boss, or company, like that.
So my job search continues.