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If it’s a job you really want, stay calm — you can still find a path to a happy resolution.

Paul Sturgeon

March 4, 2024

2 Min Read
disappointed woman reading document
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In last week’s Talent Talk column, we explained to HR and hiring managers why making a lowball offer is the cardinal sin of hiring, so as a candidate interviewing for a new position, you should never have to experience that. However, in the unlikely event that a company didn’t read that article, and you do receive one, what should you do?

First, remain calm. This may be easier said than done if it is a job you really want, but there could be some reasons why this happened, and depending on those reasons, there may be a path to a happy resolution. Before we get to that, though, if it is a job you were on the fence about, this could be a sign meant to save you from making a mistake.

Look at the whole compensation package

But if you think this position is a good next step in your career, thank the company for extending the offer, reiterate your interest in joining the team, and let the hiring manager know that you will need some time to review the offer. Consider the entire compensation package, not just the base salary. If there is a big gap between the offer and your expectations, it really is important to understand why as much as possible.

Troubleshoot the communication process

For example, looking back on the process, was there ever a clear communication on salary expectations? Possibly you, the company, or both were trying to comply with a salary ban law, and the firm didn’t have all the information it needed to make the best offer.

A red flag or a disconnect?

On the other hand, if it knew all along what you needed to make the move and just dropped a lowball offer on you without discussion, that is a flag, but it’s still not necessarily the end of the story. What if there was simply a disconnect between the hiring manager and human resources, for example?

If you were previously clear on your expectations, remind the company, and if there is a bit of “wiggle room” on your end, now is the time to let it know. Whether you had been clear or not, let the hiring manager know now what number you would take and join the team with enthusiasm. The process should end here with a decision on their part. I’ve rarely seen a protracted negotiation that ended well for both parties.

About the Author(s)

Paul Sturgeon

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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