I interviewed with a company last year and got an offer, but after some deliberation I declined it because the offered salary was just too low (36% of what I was making at the time - granted, as the company was in a different country, I went in expecting an offer lower than my salary - around 60% to equate the cost of living difference). I had tried negotiating that salary, but they didn't budge at all.

This is a company that I admire and would like to work at, but I just cannot take the risk of moving to a different country for a pay cut that leaves me at an entry level salary.

A year and some months later, someone from the company emailed me again asking if I'd be up for another interview process with them, whilst being apologetic that their offer last year didn't meet my expectations (just a culture difference - the email's in a different language). I assume they would budget a more enticing salary this time, but given how low the last offer was, I am hesitant to believe it would be within my target range.

In this case, should I be straightforward about my target salary? Are there any other questions I should ask? Anything I should be aware of? I would hate to waste my time and their time if I'm going to just end up declining an offer again.

  • Be aware that if you work in a low cost of living country, you will make low cost of living savings. After a few years, that might well hurt, if you return home. The longer you stay, the worst it gets. And make sure your country has a social security treaty with the other, so that you keep up your pension contributions at home.
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 6:49
  • 1
    @Mawg thanks, savings was part of my consideration when coming up with a "desired salary", if I understand you correctly. Regarding social security, is that something best discussed with an immigration lawyer or something?
    – lae
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 11:41
  • I have worked as an ex-pat for *cough* "several" decades, in 15+ countries on 3 continents. I find that my budget remains pretty stable in the sense that I tend to always pay X% for rent, Y% for living expsenses and Z% gets saved. X, y anx Z are specific to me, but I suspect you will also find that the ratio remains the same. That maans that high cost of living countries like Norway, Japan and SIngapore were lucrative for me, becuase I was saving Z% of a higfher salary.
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 12:35
  • OTOH, once, when working in Germany, I was offered a job in New Zealand and the salary offered was less than I was paying in income tax in Germany. I was interviewed by a German and a Swiss guy who had both been there 20 years and I do not beleive that they would ever be able to retire in their home countires, due to lack of savings. As to social security, ask in your home country. If they have an agreement with the country you are considering to go to, then payments there can probably be treated as payments at home - after you return home.
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


Be Upfront

There's no point in wasting your time and theirs. Just say to them:

last time I interviewed I was offered a salary that there was no possible way I could accept especially with the need to move into another country. I would like to know a general salary offer

Or you can say

I'm looking for at least 'x'

This will help you hit your target but will limit you to the amount that you may be able to negotiate if they are willing to match this as they will keep returning to "You said that you wanted this amount."

As mentioned by Rath; A better way to approach this is

What's your salary range?

This way you can see what they're willing to offer and make your decision through that

Additional questions you may want to ask:

What the reason for them contacting you again was?

Why they want you to work for them?

In an interview you should have the majority of control as they approached you and they were going to offer you a job the first time around. Ask whatever you feel necessary, whatever is on your conscience then ask. As you're moving to another country you want to consider local conditions, costs etc...

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    I strongly advise against saying I'm looking for at least X. No reason to show your cards. Instead, ask them what their salary range is, and work with that. Whatever happens let them give you a number first, and make it the first thing you want to learn about them.
    – rath
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 9:59
  • @rath Agreed, I couldn't think of a good way to word the approach
    – Twyxz
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 10:07
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    For the record, I did provide a significantly higher number during negotiation last time (though it wasn't as nearly as high as I was hoping for, just scratching the surface because I thought I might have a chance), so I have technically "shown my cards" before. I assume anyone else in my boat likely would have done the same thing.
    – lae
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 11:25
  • @lae nevertheless I still think it's reasonable, given the circumstances, that this time around you ask them for the salary range up front, from them, before you even think about committing to a figure. That will indicate how serious they are.
    – delinear
    Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 13:20

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