I was recently speaking to a recruiter on the phone about a job. They asked me what I make at my current position and I gave them a number (rounded up a bit). After that they asked me what it would take to make a move, and I gave them a rough range.

I panicked a bit being on the spot, and gave them a lower range than I could have probably asked for. While it would still be a raise, they immediately said that was well within the range they were willing to pay, which makes me think they have more to offer.

I'm meeting with the hiring manager later this week to have an actual face to face interview. I'm perfectly happy with my current job and salary, so I really don't need to leave it if they don't have a pretty convincing reason. Did a just low ball myself and ruin any chance of making more? Do I have any opportunity here to give them a new, higher number?

  • Are you asking this question because you need more money than you thought, or because you've realized that you were a little under-ambitions? Or even that their response indicates they may have been willing to pay more? I don't say this to judge, but because it should affect your response.
    – Jon Story
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 17:05

4 Answers 4


Did a just low ball myself and ruin any chance of making more?

If by "making more" you mean "getting more for this particular position", then the answer is a definite maybe.

Remember there are other jobs out there, and other hiring companies. You decision isn't set in stone, nor is it fatal.

Do I have any opportunity here to give them a new, higher number?


You could get back to this recruiter immediately, and indicate that after thinking it over you may have been too hasty with your answer. Now that you have had a chance to think about it, you realize that the range you would require is "x... y".

Be prepared to answer why you think this is the appropriate range (and not just because you are trying to squeeze out every last dollar). And be prepared to counter the feeling the recruiter might get that you aren't good under pressure.

Conversely, you could just leave your answer as is. Then, assuming the interviews go well and an offer actually comes your way, you can decide that it isn't enough at that point in time.

You might be able to point out that the requirements of the job are clearer now, and that based on those now-fully-understood requirements, you think you should get more.

Again, be prepared to fully discuss your reasoning. The risk you run is that you are considered flighty, not good under pressure, or overly cash-driven. You might also run the risk of pricing yourself out of the budgeted salary range.

In either case, the best that happens is that you land a job you want at a range you like.

The worst case is that you don't get the job at all, and are considered untrustworthy by people within the hiring company.

  • Thanks for the answer Joe. As you put it, the worst case is I don't get the job at all. Since I'm already happily employed, I have very little to lose here. While the job sounds very interesting, I am doing just fine with my current salary. If I were unemployed, I'd proceed with a lot more caution. I think I prefer the second approach, were I to be given an offer. It's honest, as I really didn't have a full job description when first speaking to the recruiter. The real solution was to ask for more info earlier, but I think your advice helps correct that. Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 19:13

I find that most companies appreciate honesty when they find it, so if you've really changed your mind about what it would take to make a move, go ahead and let them know this. I would not recommend a ruse or a lie, but if you can point to salary survey (or similar) to justify your new number then I think that's reasonable. After all, you can honestly say that you've just started thinking about it and didn't have a chance to fully consider things during that initial conversation.

However, I think the larger problem you're going to have here is answering the "what are you looking for in your next position?", or "what kind of company attributes would convince you to make a move?". If your only answer is "piles of money", then that's a larger red flag than changing your desired salary number.

  • @Joe Strazzere I agree, and I am not only looking for more money here. The position comes with significantly more leadership than I have currently, and looking at salary data, I've definitely gone lower than average. It's not that I want piles of cash, it's that I panicked and should have asked for more in the first place. I feel like moving roles and companies is the rare opportunity to really jump up a pay grade, and I barely fought for myself before even interviewing. Just trying to get a feel for if I can recover. Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 17:25

A week ago , and i was in the exact same spot as you . Well i was fortunate enough that i received an HR form again to fill up at the time of interview which had an Expected CTC column . The number i quoted there was much higher than what i had mentioned earlier . As would be the case , the HR asked back why was the CTC so different than what i had mentioned over the call . I replied by saying that between when we had talked and when i came over for the interview , i had received a couple of more offers in that range . Hence, i was asking more as it would be only fair on my part to ask that pay as i already have an offer on the same lines . A week later and i am working with them , hope this helps :)


Yes, you can ask for more.

What I'd recommend is having a good interview with the hiring manager and, at the end, mention that you've received another offer from a different company right at the top of the range you'd previously mentioned. Tell them that you think you like this company better than the other one, so you'd like to see if there's something more they can do about salary.

Source: I'm a hiring manager and have used this tactic successfully several times in the past.

  • 1
    Mentioning "I've got a great offer already on the table" runs a serious risk of having them say "we can't match that, go ahead and take the other offer" (or worse, "we can't commit to a decision by [date], so let us know if you'd like us to continue to consider you"). I'd hesitate to suggest this as advice for this reason.
    – Adam V
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:28
  • 1
    I find that situation to be exceedingly rare if you're polite about it and you frame it well. If you mention that you have another offer but are still inclined toward this company, they will generally let you know if they are willing to move up on salary. And I've never found a hiring manager that would rescind an offer at the mention of another. You don't want to work for that person if so—that's unprofessional and self-defeating behavior on their part. Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:36
  • 3
    Are you suggesting to lie to the hiring manager (if you don't have another offer)?
    – enderland
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:37
  • 1
    @h3h - it's not "rescinding an offer"; if you're still in the interview, they're just deciding "oh well, he's good, but he's out of our range, we'll just scratch him off the list".
    – Adam V
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:50
  • 1
    Hey h3h, welcome to The Workplace SE! You make a great point that it's all about how this is framed. We see these tactics in business decisions, hiring decisions, buying and selling cars, and even dating. To win, we can't always show all of our cards. With that said, if you can edit your post and continue to make your case, perhaps with an example of how you personally negotiated a higher salary with this tactic, it would make for an interesting answer, even if it's one not everyone would agree with. Hope this helps! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 7:02

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