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TLTR: I am in the hiring process and my salary expectation was based on incorrect assumptions, how should I renegotiate it during the hiring process?

Situation: I am currently in the recruiting process and had to provide my salary expectations while sending my application. Later on, I confirmed the salary expectation at the end of the first interview. The future employer very excited about my application.

Issue: The seniority level for this job position is flexible. Based on my profile, I have more and more the impression that the future employer will be expecting from me a higher seniority/responsibility than I expected. Due to this situation, my salary requirement is now too low compared to my future duties.

Question: Shall I tell as soon as possible the future employer that the salary has to be renegotiated? Or maybe wait until the end of the process to give clear arguments to justify that my salary is too low?

Location: A German-speaking country (Europe).

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    Wait until you have an offer. At the moment you're worrying without any grounds. They may not even give you an offer..
    – PeteCon
    Jan 8, 2023 at 22:06
  • @JoeStrazzere : Yes, this would be a less stressful job and therefore with a lower salary. Jan 8, 2023 at 23:25
  • Please note that "changing my mind" on something previously accepted is never a good sign. You will need to provide a very sound explanation why you did that, otherwise you will come across as unreliable.
    – jwsc
    Jan 9, 2023 at 16:00

2 Answers 2

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Based on your specific situation (and this is assuming you get an Offer):

"Thank you very much for your offer, I've reviewed the list of responsibilities - I feel that I can more than meet these requirements, however a number of them fall under a more senior role of X, as such, I believe that the remuneration discussed needs to be increased to reflect the increased responsibilities"

Or the other one:

"I know we discussed X, but I am currently entertaining offers at Y with other companies - if you can come up to Z, then I think I can accept"

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During the interview process - I wouldn't be shy of noting 1-2 places where the interview included information that leads you to believe this is a more senior role. I wouldn't go straight to the money, but I would say something like "That sounds great, I've got XYZ relevant experience, but just so you know - that's a more senior role than what you originally advertised - I'm very excited to hear of such a great opportunity" - ie, stick with a very positive message, and a strong citation of your capability, but do make them realize that they are upgrading the role.

When you get to the offer stage - presumably the expectation discussion was not the last salary discussion you'll be having - usually the preliminary is to make sure you're not wildly out of line with each other. The actual offer should include the real compensation they intend to pay you. When you get that $$ number or when the recruiter calls to say "we want to make an offer, the final comp is being calculated and I'll have in X time" - that's a good time to say "hey, when we originally talked, I thought I was applying for a more junior role, the conversations during the interview lead me to believe that I'll have responsibilities that make this a more senior role - as such, it feels like an appropriate range would be ..." - and to see where that goes.

Exceptional cases:

  • big difference in money - if you have gotten a read on the position where you have a VASTLY different salary expectation, raise it earlier and more directly. 10-20% of a difference should really be covered in the range you spoke of at the beginning of the interview process... you are just expecting the higher end, or maybe a little bit beyond that. If - OTOH - your role jumped several levels, or you are in an industry where the next role is, say 50% more money, or a value really far beyond the range you discussed - then bring it up sooner.
  • growth opportunity - if you have the opportunity to do a lot of very cool, more senior stuff - but have not had a great deal of experience doing this stuff, be open to hearing that the role is a growth opportunity, and they may not want to pay the market rate of a more senior person until you've demonstrated those skills. That's OK, but make sure there's a clear process where your salary would be re-evaluated, and make sure that the company is in a position to be able to pay the higher rate.

Bottom line: There's always 2 factors to pay - what it typically costs in the marketplace to hire someone with these skills, and what the business can afford to pay. If they can't afford the more senior rate, they won't be able to offer it, and the choice is yours on whether this is a growth opportunity that will lead to better pay in the future, or whether you're better off getting a different job.

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