So, I am in a weird situation. I am currently employed, however the current project I am working on is coming to an end. The current company is promising me a completely different position, however the timeline keeps on getting pushed into the future. I have heard twice that I would transition into a new position, however it seems like it never happens... so I have been looking for other employment to see if there are any other opportunities for me.

I ended up going through a referral and nailed an interview for a technical support position. The hiring manager called me and told me up front what that the compensation would be $36,000. That is exactly a 10% decrease compared to the salary I have now. The position seems interesting and it is in the field I would like to stay in, however the salary cut scares me a lot. Also I may have an opportunity to make more at the company I am at now -- if it ever pans out.

I ended up going to the first interview and asked if the salary was negotiable. The hiring manager did not say specifically no, but my interpretation of his answer was no. They then invited me to a second interview today. I do not know if I should even consider the second interview or politely decline. I feel terrible because I had two people in the company refer me and I really like the organization as it is much larger and there seems to be more opportunity for advancement.

Also I would like to note that the hiring manager is completely aware that I would be taking a 10% salary cut

  • Are you worried about the salary cut because you're concerned what it will look like in the future, or because you want the money? Oct 21, 2014 at 0:43
  • Well i am worried because the job requires more work on my part and on top of a salary cut. And I may be giving up a promotion in the future with my current company in which i could make more. It really comes down to money.
    – Siah
    Oct 21, 2014 at 13:46
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    I edited my question, does it now better fit with the rules?
    – Siah
    Oct 21, 2014 at 14:37
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    The problem is you are basically asking us if a version of "should you take the job?" That is off topic. This question is better suited to The Workplace Chat than the Q&A Site Oct 21, 2014 at 16:04
  • I was never offered the job yet. I need need to know if its ever practical to continue an interview process if the salary is lower than what you can accept.
    – Siah
    Oct 21, 2014 at 19:11

3 Answers 3


This is a simple rule:

Decline an interview when you are sure that you would not accept the position if offered

If you are sure that you would not accept the position at $36,000, contact whoever is coordinating your recruitment process and tell them that $36,000 is too low, and you would only be prepared to come to a second interview if there is the possibility of a higher offer.

They probably won't commit to a salary until they have interviewed you, since you might not be good enough for them to offer that salary. But if they can't offer that salary, and you won't take the job without it, there is no point in continuing.


Be Honest

If I were in the hiring manager's shoes I would want you to just be upfront and honest with me. If you're not interested you're not interested, why waste any of our time further?

I would simply say "I'm sorry, but a 36,000 is just too low for me. I appreciate your time and consideration, but I would like to remove myself from consideration of this position." To be fair if I were the manager this wouldn't bother me, but I would be greatly concerned if you willingly took a 10% cut without some major benefit like location or something. I'd assume you were probably going to quit when a better opportunity came along. (unjustified assumption, but it would be there...)

  • The IT community is very small where I am at, and I had some higher level software engineers I've worked with in the past refer me for this particular position. Do you think it will hurt my reputation to decline based on the salary. They both put in an excellent word for me and I do not think I would've been called if it were not for their referrals.
    – Siah
    Oct 20, 2014 at 19:59
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    The worst that can happen is that you get a reputation for not wanting to work for that salary. If that's the salary most folks are getting, it could hurt you. If it's really lower than you should be getting, it won't hurt you.
    – keshlam
    Oct 20, 2014 at 20:53
  • @keshlam: I'm not sure how one could get a reputation for declining a second interview... unless they lived in a town of about 100 people. Quite frankly this type of thing would warrant maybe a single comment by the hiring manager to a friend and completely forgotten about.
    – NotMe
    Oct 21, 2014 at 23:39
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    @ChrisLively: As I said, that's worst possible case. And we agree that it isn't significantly bad.
    – keshlam
    Oct 22, 2014 at 0:09
  • @Siah probably not, I've recommended good people I know who ultimately turned down jobs for various reasons. I've had a bunch take jobs and leave them right away for various problems. All of that there were only two I wouldn't recommend again after all that, one because I practically got him a job, he was hired, and just never showed up because he needed to practice for a gig later that month... and the other because he walked in saw some things he didn't much care for and left in a rather unprofessional manner. (f bombs were dropped) but someone not feeling enough return on effort, no problem Oct 27, 2014 at 3:43

I think there are two factors here that indicate you should make this situation an exception besides the fact you think it would be a good job.

  1. You don't know if this is the final offer. They're not sure. You may not be dealing with the person who has the final say. You just never know. 10% is not that far off.
  2. They know your situation and are willing to offer you another interview, they shouldn't accuse you of wasting their time since they didn't give a definitive answer on the final offer. Just claim you were hoping they could increase the offer.

You may find there are other benefits that will make up the 10%. They could offer higher bonus potential, a faster pace for future raises, etc.

  • So you are saying it would be a good idea to continue to interview and see if they bump it up? Or straight out say meet me at my current salary or I cannot continue to interview.
    – Siah
    Oct 21, 2014 at 13:48
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    Just go for the second interview. I applied for a job that explicitly stated the salary in the job posting and after the 3rd interview, I asked for a different benefit and they offered to raise the salary instead. You just never know. They seem like they want you and there is a chance however slight you may consider this job.
    – user8365
    Oct 21, 2014 at 15:05

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