I was interviewed for the position X of company X. On the first interview they told me that the position it was for a graduate-junior but I am mid-level to Senior. They asked me to for salary expectations and I said $X(I told them that this salary is my minimum salary that I would accept the job) which is about 1.5 times the salary of Junior. Then they send me a test for the interview and 3 weeks later they called me to meet for discussing the position. My question here is, are they really interested for hiring me with the salary I asked or they will offer me the position with the Junior salary? If they offer me the position with the Junior salary how I will negotiate the salary? PS. The company is considered as a growing startup which means that they might not be able to offer more than the Junior salary. Any recommendations?

  • They might offer stock options worth $y that could make the math harder here.
    – JB King
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 22:59
  • Knowing the company they will not!
    – BlackM
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:23

4 Answers 4


You need to decide what you will do. And that depends on how much you need the job.

If they decided to interview you, and gave you the test, they believe either:

  1. you are bluffing and you will agree to work for the maximum they will offer you.
  2. or they can meet your stated salary level.

If they send you the offer, you must decide if their offer meets your needs. If it doesn't, you can either walk away, or make a counter offer -- Knowing that if you counter they can walk away and go with their next choice.

What you are willing to compromise to depends on if you already have a job; if that job pays well enough; and if that job has a good work environment.

There is no big secret to this negotiation. You have stated a minimally acceptable salary level. Now you are now waiting to see if they will meet it. That will determine if you want to counter, accept the offer, or walk away.

If this job doesn't offer you the salary you want/need keep looking. In fact apply to other jobs today, and keep applying until the day you accept a job that meets your needs.

  • Or they have some requirement to interview x number of people before offering anyone the position.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 6:03

are they really interested for hiring me with the salary I asked or they will offer me the position with the Junior salary?

There's no way for anyone here to predict what salary level they will offer with any accuracy. It would just be a guess.

One good sign is that they knew your stated salary requirements and yet still continued the process. Hiring managers and HR don't like to waste their time if they conclude that they cannot pay a candidate enough to get an accepted offer.

If they offer me the position with the Junior salary how I will negotiate the salary?

You have already publicly expressed your minimum salary requirement.

If they offer at least that much, you accept. You thank them, express how excited you are to get going, and determine your start date.

If they offer less, you simply reject the offer. You thank them for their consideration, but remind them that you already told them the minimum you require.

If they claim they can't afford to pay you the minimum you require because they are a startup, remember that this isn't your problem. You require a certain amount. If they can't meet that, then you can't work for them. Move on to a company that can pay you.


Well, you might have screwed up if you actually told them your minimum. They might well low-ball you, and now you're in trouble - always add another 50% of the min~max range to your minimum salary.

I don't know why you want this job so much. You haven't told us - I'm a consultant, so I'm focused on money. Some thoughts on the matter:

  1. if this role is giving you skills that will let you charge more in the future, then work out if the decreased in pay is worth the later upshot. It should result in your average salary over two years being more than the average salary in your current field.

  2. startups offer a lot of great exposure to cross-business jobs - but hopefully this is a startup in Silicon Valley! If you're working in a startup anywhere else, I'd suggest you strongly consider the valley instead. More money, more options.

  3. startups are really, really risky. if company X isn't offering you great stock options to compensate the low pay, then you have to ask yourself what the hell am i thinking. you are taking on a risky role (ie, the company will most likely fold) and you are taking it for lower pay. would you invest in a risky stock that had a best-scenario return of under the market average? i hope not, so why are you taking this role?

  4. are you in dire straights? if you need the money, then sure, take the job. take it and keep on looking as hard as you were prior - no honeymoon period, nothing. get a new job ASAP and leave this place.

  5. if they low ball you, make up some nonsense - costs of taking the role that they might cover (petrol? bus fares?), opportunity costs at your current place (make up an imminent promotion, pay rise, etc), talk about sign-on bonuses to compensate for a lost bonus at your current place (use your last bonus as evidence and then say this one will be 10% more), ask them about extended vacation, additional days off around christmas/easter, extra days of sick leave, stock options - and see what they say.

All of the above compensation in (5.) should come to more than your minimum wage, incidentally.

I would advise strongly against a low-ball offer from a startup that isn't giving you good stock options, because what is the point of working in a startup otherwise?

  • They are good guys and I know them for 3 years. That's why I told them my minimum salary.
    – BlackM
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 12:15

If they don't have the budget, you can't push for more money. Don't push too hard here. Instead, think of other benefits.

If it's a fast rising startup, negotiate for equity. Think of it as an investment. But instead of putting money into it, you put your own time and skills. Great startups will almost always give equity to early employees.

Another benefit of working in a startup is being in a small circle. Use your close proximity to senior management, to build your network. This may slingshot you for future career moves. Remember, big companies like Google and Box often recruit through recommendations of their employees. Don't be too shy about asking for exposure if they can't offer you a better salary. Good employers want the best for their employees, even if they move on to other companies.

If you can't get stock options for whatever reason, you may still position yourself well for future promotion. This is often a poor gamble, and again, you should really be thinking about whether it's worth the opportunity cost.

Startups are often a gamble. If they do poorly, you're stuck in a poor paying job with few bonuses. If they do well, you can get rich quick.

You really have to think of it as an investment. I would have the interview with them anyway. If the founders (as people) impress you, and if they have a great vision, it's a good bet. You should be looking for a reason to take the deal, so go into the interview with some strong questions on how big the company expects to grow.

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