A company I recently applied to seemed eager to take me, according to one of their managers who contacted me. But they offered $5k less than my asking salary.

I really don't want to take on a new job that pays less than my previous salary, so should I tell them up front that I want at least $XX amount? Would that scare them away?

I am expecting an offer from another company, though, and hopefully this company will offer the same, if not more than my previous salary.

So should I also tell the company that I have an expecting offer coming in and that I'd like to work for them if they can meet my salary needs?

I just don't want to scare both away! But I also don't want to work for $5k less than my previous salary.

  • 3
    do you currently have a job? Sep 30, 2016 at 23:36
  • Nope, I don't. Which is why I don't want to take risks. ..._BUT_ not sure if I'm willing to work for 5k less than previous job when I'm sure I can find a place that pays at least what I was making before. Just might take more time.
    – AAA
    Sep 30, 2016 at 23:44
  • 2
    Tell them what you want to earn (add a little more, so you have room to negotiate). The worst they can do is say no. Once you have the other offer in hand, you have something to play with in negotiations; until then, you're bargaining with salary -$5K against $0. Talk to your contact, and give them the news. Let them decide how much they want you.
    – PeteCon
    Oct 1, 2016 at 2:21
  • This is just the opening offer. Salary is, almost, always negotiable. There was only one job in the 10 I have held that the initial salary offer was not negotiable in some way or another. Worst they will say is no, then you have to decide if you want it or not. You have another offer so you can drag this one out a bit. If they won't budge tell them you need a few days to a week to consider, hopefully that is enough time to get the other job on the table so you can make an informed decision. Oct 2, 2016 at 19:24
  • 1
    While you're coming from not having a job right now, which puts you in a position with little to no power, you also need to consider other things such as difference in company size, the market they're in, the financials of both companies, any benefits/perks being offered (healthcare, vacation, flex time, etc.), and even things like the general work environment, the tools they're providing you, similarity to your old position and job requiremetns, the list goes on. Remember that salary is only one piece of the puzzle.
    – MattD
    Oct 5, 2016 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


I just don't want to scare both away! But I also don't want to work for $5k less than my previous salary.

If you don't want to work for less, then let them know. You're not scaring anyone; you're negotiating. It's best to have your financial cards on the table early on. Saves time and effort for all concerned.


I just don't want to scare both away! But I also don't want to work for $5k less than my previous salary.

If you don't want to work for $5k less than you used to make while you were employed, then just tell them that you want more.

Something like "Thank you for your offer, but that is less than I was expecting. If we can get together on salary, I'd be ready to accept your offer." would convey your desires. But only say that if you actually mean it.

They may not be willing to up their offer. But if you truly don't want to work for that little, then it won't matter anyway.


(A) If you are going to move from one position to the next, it's normal to ask for a modest increase in pay, so you erred slightly in asking for the same pay. (B) Companies know that people aren't going to want to move backwards in compensation as they progress through their careers.

Quite simply, tell them "no." If they ask why, tell them the compensation is less than your target range for a new position, and what you feel your value is on the job market.

You don't even need to tell them that it would represent a pay cut. What you make now is really none of their business.

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