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I had a phone interview this morning with a company that I was so, so excited about. However, when she was rolling through the benefits she mentioned that it pays much lower than I expected. At my previous job, I was a Lead on my team, and I made $23 an hour. At this job, I would be back down to "Tech" level, and she said the pay is $16 an hour.

Now, I am understanding and willing to take a pay cut, but this is a very significant one. I was a little shocked when she said it, but played my cool.

Some more info: This is a very early stage start up, so I also know there is risk in itself taking a position here.

If I am to get an offer, is it worth trying to negotiate up? Up to say, $19? If not, what is an appropriate number to negotiate? I say this number because I am somewhat overqualified for this entry level role given my experience as a lead, as opposed to someone coming in with absolutely zero experience.

I truly don't want to turn down the role, but i'm not sure given my bills and such that I can accept $16.

closed as off-topic by Masked Man, Dukeling, Mister Positive, Draken, gnat Sep 15 '17 at 13:24

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  • "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else. Instead of asking which decision to make, try asking how to make the decision, or for more specific details about one element of the decision. (More information)" – Masked Man, Dukeling, Mister Positive, Draken
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    It sounds like you need to reject the offer and make it clear you are interested in a more senior position. In the future, I suggest you don't apply for entry level positions if you aren't willing accept the entry level pay. – Maybe_Factor Sep 15 '17 at 1:15
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You'd be better off trying to renegotiate to an entirely different position. It's unlikely they will increase the initial offer by almost 50%, especially if the position is entry-level.

They might (and I emphasise the might) be interested in hiring you into a more responsible role, with a matching pay. It all depends on if they can afford it, if they need it, and if they think you'd be a good fit. Only one way to find out.

Startups usually are a bit more loose with their job openings, so just because it's not listed, doesn't mean they aren't going to miss the opportunity to hire an enthousiastic senior, if it presents itself. And if they hire you in that position, you'll be able to support the startup a lot more than if you're in an entry level tech position.

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