Ask LH: Can I Amend My Salary Expectations After Receiving A Job Offer?

Hi Lifehacker, I was asked for salary expectations in an interview for a contract IT job. I left it to the employer to decide what they could offer me, but they persuaded me to provide a range. I didn’t have the exact salary figure from my last job, so I quoted bit lower range. Now I’ve got the job offer and have accepted the job. I’ve been sent the paperwork to complete. I have just come across salary figures from my last job. There’s quite considerable difference in my salary. I am being offered about $6 K less. Is it recommended to amend my salary expectations? If so how should I approach them? Thanks, Kirna.

Dear Kirna,

Negotiating your salary is one of the hardest parts of taking up a new job — many people are worried that being too pushy or asking too much will jeopardise their chances, and will lowball instead. But settling for a salary that’s lower than you are happy with or can live with is going to mean lower job satisfaction and more cause for stress when you inevitably feel the need to ask for a raise.

Of course it’s preferable if you go into an interview with a competitive salary range already worked out based on your previous or current salary, research about the company, job responsibilities and average salaries for your particular role from a tool like PayScale. But even if you lowball in the interview, it’s not too late.

The only time it’s too late to renegotiate your salary is once you’ve signed your contract, in which your proposed salary is laid out. Until you’ve signed it, however, the salary (or any of the contract terms) isn’t set in stone. After a certain point, however, it can be a little awkward to renegotiate. The reason hiring managers ask for your salary expectations so early on is so they can make sure you’re within their budget to hire — so while you can ask for a higher number later, that might put you out of budget.

The best way to do it is to simply indicate that you’ve done some extra research since the initial interview and have decided that your prior salary expectations were too low. Be prepared to justify the sudden raise in salary you’re asking for, too, framed in terms of your experience, the going rate for that role in your area, and the expectations and responsibilities of the role. Sometimes, however, if you’re asking for more than they’re allowed to pay, even that won’t help.

It comes down to your need — are you prepared to walk if they can’t match or exceed the $6K difference from your last job? The worst thing that can happen if you ask for more is that you won’t get the job. Even if the company can’t afford what you’re asking for, consider asking for extra bonuses instead of that salary raise — such as performance bonuses, extra annual leave days, flexible working hours or conditions or an agreement on future pay raises.


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