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Woman Is Upset After Receiving An 'Unreasonable' Job Offer Despite It Being In The Salary Range She Requested

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woman getting an unreasonable job offer

The job search process is such a slog that when we finally get an interview, our instinct is often to make things as smooth as possible for the company we hope to be hired by.

But as one woman has learned the hard way, all too often that can end up coming back to bite us, especially when it comes to salary negotiations.

She received an unreasonable job offer after giving a salary range to the company interviewing her.

For many people, salary negotiation is one of the most awkward parts of the job interview process. Shoot too low and you cut yourself off at the knees. Shoot too high and you risk losing the opportunity altogether, or at least that's often our perception.

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But one woman on Reddit found out the hard way just how dangerous this particular anxiety can be. She tried to be helpful and fair by giving a company that interviewed her a wide salary range and, unsurprisingly, they went with the low end. 

She has 10 years of experience and was offered the salary she made at the beginning of her career.

"I'm a C-suite [executive assistant] with over 10 years of experience," the woman wrote in her post. That means she's assisting the highest-level leadership in the companies she works for. It's a demanding and all-important job. So any role she applies to should be compensated accordingly, right?

A role she recently interviewed for "supports 2 C suites, [Chief Financial Officer] and [Chief of Staff]." And given her decade of experience, she nailed it. 

"Everyone I interviewed was very impressed with my background and skill set," she wrote. "They all seemed excited to get me on board as I can hit the ground running vs being trained." 

So imagine her shock when she got the job and was offered a salary of $60,000 a year. "I made that in my second year of supporting VPs. I think that is an unreasonable rate to support 2 C-suite executives."

   

   

But the salary she was offered was within the range she had provided to the company. 

She ended up turning down the job because that was obviously an unreasonable job offer, but the recruiter she worked with was shocked by this choice. 

"She mentioned that I did put $58k-$76k as my pay range," she wrote. "I explained to her that I was open to offers and some company benefits would allow me to accept a lower rate. For example — unlimited PTO, tuition reimbursements, etc."

   

   

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She had also mentioned in her initial interview that she was at the top of the pay scale. But as out of whack as $60,000 is, it is still $2,000 more than the minimum she herself said she'd accept.

Women and other minorities frequently refrain from negotiating salaries and tend to lowball themselves when they do.

Unfortunately, this woman fell into a trap that often plagues women, as well as other minorities, in their careers. A 2020 study by global recruiting firm Randstad, reported on by CNBC, found that 60% of women have never negotiated their salary, and often quit their jobs instead. Another study found that when they do negotiate their salaries, they frequently lowball themselves, asking on average 25% less than their white male counterparts.

This problem is even more acute for people of color. Women of color ask on average 40% less than white men, while men of color tend to ask for 30% less.

   

   

What's behind all this? The answer is what you probably suspect: Fear. We all know that women and minorities tend to be paid less than their white male counterparts. Even LGBTQ+ people, who tend to be higher earners in the corporate world, still tend to earn 10% less than their straight counterparts.

Experts say that for many minority workers, this results in minority professionals refraining from rocking the boat, or from rocking it too hard. And as this Redditor learned the hard way, most companies will absolutely take the opportunity to lowball you if you give it to them. 

Experts say to never give a salary range or even answer the salary question — instead, turn it around on the interviewer.

Ultimately, unfair as it is, this woman brought this unreasonable job offer on herself. "You’re not wrong, but your range needs to be tighter and higher," one Redditor wrote. "Agreed, they met your range and your range is too low for your experience," another added. 

Experts say that the right way to handle salary in interviews is to turn the question back around on them by asking, "What is the salary range for this position?" That way, you can negotiate accurately. 

   

   

Of course, it doesn't always go that easily and smoothly, so if you get stone-walled or end up backed into a corner in the conversation, experts say at the very least never reveal your current salary.

As for an asking price, a friend of mine who's worked in HR for 20 years once gave me the following advice: Take the number at the top of the salary range you have in mind, add 10%, and that's your initial ask. At least if they talk you down, they're talking you down from the top! 

She also recommends keeping your fear out of the equation. Because recruiting new staff is so expensive and tedious — often costing a company as much as $10,000 per position once all is said and done — most companies are far more likely to negotiate once they've settled on a candidate than walk away. So shoot your shot!

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.