You’re Willing to Take Less But Are Afraid They’ll Reject You |

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EP 757 You earned more than they are paying for the job. You know they’ll be afraid to hire you fearing that you’ll leave for a higher paying job. How do you handle that in the interview? 

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Today, let's talk about an interview tactic. Let's say you are interviewing for a job that is paying less than what you were previously making. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that employers are reluctant to hire people who were making more than what they are willing to pay now. Their thinking is that is soon as the economy gets better, as soon as you find another job, you are out the door.

How do you counteract that? How do you deal with that? Obviously, you can tell them the truth. "I was making X number of dollars per year; I understand this position is paying less and I am willing to take less." Then you're back in the same boat.

There's an idea of what to do instead. What you can do is respond to the question of, "How much were you earning," by saying, "My last employer was very generous with me, probably too generous as a matter fact. They will probably pay me more than what the market is. My understanding is that this is a position that is paying less than what I was previously earning. I understand I was earning a very generous compensation; I am willing to come to that level."

If they persist, they will ask you, "So how much were you making?"

"I was making X number of dollars per year. Does that make sense to you or does it seem like they were being particularly generous?" Most of the time, they will say something that confirms that they were paying more than what the market is. "We are paying up to such and such."

You can say, "That's what I understand the market is right now; I'm very willing to accept that. I know my employer was paying more than market value; I was happy to take the money but now it is time to come back to the market."


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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