How Do I Turn Down a Job Offer With Class When The Money Is Too Low?

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EP 1450. I want to turn down the offer and not have them angry with me.

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I received an interesting question is really geared toward a freelancer by think they can be applied to job hunters, as well. It's basically about turning down an offer. When the money isn't good enough and how do you do it with class. Here's the original note and then I will translate it for job hunters.

This person is a freelance writer and I get cold calls for job opportunities. They are in a position where they can afford to be choosy about which projects they take on. GREAT! This is exactly what everyone should do, whether you are freelancer or job Hunter.

He got a call from someone with an interesting job description but the money was way low for what he normally works on with his clients. He doesn't specify a percentage but just describes it as "way low."

"How do I turn this offer down with class while subtly making the point that they want to hire someone with my capabilities, they need to pay me 8 times what they offered me?"

As a job hunter, you are into problems like this all the time. You get calls from recruiters, you get calls from referrals, that land on your doorstep and the money is way off.

Job hunters often react foolishly by taking it personally. They get indignant. "WHAT!? This job should be paying . . . " They bark and they carry on like a little poodle. They bark at the recruiter. They bark at the manager who has the particular need. They bark at the person who wants to refer them. It's goofy.There is a better way to do it and one demonstrates class

What you simply say is, "I really appreciate you contacting me. It sounds like a great opportunity, but my rate is much higher than what you're prepared to offer for this role. I can recommend people to you and perhaps for the list over to you, but I think you may run into the same problem. For me, this is about 20% of what I normally charge. I will love to help you in the future, but this is way low for me. Here are few people who might be willing to take up on a project like this." Then you refer them to others.

Referring them to others is a classy thing to do. Then, is up to those individuals to decide whether it is good enough for them or whether they should refer the job out to others as well. Doing it in a way with style is to demonstrate that you have people you can point them to is to do it in a way that is not shaming, critical or disturbed in any way by what has been proposed. It is flattering that they reached out to you but, the fact of the matter is, the money isn't right.

Better to do it with style as you requested and just give them a referral to someone else.


EP 1446. Here's a question from someone about whether or not to follow up on their resume after it is submitted through the applicant tracking system
No BS Job Search Advice

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for 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 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
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