Dealing With The Salary Question Another Way

We hear a lot from people who say that they’re willing to take a pay cut to find work, but employers are afraid that their “underpaid” hires will jump ship as soon as the economy improves.

If you’re truly willing to take a lower-paying job (either to switch fields or just to get back in the workforce) and you’re running into this problem, try what J.T. Tanner O’Donnell and Dale Dauten suggest: try to be agreeable and forthcoming. Don’t lie and say money means nothing to you.

Dauten suggests saying: “They paid me $70,000, and in this market, I think I was overpaid. What do you think?” “They’ll say that yes, the going rate is more like $50,000,” he says. “You tell them that you’ve done some research and you agree. Now, look at what you’ve accomplished: You and your new boss have agreed on the right pay.”

And O’Donnell adds: “The hiring manager might straight-out ask if you plan to leave as soon as you can make more elsewhere. If so, you can say: ‘I’ve learned throughout the years that more pay can come with the risk of being laid off. I’m focused on finding a job where I can feel good about the contributions I make and where my pay doesn’t make me vulnerable to lay-offs.'”

The original poster asking Dauten and O’Donnell for advice has an extra problem, which is that he did this exact thing: took a pay cut then jumped ship. Then he was laid off, and is running into this trust issue with his new job search. So of course, if you have a track record of bailing, this excuse might not fly so well—but it is worth a try.