Don’t fall for the salary bait-and-switch

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Jane recently interviewed and landed a dream job — a significant jump in title and responsibility, moving from an individual contributor role to a director role managing a team of 15. And then the offer came. The title: Senior Manager. The salary: $25,000 less than she was making in her former role.

What the heck? How did this happen?

She picked up the phone and asked the hiring manager what went awry. The response: 

“From what I understand, the partners thought you’d be more suited for this role given your past experience.”

Jane asked a few more questions and decided to decline the offer, politely citing her surprise about the disconnect between their discussions around title and salary. The offered title and salary were never part of the conversation.

And then something happened.

The hiring manager emailed a few days later to say they were prepared to make another offer with the title and salary she had originally interviewed for.

Jane politely declined and went about pursuing other opportunities.

You might think, especially since it was her dream job, that Jane would have jumped back into the process and accepted. Indeed, she struggled with the decision, but she ultimately felt the experience was a red flag about the ethics and practices of the company.
Lessons learned:

There are always more fish in the sea. Don’t settle.

Never ignore the pinch in your gut and capitulate to smarmy bait-and-switch tactics. If you do, you’re going to be resentful and unhappy with the job and yourself.

You didn’t misunderstand. You were misled.

Don’t believe them when they tell you that you aren’t qualified or experienced enough. It may be implicit bias in sheep's clothing.

Blog Author Bio

Lisa Gates is a negotiation consultant and co-founder of She Negotiates Consulting and Training.

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