How to Renegotiate a Lowball Offer

by Staff - Original publish date: January 16, 2012

Job interviews are stressful. But if you're unemployed and really need a job to support yourself or your family, it's not uncommon to accept a lower salary offer you wouldn't ordinarily accept. In this week's "Ask the Salary Expert" mailbag, career coach and our salary expert Jack Chapman helps out someone who agreed to a lower salary than was discussed, but now wants to fix the situation. Is it too late? If not, how do you bring it up without stepping on anyone's toes? It's a subject filled with potential landmines, but Jack has solutions that will prevent things from blowing up in your face.

I accepted an offer lower than what the CIO officer told me. After a couple of months, I scheduled a meeting with the CIO inquiring about a salary increase based on his initial offer. Was this the correct approach?

No. The best path here would have been to bring the issue up with the person who presented you your offer during your interview. You should've said something along the lines of "Hmmm, the CIO had mentioned a figure higher than this. Could we check on that?"

Now it's harder, but still possible. Even at this late date. Send a note to the CIO that says something like, "I think I made an error in discussing my salary and earnings here. I should have brought it up sooner. Could I have a few minutes of your time to discuss this?"

Then just lay it out. Explain that, at the time, you thought there was perhaps a "prove yourself period." But now you think it was an oversight on your part.

A "What would it take to get me to the salary figure you mentioned earlier in the hiring process?"

All the best,
Jack Chapman

Career coach and author Jack Chapman, who wrote "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute," is teaming up with to offer a weekly Q & A on all things related to salary negotiation.

Using real questions sent in by actual readers, Jack will help you navigate the choppy waters of interviewing for a job, negotiating a salary and asking for a raise or promotion. Remember all those times you desperately wished you had someone to help you answer all the tough questions that invariably surface around negotiations? Now Jack has your back and he's providing easy to implement, real-life solutions to your salary negotiation dilemmas.

Check back every Tuesday for the FREE advice that could prevent you from losing thousands of dollars in unnegotiated pay, get you the job you want and steer you clear of potential pitfalls during the interview process.

If you have a question or need some advice from Jack, we'd love to hear from you. Send an email to stating your problem or question, and we'll send it to Jack for his expert advice.

Jack Chapman is a Career and Salary Coach, and author of "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute." For more negotiating advice go to or e-mail