How to Revisit Salary After Accepting a Lowball Offer

by Staff - Original publish date: April 2, 2012

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

No, this was the incorrect approach. Here's why:

Salary-Making Rule #1 says “Postpone salary until they’re serious about making you an offer.” So one side of that rule is to postpone, and the corollary to that rule is when they are ready to make you an offer—that is the time to talk about salary. 

Don’t hope it will change or get better by accident, over time or however you think it may pan out for the good.

So now that the deed it’s is done, however, we need to look at what repair to make it work out for you.

 It becomes incumbent on you to talk to the CIO and let him know -- and it’s best to let him know in writing -- what you recall you had talked about as your compensation before this other compensation showed up. So there’s a disparity of X number of dollars, and you’d like to talk to him to get it cleared up. Give him a way out in order to save face.

You could say "I understand these details can slip by someone" or offer up some rationale as to how it could happen, basically letting him know you don’t think he was being deceitful and it was just an oversight. There's nothing wrong with telling him you thought it would take care of itself but it looks like it needs some attention.

Usually I tell people to not do negotiations by email because a lot can get taken the wrong way. But in this case it's a good idea because you'll want to have a record of the interactions.  

All the best,
Jack Chapman

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