Should a Change in Job Title Affect Salary?

by Staff - Original publish date: March 6, 2013

Pretty far into the process I’ve been asked my salary expectations. I said in the $160’s, and expecting $180k - $200k. Now they’ve adjusted the job title at a lower rate, “Tax Director” instead of “Director of Tax and Treasuries” likely with less responsibilities and less money. What should I do when the CFO asks my salary range?

The key principle here is value first, price second. Until you’re clear about how much value you’ll be producing for the company, it’s hard to figure out compensation. If the title started as one thing one day and then changed, they may actually be limiting the amount of value you can produce—which would lower the salary. 

Talk to them to discover their motives, i.e. if they want you to do the same job but call it something less so they can pay less, or it’s a genuine shuffling of responsibilities which they think will work better. Acknowledge the initial title, which prompted your expectations of $160k - $200k, before it changed, and you’d like to understand why. 

Don’t get hung up on the actual number. Assure them that if the responsibilities are right, the money will follow, because if you talk too soon -- you may screen yourself out of further interviews. Say: “Rather than relying on a job title, why don’t we list what kinds of responsibilities you want me to handle, such as treasury functions, overnight deposits, cash, and also tax stuff, or will tax duties be done by another person.” 

Then, see how much money are you making or saving for them? Then you can come up with compensation: every dollar you’re paid you make or save them many more. You can say, “It’s possible your salary won’t meet my salary expectations. Please know that I’m flexible and willing to demand a salary that’s competitive for the responsibilities. I’m pretty sure we should be able to come to an agreement.” 

All the best,