How to Renegotiate an Offer Lower than You Expected

The right ways to renegotiate for a better salary

You don’t have to accept a job offer with a salary lower than what you expected. In a situation where you believe the offer is not good enough, what you should do is to open a conversation with your potential employer on why you should be paid more than they are currently willing to pay you.

Negotiation - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

Here’s a scenario – You are offered N100,000 less than you feel you deserve for a job. Instead of jumping at the offer because you are worried that good jobs are hard to come by, renegotiate your offer with the goal of meeting the company in the middle.

The question then becomes – How do you achieve this without losing out on the job offer? How do you renegotiate an offer without looking greedy and over ambitious? For instance, in a situation where you are in a different town from where the company making the offer is situated, then this forms a good premise on which to ask for consideration.

However, this is not the only way to renegotiate an offer as you are about to find out.


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Payslip - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

You need to be realistic

It’s important to keep your expectations realistic. Before you raise the subject of renegotiating an offer, you should have a realistic salary range of your role in mind. This will help you find out where you belong on the company’s compensation scale. For instance, if the role you are getting hired for is the role of a Campaign Manager and you find out that the industry standard for a campaign manager is N200,000 for a university graduate, this gives you a standard to negotiate with.If the company is offering you N125,000 for the same role despite the fact that you have 3 years of working experience, then it becomes clear to you that offer is on the low end. This puts you in a good position to call for an upward review of your salary.

Salary - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

Don’t make it personal

No matter how tempted you get to talking about personal reasons why you need to have an upward review of your salary, please don’t do it. During a renegotiation, you need to focus on how to get compensated with what you believe you deserve as an employee and not about how you need to extra cash to put your brother through school or how you need a 50% increase from what was previously offered to be able to replace your problematic car with a used Toyota from Cheki.

Carrying a briefcase - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

Don’t be overly aggressive or demanding

You should always remember that a salary renegotiation is a conversation between two parties. It is expected that even before the dialogue is initiated, you already have a preferred outcome in your mind.  What you should go for is not the outcome that you have preferred. Instead, you should work towards a point in the renegotiation where both parties can reach an agreement on a figure that works for both sides.

Making an aggressive request or being extremely rigid in your renegotiation will not particularly work in your favour. Rather, what you would succeed in doing is putting the company on a defensive and from that point, acceding to your request would prove difficult. You might even lose out on the job offer.

Working remotely - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

Slot in the benefits

Of course, the crux of the renegotiation is the salary but don’t forget that this is an opportunity to also revisit the perks and benefits that come with the job. If you are keen on things like flexible working hours, working remotely some days, more vacation time and other perks, now would be a very good time to raise these as alternatives. These benefits could form a perfect meeting ground in a case where the employer is not able to measure up to your salary expectations.

Job interview - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

Define a ‘walk away’ limit

Before you delve into the heart of the renegotiation process, you should define a point where you consider your ‘walk-away’ point. This is the point where the offer from the company is so low that you have to let the offer go by walking away. It is up to you to decide what your walk-away’ point is. It could be based on your financial need, the current economic situation, or what you feel is your market value. The essential thing is to have that point where you have no problem walking away from the offer.

Laptop and coffee - How to renegotiate an offer lower than you expected

Don’t dwell on the past

There are cases during a salary renegotiation where the company requests to know what you currently earn (if you are working) or how much you earned monthly at your last job. This can be a very tricky question to respond to. The tricky nature of the question gets worse in a situation where you are either underpaid at your current job or looking to earn much more from the company’s offer. Please note that telling a lie is never a good idea as it could always come back to haunt you.

Be honest about your salary if asked during a renegotiation. Tell the company what you really earn (including benefits, bonuses, and other perks) and be quick to add details about your new skills and market value.

If you want to have a renegotiation of your offer with an outcome closer to your expectations than that of your employers, you need to be prepared. You need to know your worth and value. You should be armed with information that will put you in a strong position to renegotiate and stay confident.

Website Comments

  1. Rachel @

    I think you made some great points here. I’ve been able to renegotiate terms before and it has always worked out favorably. I think it’s important not to “settle” for something when you might resent it later. You never know if there’s room for more compensation unless you ask for it!

  2. Tobby

    Dear Samod,
    I love your write up. It was quite impeccable.
    your second paragraph in your last point.. Don’t you think there should be “confidentiality” in disclosing one’ last pay.
    Reasons being that it is against previous employer’s code to release sensitive information to any third party.

    kindly clarify.
    Thank you

    • Ogbleba Moses

      I totally agree with you on this, looking at the world over, it is not right for employers to ask about your previous salary. What is your take on this please?

  3. Abiola

    Nice piece Samod.

    Could you link me with any bank/organization that needs a call centre agent/customer service representative in ibadan…. I have over a year experience as a Customer Care Representative…

  4. Fortunes Ken

    So helpful. A stronger weapon of defence in today’s salary negotiations.


    Nice write up and very useful information. Honestly you have answered the questions bordering my mind.

  6. Chuka

    In my experience, telling a potential employer what you used to earn is ALWAYS a bad move! Most employers won’t be able to move past the figure you’ve given them and they’d make further assessment of you based on that figure.
    It’s sort of like going to the market and asking a trader for the price he bought a good he’s about to sell, he’s either gonna lie or not tell you at all.

    • Martha

      I totally agree. My last job offered to pay 50% more than previous salary. They made it seem like it was a favour, wheras the workload was 20times more

    • Seyi Akinbo

      Strong point. Looking at it however though, I think one could hammer more on what new skill(s) is going be brought to the table, so to speak. Just as the point given in the second paragraph of the sixth point; “Don’t dwell on the past”
      My perspective anyway.

  7. Pedro Olakitan

    Nice1 mr David… Jobber man. God bless you real good. I used to have an account with u, but presently I can’t remember my password n account name but surprisingly I get messages from you with this google account of my cos am sure this the account I used in opening it… please kindly help me. Thanks

  8. Ayodele Akinbola

    Hello pls……… do u renegotiate your salary if u company told you that in 2-3 months time, they will visit your pay based on performance. And also, with respect to your annual leave………..u were not told at the point of employment bt was told by your staff that you go on leave……… can one bring all these back on the table

  9. Oyenike

    Thanks for the write up. My question is, if one try renegotiating and the employer said that’s what they can offer. As time goes one can one try to do the renegotiating thing. Thanks.

  10. samuel

    Nkce one. I really love your write up. A quick question! How can you avoid or manage effectively exposing your last pay to a potential new employer??

  11. Adesanya

    I will make suggestions.

    Most potential employers use your past earning to define your worth and applicable offer. Any employer that “insist” on providing your current/past pay wish to use this trick to marginalise the interveiwee (if the disclosed pay is much less than what they can actually pay), and to assess the current market worth of the interviewee, defend their position and end further discussion if the disclosed current pay is far beyond their capability. So the best trick is to flexibly but firmly/tactfully appeal to confidentiality of your current pay pack, smartly decline and emphasize your current asking pay expectations rather. Most employers will deliberately or tactfully suggest what they offer or may no longer bother on your past past/current pay. Reason employers are reluctant about disclosing their offer pay is they consider it as a reverse interview on their own “market value” or “networth”. If you can get to this juncture they will then ask about your minimum pay expectations. It is advisable to either accept their “suggested” offer if it’s within your walk away range -at least your minimum walk away range and hide the job opportunity in “the job cart”. If their suggested pay is below walkaway range you must cautiously convince them to scale up to your expectated minimum pay- be very flexible/compromising and try to use negotiating skills, humour and diplomacy to earn their persuasion . Even if they are not capable of meeting your asking minimum they will likely let you know or hint you by appealing to reasons like “we are a growing business, we started couple of years ago” or they will contact you for further chat. But if you are rigid they won’t contact you even if they promise to do so – but either way they will not indicate outright concurrence or disapproval on the spot. Leave further discussion on pushing the walk away range to somewhere between the minimum and the upper end of the range (the buffer zone) till you are given offer letter.

    During the final chat do not discuss and tinker with pushing the minimum pay expectations until you have the offer letter. You don’t want to loose the offer and much more you want the maximum pay range, so it’s better to accept the minimum first and wait for opportunity to maximise it later. There are two possible outcomes, either the company will list a pay slightly or far beyond your minimum asking or they offer the exact minimum pay. Since you now tentatively hold the offer you can then remind the employer that the pay on the offer is the minimum asking so you thought they will go beyond the minimum. Or you may accept the offer straight away if the perks and benefits are attractive. But it is advisable to not use benefits to negotiate pay during interview stage until you have the offer because you don’t have the job yet and discussing benefits prior to job offer may be counterproductive unless the employer is quite impressed with your interview performance and deliberately initiated benefit discussion to woo you with their fringe benefits. Since a feedback offer acceptance time is set be very flexible, cautious, and sign off the offer very quickly long before the acceptance time expires whether the employer is or is not willing to renegotiate further at present or at some point while in employment because you don’t know what challenge your current job may pose within the next new job one month notice period.

    In concluding, accept the offers first!

  12. adedayo

    Please how can I ask for a salary increase without losing my job cos I didn’t ask for the right pay and now found out am the least paid in my company

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