Honestly, I’m Willing to Work for Less Money

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I was laid off in August and my last salary as a legal secretary was $68k. I am willing to work for less ($45+) as the job market has changed. I think I am still looking because employers would prefer to hire someone who’s current/last salary is/was below their range or closer. How do I convince an employer that I’m not a “flight risk” or exactly how should this situation be handled?

Honestly, I’m Willing to Work for Less Money

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7 thoughts on “Honestly, I’m Willing to Work for Less Money

  1. Let your employer know exactly what's going on in your head. Tell them the truth. Don't ever slack off.

  2. Let your employer know exactly what's going on in your head. Tell them the truth. Don't ever slack off.

  3. I'm having the same dilemma, for slightly different reasons: I have a good job that pays well, but the corporate culture is kind of miserable. My dream job is about to open up in a few months, and I know this because the director told me so personally and we agree I'm likely a good fit. But I'm pretty sure it will involve a pay cut, and I am sincerely ready to trade some money for happiness and liberty. There's no polite way to express that on paper . . . is there? As in, "I'm OK with $5,000 less because I know what I eat for lunch will remain my own business and not the subject of a 'wellness' witch hunt!" – that kind of thing. Any ideas?

  4. That's a tough one, as a recruiter I see this more often than I would like.

    I wonder if as a legal secretary you could go the temp agency route for a while, prove yourself, and by the time a position opens up it will be less of a concern.

  5. Anon the recruiter–you're in a unique position to do something about this. Are you rejecting candidates because of their previous higher salaries? Why? What's the logic there?

  6. This really is very tough. It's true that as HR people, we see this and think "this person is going to bolt as soon as the economy gets better and a job with more pay comes available". The reason we think this is because it happens so often. We've gotten burned too many times. The only thing I can suggest is to explain your reasons for taking a job that pays less. Get the interview first. Don't state what you're "willing" to accept in a cover letter. or give salary history up front (unless the employer demands to know this information before an interview).
    Like a previous poster stated, be honest about your reasons for looking at a position that pays below what you've had previously.

  7. Like said above, HR/recruiting types are hesitant with "overqualified" people because the stereotypes that they will leave quickly are often true. Are they always true? Of course not. I've seen it work out both ways. The problem is that every overqualified person upfront will say they are fine with less money, but not all really mean it. How do we tell the difference?

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