Salary Lowballing & The Viral Post

Salary Lowballing & The Viral Post

Two or three weeks ago, a social media post about salary lowballing went viral and, well, the interwebs blew up.

Key topics:

✔️ It’s way past time for salary transparency. Many cities or states have outlawed the practice of asking a candidate what their current salary is. Others are requiring employers to post a range in each job description.
✔️ It used to be common practice for employers to make a subpar offer and see if the candidate accepted it or haggled. This is a bygone practice from a bygone era. It wasn’t fair then and it isn’t good now.
✔️ Just as the phrase “caveat emptor” applies to buyers, it truly is important to know your own value. Whether you are a freelancer bidding on gigs or you are a W2 employee looking for a salaried role, know your own worth.
✔️ In the same way that you might research a company on Indeed or Glassdoor, don’t be afraid to do market research on current salary ranges as well.

Need more? Email me:


Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!


Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, and thanks for tuning in. So I wanted to hop on and record a quick episode about salary low balling. About two weeks ago, maybe three weeks ago, I think it was there was a post that went viral. And I actually saw it on Instagram before I saw it on LinkedIn. And the interwebs, were not kind. I do not know the person who posted the post that went viral. I’m not going to mention that person’s name or where they were working, I sort of feel like we live in a society where it becomes fashionable to kick somebody when they’re down. And I know there were people on LinkedIn saying, Hey, we do need to have a little bit more compassion here. Because, you know, whenever somebody becomes the target of massive cyber bullying, you know that their life is a living hell for that period of time. So I don’t want to do anything on this podcast to make that worse. In case you missed the post that went viral, I will read the text of the post. But that’s all I’m going to do. So this is what it said, I just offered a candidate 85,000 for a job that had a budget of 130k. I offered her that because that’s what she asked for. And I personally don’t have the bandwidth to give lessons on salary negotiation. Here’s the lesson always ask for the salary you want deserve. No matter how large you think it might be, you never know how much money a company has to work with. And then the person ends the post with a hashtag of Be confident. In so many ways, this is a teachable moment. For one thing, we have to always be cognizant of what we’re posting online, because something that might seem to be completely candid, maybe we don’t have any malicious intent whatsoever, we might be trying to just be candid, or in our mind, we might think that we’re actually trying to be helpful, but it may come across to other people as being inappropriate or tone deaf. So I like to say when in doubt, hold it back, or ask for some second or third opinions. But we just we have to remember, you know, as I said before, we kind of live in a society now that likes to kick people when they’re down, and everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon. And so you just want to be careful and cognizant of the fact that if you post something, and it turns out that the internet has a giant backlash against it, that’s going to be a complete and utter nightmare for you. Now, if you are a job seeker or a freelancer, it is so important to know your value. The onus is really on you to know your value. And I think the spirit of what the person was trying to say in terms of knowing your own value and knowing what you’re worth and knowing what you deserve. That’s not wrong. And I really think it’s kind of like the phrase Caveat emptor for buyers, let the buyer beware, the onus is really on the buyer to make sure that they’re doing appropriate research first, the same thing is true for job seekers, job candidates and freelancers. You know, if a freelancer thinks, Well, gosh, you know, I’m just not sure if I could get more than $10 an hour to do this work, then you probably won’t, I mean, really, the the imperative is on you to know what your time is worth, what amount of money you need to charge in order to turn a profit, because you’re going to have to pay taxes. And if you’re going through a freelancing site, then you’re probably going to owe them fees as well. So you really want to make sure that you have done appropriate research and you know what your time is worth. And if you low balling yourself, then it can be very difficult to sort of crawl out of that pit and get back up on level ground again, companies and hiring managers have to change with the times too. You know, I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine who’s also involved in HR and staffing work. And she said, You know, it’s kind of hard to believe that there are still people out there that are trying to ignore the great resignation, or they’re trying to ignore the amount of people who like working from home, they don’t want to return to the office are they don’t want to have a hybrid work model. They’ve really earned their stripes and they’ve proven that they are productive at home, and the desire of commuting and dressing up and coming back to the office. They’re just not about that life anymore. They don’t want it. But yet sometimes these companies and hiring managers and other people in HR, it’s almost like, Okay, I’m going to ignore this. I’m going to tune this out. I’m going to pretend this isn’t happening because I just want things to go back to the way they were pre COVID Even though we know like the lands type of work and the language of work are quite different. Now, work is not necessarily happening between these standard traditional hours of Monday through Friday, from eight to five. I mean, I’ve used the example before of an IT Freelancer that I work with from time to time, and she may be doing the work at two or three o’clock in the morning, I don’t care, she always does fabulous work. And it’s always done correctly and ahead of the deadline. So if she’s working at two in the afternoon or two in the morning, it’s no skin off my nose. But it really used to be a sort of unwritten rule of thumb, that if you received an offer from a company, the first offer that you got would be low, and you were encouraged to negotiate to push back and to not accept whatever offer they made you first. And sometimes that could be difficult, because if a person had been unemployed for a while, or they were really going through some kind of financial strain, the temptation might be there of Well, I’m just going to take anything, even if they make me a lousy offer to start with, I need this money, I have to have this to avoid foreclosure or eviction or getting the car repossessed, I need to be able to feed the kids, I can’t not take this offer. And looking back on it. Now, of course that the energy around that is icky. It’s just like, Oh, why? Why were companies ever doing that. But that used to be the way of it. But as I’ve said before, you know, we’re living in the great resignation times. And the idea of we’ll just throw this lowball offer out and see if they take it. No, they won’t. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re an HR manager, or a hiring manager, you have to get out of that old school way, way of thinking that Well, the first offer I put out there needs to be low, we’ll see what they come back with, we’ll see if they count, or maybe we’ll get lucky. And they’ll just take the lower offer anyway, people don’t want to play those head games. That’s a lot of nonsense and a lot of hot air from a bygone era. And you cannot be hiring that way anymore. There’s also quite a push about simply publishing salary ranges, and being very transparent. If the position you’re hiring for has a salary range of 120 to 140, based on experience, then say that, put it in the ad put it in the posting, if you have corporate recruiters or outside recruiters calling candidates to see if they can stir up interest, then be honest about what the pay range is. Quit trying to keep it dark and nebulous and Ooh, maybe they won’t figure it out. Maybe we can pick up somebody for 90 grand instead of having to pay them 120. And wouldn’t that be great? Would that just be a great coup d’etat for us? No. I mean, again, even talking about it, from that place of let’s see, if we can lowball somebody and get an amazing person for pennies on the dollar. Like it’s gross. And it’s also outdated. As I said earlier, it’s from a bygone era when that’s the way that searching for work and negotiating your offer went. The final point that I want to make here is if you are in staffing, recruiting, or HR, I understand, believe me, I’ve been in this industry for quite a while. And I know it gets stressful. I know that at any point in time, we may feel like we have dozens of plates that we’re juggling or spinning, we’re trying to make sure none of them drop and shatter into a million pieces on the ground. I get it. But this notion of Well, I just don’t have the bandwidth to give lessons, I don’t have time for that this, this person should have already known their worth to begin with. Hmm, that’s not a very kind or compassionate stance to take. And just to be clear, it is important for you to know your own worth. And I also believe it’s important for job seekers and candidates to do their own market research. Now, Google is an awesome tool. But sometimes it’s going to pull up inaccurate information. Let’s be honest, anybody can go on the internet and publish a blog post or put something out there that may be unrealistic information or unrealistic expectations. I mean, for example, if you just graduated from college and you’re applying for your first entry level job, and you want $250,000 Plus stock options, is that a realistic expectation? Probably not. So we want to be careful about not just way shooting for the moon and being unrealistic. But it is your responsibility to have some general idea of an appropriate salary range and what you would need in order to take the job that’s being set before you. I don’t think that we can pin everything on HR, everything on recruiters, I think job seekers are savvy and they do like to do research anyway. I mean, look at how many people will go to indeed or Glassdoor and check out a company ahead of time. So it is good to also be checking out salary ranges and have some idea of what you think fair pay would look like for the position. That’s all good information to have. However, this notion of well, those of us in HR those of us in staff We’re just too busy, we can’t take the time. To me that also smacks of a bygone era home, just float him an offer that’s low and see if they take it haha when that’d be great. I understand we’re busy. I understand we’re under stress, but it just doesn’t take a long time to simply say to a candidate, okay, the salary range for this role is 120 to 140. Is that something that you would be comfortable with? Do you feel that that’s compatible with what you’re looking for in your next move? It takes very little breath and very little effort to just simply be transparent. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

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