adriana michaels

Senior Operations Recruiter

There’s many, valid reasons for being willing to take a pay cut. I’ve heard them all: you’re a new parent who wants a less demanding schedule; you’re switching job industries; you value experience over salary, and more. 

Yet, even though your reasoning to take a pay cut is valid, you can’t seem to land a job. 

Why? That’s because there are red flags that immediately pop up in a hiring manager’s mind when the topic of accepting a pay cut comes up. Let’s discuss them. 


Will you feel fulfilled in a new position? 


This is a question hiring managers typically ask people moving from higher-ranking positions to lower-ranking positions. 

I recently worked with a candidate, Sallie (not her name) who was a new mom. After coming  back from maternity leave, she quickly realized that her HR Director position demanded too much of her time, emotionally and physically. Physically, she was working overtime hours and was prevented from spending time at home with her new baby. And, when she was home, Sallie was so emotionally burnt out from work that she felt she was never fully present with her family. When we met through LinkedIn not too long ago, Sallie was looking to move out of her executive position and into a coordinator role, a position with a less demanding schedule.

The problem Sallie faced was this: the hiring managers she talked to worried that she wouldn’t feel as intellectually stimulated and fulfilled in a position that is lower-ranking than what she had. 

In other words, hiring managers worried that Sallie would grow bored after a few months and then decide to leave their company. 


How desperate are you?


When a candidate jumps on a position that comes with a massive pay cut from their previous salary, hiring managers can’t help but wonder if that candidate is simply just desperate to land a job. 

And if a candidate is desperate for a job, a hiring manager won’t be able to help but wonder why. Did something happen at their last job that would affect future employment prospects? Is that candidate looking for a temporary fix while still looking for something better? 


Did you lie about something?


Sometimes candidates will oversell themselves on their resumes or during an interview. They might claim they have qualifications or skills they don’t and will readily jump on a job offer, despite the salary, before their lies are uncovered. 


How can you ease a hiring manager’s worries?


Hiring managers are under a lot of scrutiny right now. The Great Resignation is over but, as recession looms, budgets are tightening and it is becoming more important than ever for hiring managers to put their company in the best position as we head further into an economic downturn.

They need to make smart hires. A bad hire costs 30% of that employee’s first-year annual salary, according to the U.S Department of Labor. Companies cannot afford to lose this kind of money right now. 

So, if you’re willing to take a pay cut, how do you convince a hiring manager you’re not a bad hire? 

1. Be upfront

When a hiring manager asks why you’re okay with taking a pay cut, explain why up front. Telling the truth may raise some red flags in a hiring manager’s mind, but not as many as when a hiring manager senses you’re lying or hiding something.

2. Show passion for the company

If you’re passionate about a company and the position you have an opportunity to fill, let the hiring manager know! Come prepared to an interview, having done your research, and ask questions throughout. Passion about a company can do a lot to assuage a hiring manager’s fears about any underhanded motives you may have.

3. Work with a recruiter

Work with a recruiter, like us here at Brightwing. We have relationships with our clients, they trust us. And we’ve formed relationships with you. If there’s anyone who can make a good case for you and your willingness to take a pay cut, it’s us. Reach out today!

let’s talk