How to negotiate a salary

Let’s cut to the chase.


There is only one important aspect to salary negotiations - never give the number first. When you’re asked, the right answer is, “What’s your salary range?”


If you give the number first, you automatically lose. Why? Because you have no idea what an interviewer has to offer, and you automatically set the starting point not knowing if it could have been $5,000 or $10,000 higher. If you request a salary higher than the rage of the job, your interviewer will tell you, and you’ve just lost money. If you request salary lower than the range of a job, you’ve just lost money.


Why do you want to know the range first? This will allow you to negotiate closer to the high end of the range. Without knowing the range, you cannot work to the higher end of the range. You might be thinking, how in the world am I going to make an interviewer to give the number out first, especially if he or she is a good negotiator? Fortunately, a company cannot make you an offer without a salary number attached to it. The cards are stacked in your favor. It’s up to you how you’ll play the hand. Of course, the interviewer will try different approaches to get the number from you.


Here are suggested responses by Penelope Trunk , a career coach, for the questions a company might ask you.


What salary range are you looking for?

“Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations for me to get a sense of what the company needs.” Soft answer to a soft way to ask a question.


What was your salary at your last job?

“This position is not exactly the same as my last job. Let’s discuss what my responsibilities would be here and determine a fair compensation.” When you say words like ‘fair’ and ‘responsibilities,’ you’re earning respect.


What are your expectations in terms of salary?

“I am interested in finding a position that is a good fit for me. I am sure the salary you’re paying is consistent with the market.” This says, I respect myself.


I would like to know what salary expectations you have in order to make an offer. Can you tell me the range?

“I would appreciate if you could make me an offer based on what you have budgeted for this position and we can go from there.” A direct response where words like ‘appreciate’ focus on drawing interviewer’s better instead of her tougher side.


Why are you not giving me your salary requirements?

“I believe you have a good idea what this position is worth to the company, and that’t important information for me to know.” Hold your line here, and you’ll win.


If you think this sounds tough and unreasonable, imagine what it’s like for an interviewer to ask a question more than once. Yes, not so much fun. If you give in mid-way, this might communicate to your interviewer you’re not very strong in holding your ground, and a company is probably not looking to hire someone like that.

Try it. You could land yourself a position that pays more than you anticipated.



We hope these tips help. Good luck!

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