The cardinal rule to salary negotiation in an interview is this:
Never mention a dollar figure before the employer does!
You are guaranteed to either over-price or under-price yourself. Even if an employer asks about the minimum salary you will accept, don’t give them a figure! If you are too low, you might get the job, but at a much lower salary than you could have gotten. This little mistake could cost thousands of dollars.
There are many benefits to a job besides a starting salary, including opportunities for advancement and training, fringe benefits, good working conditions, good hours, and so on. Wait until you find out those things and are offered the job before you ask questions about salary.
What To Say When Discussing Salary
If an employer does ask you about salary before offering you the job, here are some ways you can answer:
“I’m really interested in long-term growth and advancement. Right now I am willing to accept whatever your company pays qualified candidates.”
“I don’t have a particular amount in mind. I’m primarily interested in a career with your company, not just a job.”
If the interview is coming to a close and you feel that the interviewer is favorable to you, you may say:
“I don’t know what your company policy is, but I feel I’d do an outstanding job for you. Do you have a particular salary in mind for me?”
If the interviewer answers with a figure, don’t speak. Just nod your head and let him/her continue. He/She may be offering you the job. Make sure one way or another before saying anything. In any event, let the employer bring up the issue of salary.
The Center for Career Connections offers a workshop every quarter on salary negotiation. Check our workshop schedule for dates, times, and location.
Here are a few additional resources to help you learn more about the art of salary negotiations. It’s a good idea to do some research on the job/industry before going to your interview.
- Data Masters
Offers a current salary survey of occupations in the computer industry.
- ERI Economic Research Institute
Offers salary survey analyses, cost of living comparisons, and executive compensations analyses in the form of database software and published reports. Provides information for 7,200 U.S., Canadian, and international cities and links to other helpful salary and cost-of-living resources.
- Jobstar Salary Information
Offers links to 300+ salary surveys, as well as other salary information and advice on negotiating a salary with and employer.
Excellent source of detailed salary information. Fill out a free salary profile for a unique understanding of your current market rate.
One of the top salary tools on the web. Salary information for your region and for thousands of job titles. Each job includes a description. Also available are relocation and cost-of-living tools.
How far will your salary go in another city? Compare cost of living for up to 4 U.S. cities and the national average with our comprehensive calculator. You can also see how job opportunities and population stats stack up for the cities you’re comparing.
Last Updated July 31, 2017