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 flexible. It depends upon the whole page of salary and benefits.”
“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 interviewer answers with a figure, don’t speak. Just nod your head and let him/her continue. This person may be offering you the job. If you think you are being offered the job, ask “Is this a job offer?” If they say yes, tell them you need a day or two to consider the offer and that you would like the offer in writing. If you are not happy with the offer, this is the best time to negotiate. 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.
- Glassdoor Salaries and Compensation Information
- Indeed Search and Compare Salaries
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.
- Robert Half Salary Guides
Last Updated February 2, 2023