There’s a lot of advice on this blog about how to interview: Tell good stories, ask good questions, be a closer. But here’s only one most important thing to remember: when it comes to discussing your potential salary, never give the number first.

The right answer to the question, “What’s your salary range?” is almost always some version of “I’m not telling you.”

The person who gives the first number sets the starting point. But if that’s you, you lose. If you request a salary higher than the range for the job, the interviewer will tell you you’re high, and you’ve just lost money. If you request a salary lower than the range, the interviewer will say nothing, and you’ve just lost money.

So you can only hurt yourself by giving the first number. You want the interviewer to tell you the range for the position, because then you can focus on getting to the high end of that range. But you can’t work to the high point if you don’t know it.

So if there are two good salary negotiators in the room, it will be a game to see who has to give the first number. Fortunately, the company cannot make you an offer without also offering a salary, so the cards are stacked in your favor, as long as you hold your ground.

So here’s a list of responses for all the ways the interviewer will ask you how much money you expect to make. The more times you can fend off the question, the less likely you will have to be the one to give the first number. This works, even if you don’t have the upper hand and you really need the job.

What salary range are you looking for?
“Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations first, so I can get a sense of what you need.” That’s a soft answer to a soft way to ask the question.

What did you make at your last job?
“This position is not exactly the same as my last job. So let’s discuss what my responsibilities would be here and then determine a fair salary for this job.” It’s hard to argue with words like “fair” and “responsibilities”—you’re earning respect with this one.

What are you expecting to make in terms of salary?
“I am interested in finding a job that is a good fit for me. I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with the rest of the market.” In other words, I respect myself and I want to think I can respect this company.

I need to know what salary you want in order to make you an offer. Can you tell me a range?
“I’d appreciate it if you could make me an offer based on whatever you have budgeted for this position and we can go from there.” This is a pretty direct response, so using words like “appreciate” focuses on drawing out the interviewer’s better qualities instead of her tougher side.

Why don’t you want to give your salary requirements?
“I think you have a good idea of what this position is worth to your company, and that’s important information for me to know.” Enough dancing–this is one last attempt to force you to give the number first. Hold your line here and you win.

You can see the pattern, right? If you think you sound obnoxious or obstinate by not answering the question, think of how he feels asking the question more than once. The interviewer is just trying to get a leg up on you in negotiations. If you give in, you look like a poor negotiator, and the interviewer is probably not looking for someone like that.

So stand your ground, and understand that the interviewer is being as insistent as you are. And it might encourage you to know that research shows that if you mirror the behavior of the interviewer, you are more likely to get the job. Sure, this usually applies to tone of voice, level of enthusiasm, and body language, but who’s to say it doesn’t apply to negotiation tactics, too? Try it. You could come away lots richer.

245 replies
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  1. cat
    cat says:

    I just went on an interview during which the employer asked me what my range is to make sure neither party is “wasting time with mismatched expectations”. I made the mistake of giving him a range. A week later I got the offer that was 3% (of the salary offered) lower than what I said the low end of my range is. Could I negotiate at least up to my low end? At that point, the offer would be acceptable to me.

  2. cat
    cat says:

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I do need to either counter or accept before thursday :)

    • Neo
      Neo says:

      I was asked by a professional recruiter about my salary expectation I replied “I would expect a salary that is in line with the level and responsibilities of the job, my experience, and the positive and significant contributions I can offer your client.” The next day I received an email from her stating the possible salary range of the position I applied for. She asked me “What is your current salary please?” Will it be right to answer her giving the exact figure I am presently receiving or should I not answer her question.

  3. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I just stumbled across this posting, and thank goodness. I’ve been sitting here, heart pounding, waiting for a recruiter’s response to The Salary Question.

    I blended a couple of the responses:

    From what I’ve heard about xxxx — and my interest in the job — I can assure you that it will not be a waste of my time. I’d love to discuss the position responsibilities and work environment in more detail first. I’m confident that whatever salary you’re paying is fair and consistent with the rest of the market.

    It worked. My interview is scheduled and I dodged another salary question. I am in debt. I always bomb in this area.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Maryellen
      Maryellen says:

      As a recruiter, I think you should now be open. The point of not disclosing your salary is to get the company’s information. You’ve not done that. The ball is in your court, so move the conversation forward on your terms.

  4. Russ Kovar
    Russ Kovar says:

    Excellent advise – I am going to pass it along to my network and especially a group called Job Angels on Linkedin.

    Russ Kovar

  5. Paul Hart
    Paul Hart says:

    Good advice but simplistic. As others above note, many if not most Web application forms demand a salary for your previous jobs. Many also require a desired salary range in an application — and they want numbers, the form kicks out “negotiable.”

    Hopefully, a personal contact will bring an interview instead of the Web and then this approach can pay off.

  6. Investments
    Investments says:

    These are some great tips. It is hard not to fall in the “trap” and tell the person about to hire you what you expect. The best approach would be to let them talk first about what they are prepared to pay. Also, it is not hard to know about what the average company pays for a specific position. And yes if you cant agree on a salary there might be other things you can negotiate.

  7. Doug
    Doug says:

    Regarding the “Previous Salary” question… I’m thinking of being strait forward and simply stating that I’m not willing to disclose that information. Anything wrong with that?

  8. orion
    orion says:

    Go to Glassdoor.com, find your current position, and give them a range between mid and top of that level. Higher in range, of course, if the new job will be paying higher than the old. As for what range you will end up in with the new job, ignore that for now. After a year or two you can start pushing for higher figures.

  9. Juan
    Juan says:

    Well, I’m a Latin American living in Canada, I was shocked in my first interview in Toronto when one of the first questions being asked by the interviewer (by phone) was “what are your salary expectations”, when clearly I didn’t have a clue. In my experience in Latin America salary negotiation comes later in the process, not in the first interview. In another interview when the same question was asked, I answeared a range, and the recruiter told me that I should value my experience and post-graduate education, and lectured me that I should ask for much more, which left me a feeling as if I was an insect. Saying a lower salary expectation that the company’s range will discualify for the job, as being perceived as a second rate candidate. With that experience, I did some research as to find how much I am valued (payscale), and knowking my value it would then be my decision if I go for less or not.

  10. Medisoft
    Medisoft says:

    This is very good information to know. It’s hard sometimes to ask about salary without sounding greedy, but it’s really what most are working for, right?

  11. prime
    prime says:

    Hi everyone. I already passed the interview and negotiation process with the hiring manager. I am now exchanging mails to the HR people and they insist to get my current salary which I already decline twice to provide. But the hiring manager advise me that their HR needed the figures to come up with their compensation offer. Do I need to provide my current salary? Please advise. Thanks.

  12. Maryellen
    Maryellen says:

    Prime – If they have asked for it twice, you will need to supply it – it is part of their process to acquire that information. If you lied about what it is, your integrity is on the line. If you did not lie – but just have not disclosed it yet, then just do it. The issue becomes “what are you hiding?” the human part of the process.

    It’s as simple as this – you’re at a party and meet someone new. “so, where you from?” “Around.” “oh, you’re a local?” “no, I moved around a lot.” “Where’d you start out?” “I’d rather not say.” o . . .k, whatever. This conversation is over, because the person is being so odd and secretive. They clearly don’t care about engaging with the other person. It’s a simple question with a simple answer. Previous salary is a simple hiring/business question – not unlike, are you currently employed? who was your last employer?

  13. merlyn
    merlyn says:

    as an hr pro i have to say . . . ah . . . sounds good but in this economy i don’t care what you want cause i got just what i got. honestly i’m DYING to give people more money. understand what i just said? i am on your side AND YET there is just NO MORE DAMN MONEY AVAILABLE. got that? good . . . so go ahead and be coy. i’m going to be honest and just tell you up front so you don’t waste your time and i don’t waste mine. the 1990s are long gone.

    • coralie
      coralie says:

      @merlyn

      I totally understand in this economy that you can only offer what is available and as a job-seeker, I too would not want to be too coy or evasive, but it’s a simple matter: if you have a cap on what you can spend, let the job-seeker know and they will either walk away and not take up your time, or they will negotiate within that. If they try to play the game and get more, then you can give ’em the boot and they’ll know you meant business.

      In general, I fully understand why a company would not want to draw out the negotiations to such an extent, but neither does the job-seeker. If the employer has a specific range they can offer and the job-seeker asks what that range is and you don’t give it to them, who’s REALLY being coy?

  14. Hier Schreiben
    Hier Schreiben says:

    Thanks for taking this opportunity to talk about “The answer to the toughest interview question | Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist”, I benefit from learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain data, please update this blog with new information. Thanks, Hier

  15. Haarentfernung
    Haarentfernung says:

    I have been reading a lot on here the topic The answer to the toughest interview question | Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist inspired me, i have picked up some great ideas. Thanks and i hope to see more soon.

  16. Terrance Gibson
    Terrance Gibson says:

    Penelope, thanks so much for these outstanding, eye opening ideas and very effective advice. You should be a someone’s coach or counselor!!! You’ve got that gift!! This information was so well crafted and most pleasing to read. Thank you so much!!!

  17. Nunuv Yurbiz
    Nunuv Yurbiz says:

    The guidance here is no longer effective. In short, employers – or, more likely, recruiters working for them – will point blank require an amount (or range) and refuse to proceed unless you give it. No amount of asking about other things (like benefits, or the role) or giving some vague answer will avoid the requirement to provide a number. It’s obnoxious, and it’s a reflection of the current economy. Employers have the upper hand and don’t hesitate to use it.

  18. Ben Coleman
    Ben Coleman says:

    Seems like perhaps a number of recruitment professionals have missed the point here. The advice here is not to refuse to discuss salary, it is to refuse to be the first to put a number on the table. It is the company holding all the cards here – including detailed understanding of the responsiblities of the job, potential opportunities within the business and access to detailed market rate data which can costs thousands of dollars. By refusing to advertise the range and then “demanding” in the interview that the candidate be the first to name a price the company is not negotiating in good faith.

    The implied accusation here is that if the candidate offers a number below the rate that the company had in mind, the economic imperative of the company might cause them to offer below market rates simply because the candidate seemed willing to accept it.

    A good company of course knows that paying a reasonable market rate is better long term business but I don’t hear too many recruiters in here refuting the implied accusation that many companies let candidates undercut themselves.

  19. JB
    JB says:

    Ben, you bring up a good point. In light of that, maybe the best response when asked what salary range you’re expecting might be:

    “Well, I’d like to offer you one, but I do not yet have a detailed understanding of the responsibilities of the job, the potential opportunities within the business or access to detailed market rate data. Therefore I feel unable to make a qualified answer. What salary range would you find acceptable to offer me?”

  20. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    For my last job I say the truth and explain that I am looking for a job opportunity to forward my career. This means that the pay in a new position would depend on the opportunities that I might forsee in the new post. Even if I get offered less I can justify taking a job on the opportunities that might arise. As far as when someone asks for my pay range I would answer that they must know what pay range they have for the new position and I would be pleased to hear it from them. (You should always come across as straight-forward and not looking to fool anyone.)

  21. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    Also do your research. If you work for a large blue-chip company there will be a pay scale for each grade. Check the going rates in the local area. Also look for chemistry at the interview. If you are being interviewed by the direct (I have been every time) then I have found that I actually received large pay increases after I proved myself in the new role. Maybe I was lucky but the companies also tripled in size while I was at each except for one that actually closed.

  22. Van Treadaway
    Van Treadaway says:

    Sorry, but this dog won’t hunt! I’ve been recruiting in a professional environment almost as long as Jerry Crispin (:-)), mostly as a Contract or Retained recruiter, and if the applicant will not let me know their salary requirements (at least what they were making in their last relevant position) then the conversation [interview] ends. I’m paid to make my clients more productive, not waste their time. And I’m not about to waste their time by being unable to tell them whether a candidate I present to them or have screened for them is within their salary guidelines. Now, I am very willing to present a candidate who is above the stated salary guidelines I've been given. But if I think a candidate is exceptional, I will present that candidate to the client as an exception and let it be their call.

    Many clients I deal with consider their salary ranges to be proprietary. And perhaps with only a few exceptions I’ve run across in the last 30 years, I strongly believe that one of the best measures of a potential employee’s worth is the amount their former employer was paying them, again for similar work. It really fries me to listen to so-called job search experts tell applicants that they don't have to be the first to name a number because that's a lose-win proposition. If an otherwise qualified candidate doesn't get to the next interview, they've lost anyhow. The company has every right to know an applicant's salary history. I don't know why that is so difficult to understand. If a company low-balls an applicant with an offer, they've probably done that with other candidates as well and eventually the word gets around about what kind of a company they are. I much prefer a win-win proposition where the company can proceed with an interview process where they know the monetary value a potential hire had to their prior employer (their former salary) and can consciously move forward with the idea of evaluating their skills and fit for the position in question with the aim of offering competitive compensation. To do otherwise is a bad business practice. Yes, a company has a duty to a candidate they are seriously considering to set the proper salary expectation and earnings potential that can legitimately be expected in the position. But NOT up front in the interview process. At least not in the world I live in. And I've worked on both sides of the desk, in-house, for some very good companies, and out-house, representing some very good companies. It works the same regardless of the chair I sit in.

    I continue to volunteer my time to working with Crossroads Career Network (for those at a crossroads in their career, in case you haven't heard of it), and I believe it is not only logical but mandatory for a potential employer to expect honesty, openness, and truthfulness from their job applicants. They should, in turn, be honest, open, and truthful about the job and what it's like to work for their company. That includes earnings history and earnings potential. But it starts with the candidate speaking first, anticipating a win-win negotiation. I tell this to the career seekers I meet with and stress it to them time and time again. It’s bad advice to tell them otherwise.

    If you can't tell, I love what I do, and I get very passionate about it. An employee-employer relationship is no different from any personal relationship where trust and character are involved. Be open, be honest, and don't try to con anyone. There's no other way for the process to work. At least not a process I want to be a part of.

    • Jeremy
      Jeremy says:

      I am sure you love your work but unfortunately recruiters are normally ONLY interested in filling the position and getting the commission. I would be suspicious if the topic of salary is brought up early in conversation. An employer should wait until the end of an interview. If it is at the beginning we have every right to avoid the answer. A recruiting agency SHOULD ask for salary expectations since neither they nor the employee wants to waste anyone’s time but if an recruiting agency is out of the loop then avoid the answer.

    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Van,

      The point is that it is not relevant what I made or what I want to make. The only point the matters is what the company has budgeted for the position. I request companies share the budgeted range with me so we don’t waste anyone’s time. If they are unable to share the information, I suggest that it would be beneficial for me to have a conversation with the hiring manager to see if I should continue to consider their company as an option. If they simply refuse to pass on my resume, I simply reiterate that I look forward to learning more about the role and the companies compensation and request to be contacted when they come to learn that information.

      You as the recruiter give me insight into the company in which I either will or won’t work. I hope employers reading this learn that great people walk away even in this market when the encounter belligerent recruiters. Passion does not equate to expertise, by the way, as nowhere is there a law written that entitles the company to know my salary history. Clearly you do not deal with executive placement.

      Laura

  23. jeg
    jeg says:

    Here’s what I routinely see: “Resumes / candidates without salary requirements / salary history will not be considered / be ignored / not be contacted.”

  24. Geronimo
    Geronimo says:

    Ms Trunk appears to have discovered an old negotiating principle called “The Winner’s Curse.” In short: if you speak first, and the other party accepts your offer, you know you could have gotten a more favorable price.

    My job was head of HR at a very successful S&P 500 company for 20 years. Our demography was about 6% PhD’s, over half the company with baccalaureates or higher. We saw all sorts of negotiating tactics.

    It’s rarely the case that aggressive negotiation works more than a modest degree. You can’t act that ornery while searching for a job without bringing other aspects of your viability into question. Like, “If this person can’t see why our offer is reasonable, is it because they have a more generalized problem being reasonable?”

    Price-based negotiation is one-dimensional, and a hiring decision has many more dimensions than that. The hiring party is almost always in a stronger position than the candidate, just face it. The company likely has lots more alternatives than you do. Do you really have five to ten other firm offers under consideration? No? You can pretty much bet that the company has five to ten other acceptable applicants.

    Some more “practical math:” the modest gains you may expect from a flamboyant negotiating strategy are more than offset by the dollars-under-the-curve that you will lose if the company decides not to play ball. $200 / month more? If you turn down a $2400 salary, and it takes you a month before your next offer, it’ll take you a year to break even. Yeah, real smart.

    Show them your salary history truthfully; tell them you want their best offer commensurate with what you earned elsewhere (you don’t have to give them a drop-dead number–just the idea that pay is important, and you’re prepared to be reasonable. Mention that the job and the company will be the most important thing, not JUST the pay; and see what they do.

  25. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Hi,

    I read your article a few months ago. I finally got to test it yesterday…I had an interview, and the interviewer ask what salary I was looking at, I used your techniques and it worked! They are willing to pay me what I think I am worth, and not based on what my current salary is now.
    Thank you so much for your great advice!

  26. HK
    HK says:

    I completely agree with Penelope. Being an implant from Europe I was shocked to find out that in Canada, job vacancies do not specify a salary let alone a salary range. This is an unfair practice which favours the business in terms of cheap labour and allowing the creation of ‘hybrid’ roles where they combine 2 roles from different levels into one and awarding them a mid range salary. A HR person asking for your current salary is none of their business, what is relevent is what you are asking for for the role you are being interviewed for and whether or not the company has realistic expectations of the current marketplace.

  27. DMARIE
    DMARIE says:

    As a future employee of a company, I found it imperative to calibrate my expectations by researching salary ranges for the position I am interested in by local and national standards; the preparation was most useful during a phone interview, and led me to subsequent interviews with the team.

  28. Surya
    Surya says:

    Great Article! Thank you for bringing great insight into a different way of looking at things. I consider myself a straight shooter (for lack of a better word). I would definitely use some of these questions [possibly as prepared scenarios or scripts while on phone], though not all of them and probably with a lesser degree of persistence, during my next interviews. Thanks again and God Bless you!

  29. P.J.
    P.J. says:

    What if you are not the last person being interviewed? Why would you expect the interviewer to offer you the job, let alone commit to a salary? You should already have a good idea what you experience and services are worth going in to the interview. Seems a waste of time and energy to focus on salary before being offered the job.

  30. HR Recruiter
    HR Recruiter says:

    Lousy advice. I am a recruiter inundated with scores of resumes for the same position. If you want to play a game, I’m skipping over you and moving to the next candidate. Companies are not typically looking to screw the person- the position you are being considered for is likely reminiscent of your previous one or body of experience. Companies typically go from there and base salaries on prior earnings, plus whatever the person states he is seeking- in a range of $3-5k more. It’s that simple. The author’s snide suggested comments will likley land you on the bottom of the resume heap.

  31. Job Switcher
    Job Switcher says:

    @ HR Recruiter – seriously! $3-5K more when one is moving companies. That’s pennies. I’d rather stay where I am and ask for a raise.

  32. Erin Mayer
    Erin Mayer says:

    I really disagree with this entire article. In my years of business development and recruiting for some really tremendous clients, I’ve found honesty to always be best. This article makes it seem like the interview is cut-throat and like clients are only trying to hire people for the cheapest possible price, and I’ve rarely found that to be so. In my experience, clients want to hire the best candidate, but they also want that candidate to be happy, feel excited, and to not worry about paying the bills which results in a terrible turnover.

    I advise all candidates to answer the salary question with- ‘x is what I earned at my last position. I’m sure we’ll work all of those details out if it’s a fit for everyone.’

    I think assuming people are out to get you or are out to take you for granted is a pretty destructive way of thinking.

    • Steele Chris
      Steele Chris says:

      Erin, I think this depends on which companies/industries are doing the hiring. There are all types out there; the fair ones that you describe & the ones that are trying to get someone for the lowest price possible

  33. Contractor
    Contractor says:

    If you need a job you have to play by the employers rules and honestly answer the salary history question.

    If you do not need a job and simply working your career path then you do not have to answer the salary history question because if your skillset is in demand then you throw the ball back into the employers court and ask the employer what they are willing to pay for your service then you will consider their offer.

    Everything depends on your circumstances as to salary negotiations; obviously you give the advantage to the employer when you answer salary history questions and do not know what the job opportunity salary range is. Insist that salary is a two way street instead of employer sided. If the employer does not want to be honest about the salary range then do not need to work there. There are many employers who are moving into the 21st century and negotiating salary for the job instead of low balling you from your salary history.

  34. Chris Hansen
    Chris Hansen says:

    One of the things that I love about Penelope’s approach is that it work verbally and in writing. It also holds its own to most logic stress tests – it’s positive, upbeat and friendly, but centered.

    With written requests for these details, I felt it was the perfect response (which is why I just used it). That’s because it’s not offensive – it’s just saying ‘that’s a conversation i’d rather have in-person once I’ve learned more about the company’ – and doing so without being vague, weak or deflecting. It’s a 100% solid response, practically bulletproof. Responding this way to a written request for such info is a nice way of saying this isn’t a medium that I want to have those kinds of convertsations in, without being all ‘scholastic’ on someone who is just doing what they were trained to do.

    I would also point out that [part of] my original response (which I replaced with Penelope’s after thinking it through) is still totally valid.

    I don’t know enough about how [company name] structures it’s compensation packages to really understand how to answer this.

    Which is actually true. Many companies pay certain types of employees less baseline income and a lot more potential income [bonuses, commissions, stock options, whatever – it’s all the same in the end. It’s extra, and the upshot potential is much bigger than what you would enjoy otherwise].

    If you think this through quikcly, you’ll know it would be pretty hard to understand the value of what you were being offered until after it was offered.

    For example if, for instance, you got a bunch of stock grants or options, and the strike price was N and the vesting schedule was over 5 years progressivley – what’s that worth to you in real dollars? How about ‘today’ dollars – i.e. if you can use it, it’s paper money. [that’s a common example].

    So what’s the value of that? Well you sure wouldn’t be able to tell them that during an interview unless you have a good broker or tax accountant on speed-dial, or unless you happen to know a bit of finance yourself (which I actually do). But for 90% of us, not likely.

    The point is, until you understand the value of what they’re offering, you can’t decide what it’s worth. Maybe it’s a rockin’ work envrionment with cool offices and desks and freebie ‘chic’ juice bars coming out the ying-yang.

    The point is, maybe you’d be willing to trade 5-10% of your income for such an aspect of the job because YOU place a premium on that [maybe they just do it becuase their founders are hip and can’t work in a square joint like Mom’s office when they were groing up – no joke. It happens just like that all the time]. Personally, I place this kind of stuff at a premium, but for companies who maket this as ‘value’ it can be a win/lose. You might get someone who digs your vibe, but isn’t the rock star you need.

    My response is [and will be always] around Value. But I won’t know if i can give credit to them for that until I get to know the situation a bit better. You can’t always say that quite so directly, of course, but that’s the basic nuts and bolts of it.

    In person is a whole different thing.

    I chose to use Penelope’s approach because I know I make a lot of monoey compared to my peers in my local market. I also know why that’s true, and it’s not based upon my being a political animial. It’s based upon the value of what I bring to the company, and they can’t know that until they meet me and talk to me, share their weaknesses with me, and let me understand how to work with them to solve those.

    As a potential candidate, I have to help the recruiters and hiring managers have confidence in my abilities. I do this by just being myself and knowing that I have exceptionally good education, experience and training. They will know – it’s that simple. That’s what makes performers who they are, no matter what it is. It should also come naturally.

    But you’ll never get there if you don’t get in the door, and every step is a test to disqualify, and disucssing money before value is established is a sure-fire way to lose deals every time. Ask any salesperson in big-ticket sales.

    One of the best interviews and hiring experiences I ever had came from one of my former bosses when I was initially hired into that company. He brought me into his office and gave me an hour that turned into close to 3 hours of idea exchanges. On our first face-to-face discussion. I knew I had the job, of course, but that’s not actually anything new. What I was most pleased about was that i I really established value, and i felt valuable. I knew a lot about part of his business – in fact, more than he did, actually, and it showed that I was a pro that i knkew the asnwers to the problems he needed help with and I was willing to tell him what they were without his hiring me. We started with a great dialog. I knew the same day they wanted me, but he called me every other day to make sure that I knew he thought I was his perfect candidate, and that he was really looking forward to our working together as a team, and why this was a great place to do it. After the first couple of times (hr was preparing an offer, but it takes time in big companies) he would just call to chat casually about a few thoughts he had about what we had discussed, and to see how I was doing. He told how impressed he was with my skils and experience, and how he wanted to hire and would do so once the machinery caught up with itself. And this went on until i was eventually hired, and he made me an offer he knew I wouldn’t refuse – and I didn’t. I went on to a great career there, and had some major chops by the time I left.

    But none of that would have been possible if I hadn’t clearly established the value of my presence. For both examples, that’s why money comes last in the process, and it works both ways.

    Best advice, stay off of price and stick to value, and wait till you have enough information to make as much of an informed opinion as you can. [also typically near the end due to not having a lot of time to *really* size things up]

  35. Jared
    Jared says:

    And always remember: “I prefer to discuss salary requirements after you are sure I am the right person for the position.”

    • JBeez
      JBeez says:

      My initial reaction to “I prefer” was to feel a bit put off, like “well who does he think HE is? Who is doing the hiring here?”

      A better way to say it might be (and remember, it’s all in the phrasing and delivery, so say it with a warm smile):

      “When we are sure I’m the right person for the position, I’m happy to discuss salary requirements.” (Note the “we”)

  36. nicole
    nicole says:

    nowaday, most job won’t post their salary, even when i sent out my resume and requewst for salary range offered for the position. it will always be ignored when they want me to come in the interview and then found out it was a WAY WAY lowball offer without any benefits / sometimes not even holiday. or they told u straight away they won’t pay overtime but expect you to do overtime sometimes. lol. who the heck who WORK FOR FREE? everyone needs money and these greedy employer try to rob from the poor even more. if you don’t even have the gut to post your salary range , how can the candidate know what they are getting themselves in to? and 99% of these company will only end up giving you bunch of BULLshxt and also told you you are not good enough for their cheapo company. you ended up wasting your time and gas money to go there and get a stab on your self-esteem. lol. p.s. don’t work for chinese, jewish, indian company. seriously, especially small company. they have their high demand on everything / everyone they hired to be superman and perfect but relently to even pay u decently. they probably thought you can survive living in cardboard box in central park. lol. i had a chinese ex-boss tried to talk HER way OUT of my salary. i had to file a complain at department of labor for back wage, guess what? it was only 620 bucks. that’s just 1 week pay. luckily i spotted her for being as a cheapo and fire her right on the spot before she can use me for free any longer. it took me a year to get this lousy few hundred dollars back. A YEAR! belive it or not, that’s what these cheapo do nowadday. i told myself i would not work for women or small company ever again. i don’t want to waste my youth on losers.

  37. Van Treadaway
    Van Treadaway says:

    I cannot believe you are still giving out such bad advice. I’m a retained recruiter, and I work for companies who pay me to find them professional, managerial, and/or executive level talent who fall within their compensation guidelines. And I’ve done this, successfully, for 30 years. If I ask you what your current earnings are/were at your current/last job, and you don’t/won’t give me an answer, or at least a reasonable range, you lose. End of story. End of interview.

    Think about it this way. How do you judge the value of something? How about “by what someone is willing to pay for it.” And what someone else is/was willing to pay you for your skills is an indicator of your worth. [Notice I said “an” indicator, not the only indicator/] As Lewis Grizzard once said on “Designing Women”, “Tell it all, Brother, tell it all!” :-)

    And I’d suggest you can find better career advice on some other blog.

  38. Dave
    Dave says:

    If you are not willing to answer salary questions for an employer or follow standard protocol, why would they want to work with you?

    Candidates who do not disclose salary are likely to waste everyone’s time by squeezing more money out of an offer. It is obvious and a waste of time. I know because I’ve wasted time with these candidates. We just go to someone else who actually wants the job. I learned my lesson and don’t let it happen again.

    If they won’t give up current salary, move on.

  39. Richard Bobbers
    Richard Bobbers says:

    “Tell me your salary expectation or consider this interview over. In fact – thanks for coming in; we’ll let you know.”

    The employer is the one with the job to offer.

  40. DVSKID
    DVSKID says:

    One strategy that I am considering (perhaps I can get some feedback on it), is to compare the new position with your current/old one and determine what would be a realistic increase for you to accept the job. Then give them that percentage instead of a hard number. This way, you haven’t shown all your cards while at the same time indicated that there is wiggle room for both parties. You’ve also shown that you are serious about the job and aren’t expecting something obnoxious.

    So something like this perhaps:
    “I am interested in finding a job that is a good fit for me. I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with… [bla bla bla]. So I would expect that this position to pay at least x% to y% more than what I currently earn for me to consider the switch. But as with all things in business, everything is negotiable.” [end that with a sharp wink-and-gun….okay, maybe skip the wink…but definitely give them the gun. lol ]

    If they follow-up with: “and what is that current salary that you earn?” tell them that you’ll be happy to disclose that number once both parties have concluded that they would be a good fit for each other.

    I also like the idea of giving a number (or percentage) but following it up with the statement that money isn’t the only form of compensation that you’re you’d consider. Vacation days, stock options, bonuses, work from home, tuition reimbusrment etc. can all be used to come up with the final “compensation package”.

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