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Negotiating Offers

What to say or do in negotiations!

What if an employer asks for your salary requirement or history in a want ad or job posting?

  • Avoid the salary issue altogether. Ignore the request for salary requirement/history.
  • Say your salary requirement is negotiable.
  • State your current salary and say your requirement is negotiable.
  • Say you are earning market value for someone in your field. Or you expect to earn market value for someone with your educational background.
  • Give a range in which the low-end figure is 10 percent above your current salary.

If you don’t give a salary requirement, you may receive a salary-screening phone call:

  • Politely ask what salary range they’re considering for the position:  “I know we don’t want to waste each other’s time if we’re way far apart on salary. May I ask you, though, what is the range you’re considering at this time for the position?”
  • If they won’t give you a range and won’t schedule the interview unless you give your salary range, respond this way: “Depending on the management philosophy of the company, overtime hours required, training and support available, medical and dental benefits, commuting and travel time, how well it fits with my long term career goals and opportunity for advancement, bonuses, commissions, and other profit-sharing type compensation, my salary expectations range from $XX to $YY. [Give a VERY WIDE range.] I’m free [X day and time] for an interview. Which time would work for you?”

How to handle the early discussion of salary and compensation in a job interview:

Employer: “I assume you’ve seen our advertised salary range. Are you willing to accept a salary within that range?”

Option One: Delaying Tactics

Job-Seeker: “I applied for this position because I am very interested in the job and your company, and I know I can make an immediate impact once on the job, but I’d like to table salary discussions until we are both sure I’m right for the job.”

Employer: “What would it take for you to accept a job offer with us?”
Non-specific response
Job-Seeker: “As long as you pay a fair market value, and the responsibilities fit my skill level, we’ll have no problem.”


Job-Seeker: “I feel my salary should be based on the responsibilities of the job and the standards of the industry.”

Employer: “If you were to receive a job offer from us, would you accept it?”

Option Two: Throw it Back to the Employer

Job-Seeker: “While I am very interested in the job and the company, it really depends on the offer. What would a person with my background, skills, and qualifications typically earn in this position with your company?”

Employer offers a salary raise in the middle of the interview: Be sure to thank the employer for the offer, but be non-committal.

Situation One: The salary range is acceptable

Job-Seeker: “I really appreciate the confidence you have in making this job offer to me. I want to bring my talents and skills to work for this organization. Those figures you mentioned are within my expected starting range, depending on the entire salary and benefits package.”

Situation Two: Only the top of the salary range is acceptable

Job-Seeker: “Thanks so much for asking me to be a part of your team. I know my unique mix of skills and abilities will be a great benefit to the organization. Based upon my research and/or what I’ve been discussing with other companies that are currently interested, I would have to say that only the upper end of that range would be acceptable.”

Situation Three: The entire salary range is unacceptable

Job-Seeker: “Thank you so much for the offer. I want to bring my skills and talents to your organization. Based upon my research I would have to say that I would anticipate a salary somewhat higher than that range and/or the other companies I am currently speaking with are considering me at a salary somewhat higher than that range. Of course, money is only one element, and I will be evaluating each overall package.”

Situation Four: The interviewer doesn’t give a salary range

Employer: “We want to get you onboard. What kind of salary would it take for you to accept a position with us?”

Job-Seeker: “From my research, $X is around the base level for salary for this type of position. Considering my experience or expertise in (what do you have that the company values or what can you contribute and how will be benefit the company), I believe I’m worth mid-range, say $Y to $Z. What can you do in that area?”

Employer raises salary at the end of the interview (it means the employer is very interested in hiring you):

Option One: “I’m ready to consider your best offer.”

Option Two: “I would encourage you to make the formal offer. What is most important is the opportunity to work for you and your company. I am confident your offer will be competitive.”

When the Official Salary Offer is Made

  • Start with enthusiasm: “Thanks so much for asking me to be a part of your team. I know my unique mix of skills and abilities will be a great benefit to the organization.”
  • Ask by when they need a decision, if you need more time, negotiate this immediately!
  • Ask for offer in writing if not offered. End with enthusiasm.

Let the negotiation begin!

Depending on timeline, after the initial offer call is made, call back after the initial written offer has arrived and ask questions that have not yet been answered (if not found via research, discussed in interview, or part of the offer letter and materials) and that are of interest/concern to you.

  • How have past market trends affected the company’s growth and progress?
  • What decreases in productivity and employee layoffs has the company experienced within the past three years?
  • What production and employee cutbacks do you anticipate in the future, and how will they affect this position?
  • When did the company last reorganize, and how did that reorganization affect this position?
  • When do you project the next re-organization of this company, and how do you believe it will affect this position?
  • Will compensation time or pay be given for weekend responsibilities and overtime?
  • Are performance and salary reviews based on standard raises for all employees or determined by individual performance?
  • How often are performance and salary reviews conducted?
  • How does the company recognize, evaluate, and reward outstanding employees?
  • What standards will the company use to evaluate my contributions, productivity and effectiveness?
  • What is the salary range for this position?
  • What is the hiring range for this position?
  • Do you ever pay higher than that range? If so, for what reasons?
  • What kind of salary progression would be expected in the first three to five years?  OR What is the average increase being given? After one year? Two years? Three years?
  • What are the promotional opportunities of this position? To what position/level? OR Based on my maximum productivity, how long do you foresee me fulfilling this position, and what are the possible titles and responsibilities I might assume when my position changes?
  • Does the company have an official policy on internal promotions?
  • What potential career paths within the company might someone entering this position pursue?
  • What is the complete compensation package for an employee at my level?