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How Should You Negotiate Salary in a Job Interview?

Waving at someone you think you know but actually don’t, saying goodbye to someone then realizing you both are going the same way, hitting “reply all” on an email you meant for only the sender to receive, going in for a hug when the other person wants a handshake, these are definitely some of life’s more awkward moments. It’s safe to say you can add discussing salary during an interview to this list.

So before you don your go-to interview outfit, make sure you heed these tips to make it a seamless topic of discussion.

Know Your Value

Not only should you do the research when it comes to the job role itself, but you should know the going rate for the industry and geographic area you’re interviewing. Knowing your worth as an employee is equally as important as the skills you bring to the role. Walk into the interview, and possible salary negotiation, with a number in mind.

Know an Exact Number

Speaking of salary, having an exact number in mind works, it’s science. While you’re doing the research to determine your value, it’s most likely that you will come up with a range. Having a specific number picked out from this range shows the employer that you truly did your homework. Bonus tip: Pick a number at the top of your range to allow for negotiation wiggle room.

Know the Importance of Recruiters

This would be an extension of your research, so pick up those phone calls you receive from a recruiter. They have the best idea of what someone with your background and expertise deserves, and are extremely well-versed in what you can expect throughout the interview process. Lean on recruiters for the Intel to best prepare yourself.

Know the Talking Points

Enter the interview with an idea of how to present your results from previous roles, your years of experience, and the skills or certifications you have. Also, come into the interview with a list of questions you have about the role and/or company. Bring these up when the opportunities present themselves, don’t feel like you have to wait until the end of the interview to broach the topics. You might not be leading the discussion, but you’re an active participant and therefore can control the flow of conversation as much as the interviewer.

Know When to Say “Pass”

If you’re asked the salary question early on in the interview process, don’t feel like you have to answer that right away. Counter with asking more specifics about the job duties or the actual company first. You should have a clear picture of what this potential position includes and what you should expect when stepping into the company.

Know How to Present Yourself

It’s all about expressing a mixture of gratitude and confidence. You would have a different impression if someone walked into the room with their head down and body slouched vs. if someone walked in looking up at you and extending their hand for an introduction. Employers want to hire someone who is comfortable with being confident and grateful for the interview opportunity.

Discussing salary might feel unnatural, but it’s a natural part of the interview process. So when you do it the right way and prepare appropriately, it shouldn’t be as awkward as a middle school dance.


Meta tag Description: Discussing salary in a job interview can be awkward, but these tips should help you voice your worth and get the number you’re looking for, even if some of these tips are more outside the box from what you would think.

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