what to say when you negotiate salary

A reader writes:

I just went back over your archive for salaries and read all the posts regarding initial salary negotiation. I’ve also read a bunch of stuff about women not negotiating at all when hired — or appearing to seem too aggressive when they do ask. I am willing to negotiate for a salary increase during the hiring process, but I’m nervous about saying the right thing.

Could you suggest a couple of phrases that have seemed really good in your experience for asking for more money in salary negotiations? I’m assuming that anything I say should address things like “I’ve received increasing responsibilities since my initial hire at my last job,” “I’ve received excellent performance reviews,” “I’ve spoken at X and Y national conferences and have been well-received,” “You can see from my record I’ve excelled in A and B tasks,” etc. But I just can’t think of a good turn of phrase to condense all of this into something that politely and firmly says “I have a proven record of being awesome at what I do and I think I’m worth more money.” Your help would be appreciated in this!

Actually, those aren’t quite the phrases you want to use. Those are the sorts of things that should have come out during the interview process itself (and believe me, no one is going to pay you more for having been well-received at conferences). By the time you get to salary negotiations, they should already think you’re great and at this stage you’re just working out the exact dollar amount you’re worth.

As for how to do that, I recently received a letter that does a really good job of explaining precisely what to say, so I’ll let this reader take it from here:

Thanks in part to your advice, in two weeks I’ll be starting a new job that I couldn’t be more excited about. The people seem beyond lovely, the responsibilities are exactly in line with my skills and interest, and there is definite growth potential.

I did have a hard time finding a lot of information on the internet on what precisely a successful salary negotiation should look like, and so I thought I would offer my experience in case it helped your readers. I have a background in sales, so that definitely helped me, but the basics of this are not that hard to adapt.

My to-be manager called, extended an offer, and I expressed how genuinely excited I was to hear the news, but also said that I hoped the salary would be higher. I suggested I would review HR’s official offer and call back. I think this accomplished a few things: I established that I’m enthusiastic about working there, and warned them that I would be negotiating salary without having to jump into it right there on the phone–in a hot car, with a barking dog–when neither of us were overly prepared to have that discussion.

In any event, after HR emailed me the official offer, I called my to-be manager with a few questions and then jumped into the salary negotiation part. Here’s what I said: “As I suggested during our last conversation, I was hoping the salary would be higher. I’m really excited about the prospect of working for your company, so I’m willing to be flexible, but the number I had in mind was $XX. I think I’m worth this because of A, B, and C value I will bring to the company.”

It’s important to adapt this to your own style, but a few things: Don’t make $XX the number you are actually aiming for. Negotiations very often wind up as a compromise, so I offered a number that placed my goal as that midpoint. (i.e. If they offer you $25K and you want $50K then you ask for $75K, although obviously these numbers are exaggerated.) Also, as you’ve said before, you’re not negotiating because you have a high mortgage or love buying designer shoes. You want to offer (in my opinion a brief) statement about your *value* for them.

After you make your counter offer, STOP TALKING. Even if you are nervous, bite your tongue. You might feel uncomfortable because you really want this job and want them to see you as a “nice person” or “team player.” Negotiating does not make you a mean person or selfish; stop talking at this point. In this case, my to-be manager expressed some hesitation, but said he’d talk to upper management. When he got back to me at the end of the day, their counter offer was exactly the mid-point I was aiming for, plus a few additional perks I had not even asked for!

Anyway, please don’t feel obligated to post this, but I’m sending along the story in case it helps those who’ve never negotiated have a bit more confidence about what it can look like before taking the plunge.

Me again. This is all excellent advice, but I especially want to emphasize the STOP TALKING point. It’s really hard to do, but it’s key.

Thank you to this reader for providing such an awesome template for how this works.

Update: More great advice in the comments. If you don’t normally read them, make sure you do this time.

{ 188 comments… read them below }

  1. Laura*

    Thank you! Two salary negotiation posts in one day, and I am right in the stage where I need help with this. I am a new grad and am about to enter the negotiation process. The figure I want is in their range, just at the higher end, and based on unique skills I have, I may have a good chance at it.

    Any additional tips? I don’t even know how the process goes….like who says what when.

    In addition, I have been reading a lot about “salary negotiation letters” online. Is this a “thing”? Do you negotiate with a letter? What is that?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author


      Them: We’d like to offer you the job. The salary is $45,000.

      You: I’m really excited for the job. However … (this is where the second OP’s script would start)

      If they don’t bring up salary when making an offer (strange, but it happens), then you say: What salary did you have in mind?

      Salary negotiation letters: Not in any industry I know of, although it’s possible that there’s some random industry that does this (government?).

      1. Laura*

        I hadn’t heard of salary negotiation letters either, except in googling for salary negotiation advice, one link mentioned it. So I googled the term and there are thousands of hits with sample letters. I read some of them, and they are almost exactly what y’all mention to do verbally, but just written down.

        I also worked at an internship once and one of the full time employees asked for a raise by writing a letter. So I thought maybe this is the way things are done. Good to know!

        1. Al*

          When I took my first Athletic training position out of grad school, the company I worked for did the salary letter. They still do as far as I know, I’ve left there for other reasons but the letter was the final offer, they don’t negotiate. Period.

            1. Laura*

              Yeah, offer letters with salary are usually letters. I meant specifically a letter in which you say “Dear XX, I appreciate your offer of 45k , but I think I deserve 50 k for the following reasons…”

              Seems crazy, but I was just surprised by the amount of templates online for this letter or services offering to help you write your negotiation letter.

              1. Stryker*

                There’s a lot of weird interview advice around, too, like not mentioning a salary ever, even when asked directly…

                (Though I’m glad someone asked this, because I was wondering the same thing and found the same letter templates! lol)

    2. ITforMe*

      I have never heard of a letter. If that’s something you’ve been hearing, I’d love to know where.

      My suggestion is that, no matter what they offer, bite your tongue and count to five. That will convey a lot on its own. Then, you can follow with something like “That’s a little lower than I was hoping for. Would you consider $XX?”

      You are a new grad, so you may not have a ton of leverage, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The type of manager who would revoke a job offer because you tried to negotiate is not the type of manager you want to work for.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes! Other phases that are good:

        “Do you have any flexibility on the salary? I’d had something closer to $X in mind.”

        “If you were able to do $X, I’d be thrilled to accept.” (This works best when X isn’t too far off their original offer.)

        1. Not Unsocial Manager*

          There’s a nuance in the way the ‘reader’ opened the negotiation about salary. The reader opens the discussion with a simple statement of his desires. It’s worded in a way that requires the employer to respond with something other than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – to actually have a conversation. Of course, it’s possible the employer’s side of the conversation will go, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any room to negotiate and this is our final offer. I hope you understand.”

          But, don’t give them an easy out by asking a question in a way that lets them just say ‘no.’

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I’m not sure it makes a ton of difference, to be honest. It’s just as easy to say “sorry we can’t do that” if it’s phrased as a statement rather than a question … but the most important thing is finding language that you’re willing to use to speak up!

    3. Ggh*

      In my experience since you’re a new grad they pretty much only give you the lower range. You have no work or salary experience to draw your argument points from. Most companies don’t really seem to count internships for much (I had 5 during my undergrad so I was pretty peeved when I discovered that, but I’ve worked in hr and it’s pretty standard in my experience). I have helped to hire new grads and mostly hiring managers seem to brush off their negotiations as them simply not knowing what to do when entering the workforce.

        1. Laura*

          Thanks! Well they only take new grads for this position. The flat out told me the range is for new grads, and how much you get in the range is based on skills you have (computer skills) and internship experiences.

          1. Anonymous*

            I negotiated as a new grad. I only got $500/yr higher, but hey, it was something! And I think it actually impressed my boss a little – he’s big into getting a good deal.

    4. MaRay*

      I was in this same situation, I recently graduated from college and had just received my first job offer. During the interview, she had mentioned a range of about $5,000 and ended up offering right in the middle at $2,500. Since she had mentioned the range I thought it would be appropriate to ask for the higher end of it.

      However, once I made my request, I received a response that said they would “Instead seek another candidate.” They had rescinded the job offer because they were offended that I asked for more.

      My advice is just to make sure you think about the risk of asking for more, and only ask if you feel that you are really being undercut. Also- be VERY CAREFUL with your choice of words. You do not want to offend them

      1. some guy*

        I was in process of hiring a college grad once. He had related experience, good grades, etc. I offered X, he asked for Z, I countered with Y. When he insisted on Z, I rescinded the offer. I was not offended that he asked for more. His persistence led me to believe that money was too high on his priority list and he was not that good of a fit after all.

          1. Jamie*

            Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one not ashamed to admit it’s #1 on my priority list. Sure, other things are important but none of that matters without the money. Money is the whole point – I don’t work because I can’t find anything else to do with my time.

        1. some other guy*

          let me get this straight..you weren’t offended that he asked for more but you were clearly bothered by his persistence to ask for more? You never said anything about is he worth the price he was asking for? Who knows from what you said your counter Y was still low-balling the guy?

      2. Melissa*

        I actually think it’s pretty uncommon for managers to rescind the offer completely just for the candidate negotiating, unless the request was outrageous. Negotiating for a better salary is pretty standard.

  2. Lisa*

    Allison, could you elaborate more on “Nobody will pay you more for having been well-received at conferences?” I love speaking at conferences and have found they bring value to my company, especially because our marketing is done on a shoestring (read: no) budget, so a conference speaking gig puts us in front of people we want to connect with for just the cost of travel. I keynoted alongside two big names at a niche conference that led to recruitment of contacts who helped us execute on a multi-million dollar deal related to the topic of the conference.

    Is something like that really considered to be of minimal or no value to companies, or are you saying that it’s a job qualification rather than a salary barometer?

    1. Blue Dog*

      Speaking is great for the publicity and the gravitas that it gives your firm. However, that is long-term, institutional benefit. I would focus more on, “I was the keynote speaker at this conference and, thereafter, landed two new accounts.” You should try to focus on something that resulted from the conference that is immediate and tangible. And, in fact, the more tangible the better. While landing “two new accounts” is good; landing “two new accounts that generated $50,000 in business” is much much better.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For certain roles, it could be a qualification, definitely. But it would be rare for it to be something that helps you get a higher salary, unless it’s couched in terms of very specific things that you can/will do to raise the company’s profile (and which they’re prioritizing themselves — which isn’t always the case). But just mentioning that you’ve done well speaking at conferences isn’t likely to excite anyone.

      1. Steve G*

        This struck a chord with me. I sometimes have to travel to represent my company at regulatory meetings and I never in a million years would correlate that with an increase in pay. Among other reasons, I would get a “if you don’t want to do it then don’t do it, we thought you’d like the exposure….” response (even without saying I didn’t want to do it).

        Even with regularly making us extra money, it doesn’t always translate into an immediate, impressive raise.

    3. Josh S*

      It probably depends on your industry. A lot of companies in my industry (market research/consumer insights) basically expect that you will be enough of a subject matter expert at a certain point that you WILL be called on to present or sit on panels at conferences, or similarly, to give quotes to press or write articles. It’s not a perk, it’s an expectation.

      But that’s not really your question. You want to know why it doesn’t make sense to say, “I’ve been well-received at conferences, so give me more money.” The reason is that you should be highlighting your value to the company, not to some conference attendee.

      So you could say, instead, “I believe I deserve $XX because I have the expertise and ability to represent the company well at conferences, AND Reason2, AND Reason3.” (But only if being represented at conferences is something the company would value.)

  3. Anonymous*

    Great post on salary negotiations! Quick question, though:

    “I think I’m worth this because of A, B, and C value I will bring to the company.”

    Could you give an example of the A, B, or C? I would have said something like the “proven track record” statement from the OP, but it seems like you and the 2nd reader are saying to state what you will accomplish in the future?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You want to fill that in with things that add extra value, not things that are the basic qualifications for the position. For instance, the first letter-writer’s example of getting excellent performance evaluations — that’s not really a bonus to the employer; they expect they’re hiring someone who has done excellent work. So that might help you become the candidate they want to hire in the first place, but it’s not going to be a reason to pay you extra money.

      Better things are things that are above-and-beyond what they’re seeking. For instance, if you have expertise in a statistics program that isn’t required but will be really helpful to them, you might mention that. Or if it’s a communications position and you have an unusually good network of press contacts (unusually good, not just good — since good is probably a basic requirement for the job). That kind of thing — something that elevates you above the basic profile they had in mind for the person they’d hire for the role.

      1. ITforMe*

        And again, this may be something where less is more. You don’t necessarily have to even give them a reason you want more. Just ask for more. Many hiring managers are expecting negotiation, and thus offer toward the low end of the range to begin with.

        Now, if you ask, and they say no, that’s a whole other conversation, but you don’t have to fall all over yourself making justifications for the initial ask (I would, however, have a few reasons at the ready if they ask).

    2. kac*

      2nd OP here. So glad some people found this helpful.

      In my instance, I have an unusual combination of prior experiences that perfectly suits this position and I know they are excited about that. You’re not trotting out new info as you would in an interview. Rather, think about why they are hiring you specifically, and use that in your ‘value statement.’

  4. Catherine*

    The “stop talking” tactic works wonders. I finally had a conversation with my boss yesterday about a promotion, and I stopped talking at certain points, which is usually quite difficult for me, and just waited for his response. It really drove my points home, it makes what you are saying more matter-of-fact.

    1. Jamie*

      I learned this at my first job. My boss (mentor extraordinaire) coached me that the owner of the company (who was coming by to personally offer me a promotion) was the king of the stop talking technique.

      I was told that he enjoyed the long awkward silences as people generally start talking to fill the dead air and trip themselves up. Knowing this I met stop talking with stop talking and it worked well.

      I’ve used this lesson in countless situations since and rumor has it I’m not the reigning expert in deliberate silences.

  5. Anonymous*

    This is utterly unrelated and unimportant, but I’m constantly annoyed by the page jump when the ads in the right column load. I have about superfast Internet connection here, but I’m already happily reading away and then finally that Seagram’s ad loads and makes the page redraw. I should probably just give the page a minute or so to sort itself out!

    1. Anonymous*

      Ads? Why do you let ads load in this day and age? Unless you’re a shopaholic and you must have them, get a browser add-on that blocks most of the advertisements.

        1. Anonymous*

          I prefer to buy your book instead. Too many of the ads (internet-wide) are scams or attack vectors for me to justify accepting the harmless ones from decent people like you, and I would never buy anything from them at this point. If the rest of the internet cleans up its act, then I might reconsider. Until then, merchandise is how I support sites that I like.

    2. EM*

      Yeah, it bugs me too. I’ve learned to let the page (plus ads!) load completely and then start reading. I appreciate that the ads on this blog are fairly unobtrusive, unlike other blogs I read (*ahem* Corporette).

      1. Sophie*

        It doesn’t happen for me either. I use Mozilla Firefox with Windows. Although we do have a fast internet connection here.

        1. Jamie*

          Firefox with windows here, too, and it’s never happened to me. It does happen on my iPad – but I just let it load all the way before I start reading and it’s not a problem.

          I do find it amusing that one of your ads is for a vendor I use often, and it always populates with the stuff I’ve recently purchased. They should show me other stuff, because I know I want that stuff…I just bought it! :)

  6. ITforMe*

    A couple of things to add about negotiating:

    1) The third-party recruiter discussion the other day ties directly to this. If you go through a recruiter, they can often give you a better idea of your negotiating position: what they’ve given past candidates, how strong of a #1 choice you are, etc. If they are getting a cut of your salary in payment, they want you to get as much as possible. On the other hand, the last thing they want is for the deal to fall through. So, they may coach you to take something lower than you want, because that’s the only way they get paid at all.

    2) Remember that you can negotiate things other than salary. Vacation time is the most obvious, but especially in large companies, things like cell phone reimbursement, flexible hours, etc. may all be on the table.

    3) The party that can walk away has all of the power. If you ask for something higher, but you really have no fall-back option, don’t expect to get a ton.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      “3) The party that can walk away has all of the power.”

      This, this, this. I am paid pretty highly for what I do, and I HATE negotiating. The way I’ve managed it is to set expectations from the beginning. I’ve told hiring managers (politely, of course) that I’d prefer not to interview if the salary I was looking for was not a possibility. But this only works when they’re the ones who have called you, not the other way around.

    2. Natalie*

      Regarding #2, I negotiated job classification when I was promoted – the position was classified as exempt (no overtime) but with the raise being offered I didn’t feel it was worth giving up my right to earn overtime. So they reclassed it as non-exempt and I got the raise.

  7. RV*

    What if you offered a salary at the outset that you are generally happy with and think is fair? Are you leaving money on the table by taking it? Will they think less of you if you don’t negotiate at all?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Employers often expect that you’re going to try to negotiate; I’m always a little surprised when someone doesn’t. I don’t think less of them, but I do wonder why they didn’t. (Not like “eeewww, what’s wrong with this person?” but more like “huh, that was easy.”)

      I tend to think that you should pretty much always ask for at least a bit more, because often you’ll get it. (And it’s usually easier to get more money at this stage than after you’ve been working there a while and ask for a raise.)

      1. Charles*

        Would this still be true when dealing with an agency (not the company directly) that states, up front, the salary is X, are you okay with that?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Murkier. It can be obnoxious to ask for more when you already basically agreed … but if you’re only asking for a bit more (not like a 20% difference or something), I think you can do it.

          1. Anonymous*

            in those situations, you can also say something like “that’s in a range I’m comfortable with, but I’ll know for sure once I learn more about the position.” that way if you do want to push for more money, you can refer to the additional details you learned during the interview as evidence that the job will be more demanding (or that your contribution to the company is uniquely valuable).

            1. Charles*

              Actually, that is pretty much what I do now. Most still seem to be a bit “miffed” that I don’t just flat out accept what they mentioned before interviewing, etc.

      2. Kristinyc*

        I’ve had this happen with every job I’ve gotten except for one. For 3 jobs I’ve had, the salary was actually a little more than I wanted, so I didn’t try to negotiate.

        For the other job – I was working with a recruiter, and the offer was on the low end of the range (and only about $6k more than my previous job, which was kind of ridiculous given the cost of living in the location of the new job). I asked the recruiter if it was negotiable, and he acted as if they’d retract the offer if I tried to negotiate.

        I had the same situation with my current job (through a certain terrible recruiter who has been written about here before; he said not to negotiate), but I was okay with the initial offer anyway.

        Is this a recruiter thing? Since their commission is usually a percentage of the salary, I would think they’d want to get us a higher salary. Or do companies pay them to try to get cheaper employees?

        1. ITforMe*

          I just posted on this below. They will tell you “oh, I get a cut, I want you to get as much as possible” but what they are really thinking is “if this deal falls through, I get nothing”.

          I think a similar phenomenon was discussed in Freakanomics w/r/t realtors.

          1. Anonymous*

            Exactly re: Freakonomics. The amount that they get for the time it takes to negotiate something higher isn’t worth that cost.

      3. ChristineH*

        I’m glad RV asked this because I was wondering the same thing.

        You just gave me a thought: If you do accept the salary offered without negotiating, is there a possibility that an employer might unfavorably take advantage of your agreeability? I’m sure 9 times out of 10 the answer is probably “no”, but I’d be afraid of opening myself up to problems down the road, at least in terms of wages and benefits, because I tend to accept things without really questioning it, mainly because I don’t have a ton of work experience to draw from.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t know if I’m typical in this, but I tend not to remember who does and doesn’t negotiate salary after a few months have gone by (unless they tried to negotiate a huge increase, which is notable).

          1. Sheila M*

            How much is too much? I got a job offering 51K, I’m making 70K. Should I ask for 70K? OR is that too much?

            1. Jamie*

              JMO – but those are pretty different salary ranges. If you want to negotiate 27% increase I’d think you’d have to have some pretty strong ammo in your corner – either that the job is way below market or you are exceptional.

              Either way, that’s a LOT to expect them to bend on.

              My rule of thumb, which is totally unscientific and may be completely wrong, but is 10K. I would feel comfortable negotiating in good faith +10K from their offer – unless they said earlier that it was firm.

    2. Josh S*

      It depends?

      The capitalist in me says that it ALWAYS makes sense to negotiate a salary if you can. The human being in me says that if they offer me what I was hoping for (or more), I should take it.

      I don’t think you can HURT yourself by negotiating, so … go for it!

      It’s possible that they would think less of you if you don’t negotiate, but the lack of negotiation (particularly among women) is pretty common, so probably not a big thing.

      And then, there’s always the possibility that you’ll try to negotiate and they’ll just say, “That offer is firm and we can’t move from it.” At which point you’ve just confirmed that you haven’t left anything on the table.

      1. ITforMe*

        I recently took a contract where the hiring manager (who knew me from prior work) said something like “I know you well enough to know that you won’t leave a dime on the table, so I’m going to come out with my best offer right off the bat”. She then offered more than the number I had in my head, and I took it. I really think that I couldn’t have gotten more, and given her candor, it would have seemed pretty nasty to ask for more.

        1. Josh S*

          Contract + Prior history + Better than you were hoping for + Candor in the process = Perfectly fine to accept the initial offer (IMO)

          Do you have any regrets?

          1. ITforMe*

            No, not at all. I was just agreeing with your statement that “it depends”. I generally tell people it can’t hurt to ask for more, even if it is higher than you would settle for, but confounding factors can sometimes change the equation.

            1. Anonymous*

              I had the exact same situation. My current boss is an old boss and I know he gave me the best offer he could. He actually twisted HR’s elbow quite a bit, so I accepted the first offer.

              I would not normally do this, but he has always done right by me (and all of his employees).

              1. Liz*

                I was the same. I fully trusted my boss to deal fairly with me, and I knew he’d offer as much as he could (I’d worked for him before). The fact that even the bottom of the range was going to be a decent salary jump was a bonus.

      2. utahkay*

        Just the wording “the lack of negotiation (particularly among women) is pretty common” makes me think it IS a big thing. I believe it is VERY important for me to negotiate, because the default assumption will be, since I’m a woman, that I should just take what’s offered me. I need to build up lots of data points to overcome that assumption – in case I get the job and end up working for this person long term.

  8. Paul*

    Looking for salary negotiation advice also!
    I am a new grad working at an internship. I have been told my internship will transitioned into a full-time permanent position, and salary information will come soon.

    I know the range, and I want the higher end of it. I have proven myself in the internship phase. I could probably talk for 30 minutes about all the things I did that were above and beyond (not directly in job description), but my manager probably knows. Is it best to keep it simple? “I was hoping for more of 30k salary because of the fact I did A, B, and C” or should I really elaborate and bring specifics to his attention. I assume he knows what I have been up to, but who knows.

    If they dont’ budge on salary, where else can I get them to budge? I dont’ think this is an industry with signing bonuses (advertising), but maybe it is? Their vacation policy is extremely standardized so no wiggle room there.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      As a new grad, I wouldn’t try to get them to negotiate anything but salary. You don’t have a ton of negotiating power at this point, and perks are usually more for more in-demand/experienced workers. (Sorry for assuming you’re not in-demand; it just tends to be the case when you’re early in your career.)

    2. ITforMe*

      One place to look would be any sort of perks that they offer to employees who have been there X amount of time. You may be able to get them to count your internship towards years of service for such things. Probably not health insurance (as that is governed by their contract with a third party), but if, for example, they offer tuition reimbursement or a health club membership for anyone who has been there at least a year, you can ask them to start counting from the first day of your internship.

  9. Anonymous*

    Can you or the second reader suggest a good strategy for negotiating other perks in lieu of a higher salary?

    I’m cautiously expecting an offer in the near future. Based on a previous conversation with an HR rep where I narrowly managed to avoid getting trapped negotiating salary with HR (instead of the hiring manager) for an offer I didn’t even yet have, I think their pre-approved budgeted range tops out only $2-3k below where I’d like to be. The HR rep also indicated that depending on how strong the other candidates are, the hiring managers may or may not be able to go over the pre-approved budgeted range.

    In the event their budget is firm, I’m open to negotiating other perks instead of a higher salary. In particular, being able to work remotely one day a week would be worth a $2-3k pay cut to me, since it’d save me upwards of 45 hours each year in commute time, allow me to take care of household chores while I’m working, and give me more time home with my family and pets. I know I would start with something like, “I understand that your range for this position is firm, but truthfully I was anticipating a slightly higher salary. That said, I’m excited about this opportunity and hope we can work out something that will fit within your budget while meeting my needs.” Then it ends with something like, “In lieu of the salary I requested, I’d be satisfied to accept the salary you offered along with an arrangement to work remotely one day per week.”

    Should there be a transition sentence between those parts? Something like, “I’m taking into consideration the entire benefits package when calculating my requirements,” or should I just jump right to my proposal? Should I include a pre-emptive caveat like, “I understand if there needs to be an initial period while I’m still training and learning my new role where I would come to the office five days a week,” or does that fall under “stop talking” and see if the company says that?

    On a related note, would asking for a regular telework arrangement up front be seen as a negative? Another possible perk I considered negotiating for is increased vacation time. An extra week of vacation would be worth a $2-3k pay cut to me (and a good deal for the company, since a week’s pay would be significantly less than the $2-3k I’m after). Would the employer be more likely to negotiate vacation time than a telework arrangement? Or might it be more easy to negotiate vacation time now and ask for telework after being hired, whereas it’s less likely to be possible to negotiate additional vacation time after hiring?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I wouldn’t word it as “In lieu of the salary I requested, I’d be satisfied to accept the salary you offered along with an arrangement to work remotely one day per week,” which is very … formal or something. Instead, I’d say something like “Since we’re a little bit apart on salary, would you be open to me working remotely one day a week?” I don’t think you need a transition beyond what you have here. Less tends to be better; don’t overcomplicate it.

      I think it’s fine to ask for this up-front if the role lends itself to it.

    2. AdAgencyChick*

      I strongly suspect it’s easier to get a week’s vacation than a telecommuting arrangement, mostly because the latter is more visible to other employees. (Of course they will notice you’re gone when you’re on vacation, but I don’t think most people keep a running tally and remember how much time everyone in the office gets.) Which may not mean you won’t get it, but it does mean that the hiring manager may be thinking, “If I give her what she’s asking for, then Bob, Fred, and Janie might ask for the same thing.”

      Whatever you do, if you successfully negotiate something like this, GET IT IN WRITING. It’s far too easy for people to change their minds. One job I worked at when I was a recent grad said that I could telecommute one day a week during the off-season. This worked for the first few months I was there, but come the next off-season, when I reminded my boss I’d be telecommuting one day a week again, she said oh, no, no, no, that’s not okay, and she couldn’t possibly have agreed to that. Again, I suspect it’s easier to hold onto an extra week of vacation than it is to keep a telecommuting benefit. Suppose you get a new boss — he or she might say, “This arrangement doesn’t work for me.” But it’s harder to deny extra vacation that’s in your offer letter and that probably involves some kind of confirmation from an HR department.

      1. Tel*

        Ugh, that happened to my in a job. The person who hired me allowed me to leave early two days a week. Well, the person left the company and the new boss said I couldn’t do this.

        Another co-worker who had a similar arrangement (she could come in later in the day) was able to keep those hours because she had an offer in writing from many years back and when the new boss confronted her, she simply brought a copy of it to the office and the boss backed off.

        The new boss turned out to be an alcoholic and a bully with huge issues, by the way, and got canned but after that I was never able to regain my hours. Sad, but true.

    3. kac*

      2nd OP here. I think you’re using too many words/addressing the situation a bit too formally, which is usually a sign that you’re nervous or unsure of yourself. That’s understandable, but I’d encourage you to mask that by being as direct as possible. (This is related to the stop talking rule– less is more.)

      Also, if you’d like to telecommute occasionally and/or get extra vacation, consider asking for both. Remember, you always want to shoot a little higher than your goal, because you’ll probably wind up in the middle.

  10. Anonymous*

    I just had my first salary negotiation. I ended up doing it via email, because the fellow I was talking with happened to be traveling. I suspect that in general, it’s better to do this negotiation in person or by phone, but I have to admit that doing it via email took some of the anxiety out of it on my side. I was terrified going into it, and I wasn’t even sure if I should negotiate – it’s a position where negotiation is usually not expected, and the offer was already on the high end of the normal compensation spectrum for the job.

    I expressed enthusiasm, then I said that after reviewing the offer, I’d like to negotiate the salary and I’m hoping for $X. I cited the three best things I bring to the table for them, and I told them I was open to discussing it further.

    Email was a saving grace here, because it gave me a chance to review my phrasing to death and completely cut out a longer section on why I wanted more money to take on this job that is completely irrelevant to the employer (stuff about risk-vs-reward of the position, lack of an expected retirement benefit, etc.). I think keeping it simple helped.

    When they got back to me the next day, they actually gave me more than I asked for. I have no idea what’s up with that – maybe it was some inter-office politics, maybe it was pity money and they’re having a good laugh at me low-balling myself, maybe they’re really worried that I’ll walk away, maybe they just want to impress me. Regardless, I was thrilled and did a happy dance, and I will try extra-hard to prove to them that I’m worth it once I start. Consider my initial moral through-the-roof.

    1. ITforMe*

      What is up with that?

      1) They have it in the budget and want you to be really excited about the position


      2) Their salary ranges are monthly so they rounded up to some kind of round monthly number, which looks like a weird annual number (e.g. you asked for 50 K, and they gave you 50,400 so it’s an even 4200/month).


      3) They matched the salary of someone currently in the position

      or any number of other things, but it happens more than you’d expect.

      1. Anonymous*

        Just for my own edification, why do some companies care about what the monthly number looks like? It seems like an odd thing to worry about. If an employee wants $13,000 per year but you round it up to $13,200 just for the sake of having prettier numbers in your ledger each month, haven’t you just decided that consecutive zeros are worth hundreds of dollars to you?

        1. Lesley*

          I had the opposite issue once: My annual raise took me up to $29,895, and my boss could NOT convince accounting/HR that $105 dollars annually would be a worthy investment because just hitting that next pretty round number would be a moral booster.

        2. Anonymous*

          My salary is $54,450, because the “market rate” for my position was determined to be $60,500 (not sure why it didn’t get rounded down to and even 10k or up to an even 1k, but whatever), and they started me at 90% of market rate (this was a complete department and skillset change for me, and gives me room to grow into the salary as my skills grow). I don’t know why they couldn’t round my annual salary up to 55k or down to 54k, either, but whatever. My company quotes salaries on annual (not monthly) terms, though even salary exempt people see it calculated as an hourly rate on their paycheck (they just have an even number of total hours per paycheck instead of varied). But needless to say, neither my monthly, per-paycheck, nor hourly income are even numbers, either. :-)

        3. millefolia*

          I have an odd-seeming annual salary (instead of making $X,000/year I make $X,008/year). It’s because I’m officially paid hourly, and $X,000/year would come to an hourly wage that ends in a fraction of a penny. Rounding to the closest whole penny added $8/year.

  11. Ashely*

    Is there a certain percentage you should shoot for when negotiating salary? Something like 10% more than what they suggest, or a certain amount per year? I guess what I’m really asking is how much is too much to ask for over their initial offer?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it really depends on the job, field, and specific company. Not helpful, I realize.

      I mean, asking for 30% more is an awful lot, but I’ve seen situations where it was reasonable, and others where it would have been ridiculous.

    2. Anonymous*

      If you have no clue what to ask, then realize that a 3% increase is the current “standard” yearly raise, in so much as any raise is standard. The standard US inflation rate is about 3.3%, for comparison, though right now it’s at 1.7%.

      This means that if you ask for about 1.03*base salary, you’re roughly asking for a year’s raise in most industries. If you expect them to negotiate you down, but you want 1 year’s worth of a raise, then you ask for base*1.06 and figure they’ll settle somewhere near base*1.03.

      Obviously, lots of places give raises at different rates (or just don’t bother, effectively decreasing your salary every year), and some places give performance-based raises instead of tenure-based raises, so take that suggestion with a grain of salt.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I know that seems logical, but for some inexplicable reason the average amount you can get during an initial salary negotiation is much higher than the average amount you can get in a raise when you’re already working there. After all, 3% of a $45,000 salary (which is the average U.S. salary, if I’m remembering right) is $1350, but it wouldn’t be at all unusual to be able to negotiate a $45K offer to $50K or around there.

        1. Anonymous*

          Absolutely this. The fastest way to increase your salary is to leave and take a new job. Going from 75 to 90k at one company is going to take some time, but you can do it in one step if changing employers.

  12. ChristineH*

    This is definitely a post job seekers should bookmark! Alison, I love when you suggest specific wording and “scripts”.

    One other question: Can you suggest any good websites for researching salaries? If memory serves, I think you’ve expressed some hesitation with many sites commonly suggested by career experts (please accept my apologies if I’m off-base!). I’ve looked at various sites over the years, but it’s hard to determine if they’re useful because the data seems based on general occupational titles and industries, and doesn’t account for the infinite variation in actual jobs.

  13. Karyn*

    When I was negotiating salary for my new job, I got the best advice I have ever received from a salesperson at my old job: “He who talks first loses.” He said to keep that in mind when negotiating anything, but especially salary. So, I gave it a shot – when she pitched her offer, I came back with mine, and then I shut up. And after a few uncomfortable seconds of silence, she replied, “OK, I think we can make that work.” I’m now working at a job I love, with a salary that lets me save AND spend! I credit most of this to Alison (because of her awesome cover letter/resume advice which got me in the door), but also to my salesperson friend.

  14. Lexy*

    As Jack Donaghy says: Never negotiate with yourself.

    That’s where shutting up and letting them respond is a useful skill. And unless you’re talking to someone who negotiates a lot, that silence will be making them as nervous as it makes you.

      1. Anonymous*

        although it’s ALSO important to realize that most managers expect you to negotiate. a lot of people I know (especially women–a group that includes me, although I’ve long ago gotten over the awkwardness of asking for more money) feel like they’ll be seen as rude or unappreciative if they come back with a counter-offer. & that’s just not true–even if the manager seems taken aback or uncomfortable, that’s on them, not you. & you’re not going to get your offer rescinded for negotiating unless you ask for something so ridiculous that it undermines your credibility as a reasonable, intelligent person.

  15. Sam*

    This is a great post! I’ve never been able to really negotiate salary because I’ve never known how, and always worried about coming across as greedy or entitled.

    However, I did manage to negotiate once by accident. I was expecting an offer in the higher end of the given salary range, and was given a written offer. The offer stated the salary would be X amount, £1000 more than higher limit of the range given for the position. I thought “excellent!”, and started to read through the accompanying bits and bobs making sure all the detail was sound before accepting the offer. About 10mins later I received a phone call from the hiring manager to confirm that an offer had been extended, and that the salary would be Y amount, £2500 less than the written offer I’d got by email. I queried this with him, and he was flustered when he realised a mistake had been made. At first he tried to back out of the higher offer, justifying it by the fact that the written salary offer was more than the range given and so obviously an error. I, uncharacteristically, held my ground and told him I’d have to think hard about accepting the lower salary. He said he’d leave me to think about it – and then called back 20 minutes saying that whilst he couldn’t offer the higher X amount, he was able to offer Z amount, which was the ceiling for a starting salary in that position, with a commitment to a salary increase to the X amount after 3 months.

    The best part about it was that I would have taken the job even if it had meant a pay cut, as the company I was with at the time were *that* terrible, but a 20% rise in salary and 5 extra annual leave days made leaving evilco that much sweeter :-)

  16. Kristi*

    How anyone found that the general salary negotiations vary if you don’t have an undergrad degree? Because so many job postings will include “Bachelor’s degree or some combination of eduction and experience” I don’t consider it much of an issue at this point in my life. And if I get as far as interviews, offer, and salary negotiations, I would continue to think it wasn’t an issue.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There are still some companies with ridiculously rigid policies of not hiring anyone without a degree, no matter how accomplished they are, but since you’re presumably not dealing with one of those, it shouldn’t be a factor. And if anyone ever told you they wanted to pay you less because you didn’t have a degree when you’re 30/40/50/60/whatever, laugh at them.

      1. Jamie*

        The companies rigid about the degrees usually won’t waste their time interviewing those of us without a degree.

        I went to college but quit before graduation in year four (don’t ask) and I’ve never once found it to be an issue in IT.

        Come to think if it, I was only asked about it once and it was long after I was hired. HR (under the guise of talent development or some other nonsense) made it a personal project to try to push me to go back and finish my degree. Turns out that we went to the same college and HR resented that someone who didn’t finish could make more money than someone who did – regardless of how irrelevant my old major would be to my actual career.

        I have seen a lot of people get degrees and then ask for raises, even though the degrees had nothing to do with their jobs. That logic is as broken as factoring it in when someone has a proven track record of achievement on the job.

      2. your mileage may vary*

        A lot of states require a degree in social work in order to call yourself a social worker. If you were grandfathered in, great — you can still keep working but if you move to a different job, you have to have the degree.

  17. Anonymous*

    I recommend a phenomenal book about women and negotiation, which helped convince me that I should negotiate for the salary for a new job (I did, and got more money!) It’s called Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. I’m normally not one for management reading, but this book really lays it all out in a clear way and provides helpful suggestions about how women can excel at negotiation in a man’s negotiation world. Happy reading!

    1. Lore*

      They also wrote a follow-up, “Ask for It,” which is more of a pragmatic guide to how to put the lessons and theories of “Women Don’t Ask” into practice. If you, like me, started from a position of genuinely never considering that a starting salary offer could be negotiable, it will truly change your life.

    2. Alisha*

      I found that Reddit article interesting, because I work in that industry and have made anywhere from 10-30% less than male colleagues AFTER aggressive negotiation. This is in a city with the worst gender wage gap in the country, where every tech start-up has no women except for the secretary.

      My headhunter says the minute he gets a job in my area I’m the first he’s going to call. I also just got a rejection letter today from the nonprofit; position was eliminated, re-purposed, and the easy portion of it was given to a new grad. The man I interviewed with sounded angry about the situation and told me he really wanted to hire me and to please keep in touch.

      I also went to an interview last week where the man I was interviewing with insulted me twice in the interview – like really, really nasty stuff – and removed my name from the registration list at the front desk, as if to cover up that I was called in…as if to get out of interviewing me altogether. I asked if I was still on for the interview and the front-desk girl said yes. There are some other details here. This was my second interview at this place. They were going to hire me for the job he had, but he maneuvered his way in and fired everyone who worked there. In the interview he told me the company no longer does what it says in its mission statement.

      We’ve decided we’re moving in September. I’m not applying to any more positions around here. I’m tired of the little games.

    3. Alisha*

      Anyway, none of this is helpful for any of you…Im just mad at myself for wasting over 6 months treading water in a small town and feeling too old to start over.

      If you’re a young woman and you want to make good money, head to the coasts, or possibly Texas. Austin is hot right now.

      What is also helpful for women, as a complement to salary negotiation books is a book called Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office by Lois Frankel. Men could even read it because pretty much everyone will identify with a few of the behaviors mentioned that they could work on/weaknesses they could become stronger in.

      1. Nathan A.*

        If you want to get anything in life, you gotta step outside your comfort zone. I’ve never heard of any reasonable request being met harshly (unless the receiver of the request was a jerk).

  18. B*

    What a great post!
    How would you negotiate when you are unemployed but has years of experience. The company knows you need the job so is it still possible/probable to say I was expecting something more in the x range. Or another similar scenario, when you are interviewing they say our starting is Y but there may be more. How does one get “the more” when unemployed being that there is no fall-back of just staying at your job?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This goes back to the fact that the person most willing to walk away always wins in negotiations. If they’re assuming that you’re unlikely to walk away because you don’t have other options, you’re in a much weaker position. (Which is why it can be could to subtly signal during the process that you’re talking with other employers, without outright lying.) That doesn’t mean you can’t try to negotiate, just that you might not get as far.

      1. B*

        Thank you! That is what I was thinking but still wanted to check so as not to lose out on any possible money.

  19. KC*

    What is your take on when new grads negotiate? I understand that we don’t have a ton of experience to base our negotiation on. Would it be a turn off for employers when a new grad try to negotiate?

    I would be afraid to negotiate because there are so many more potential candidates that they can just give the job.

    1. Anon2*

      Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Just realize that you may have less negotiating power at this time. But it usually doesn’t hurt to ask and you’ll be learning all kinds of things in your first job post-grad, you might as well add this to the list. :)

      Honestly, start now and by the time you’ve been in the workforce for several years it will become old hat.

      1. Anonymous*


        It won’t hurt your chances if you try to negotiate (as long as you’re notasking for 150% more or anything). As long as you don’t expect to get a higher-than-offered salary, you’ll be fine. And as the poster above me says, getting into the habit means that when you do have the power to ask for more, you won’t be quaking in your boots at the mere thought of it.

  20. Scott M*

    I’ve always wondered about the psychology of negotiating. Iprefer things to be very straightforward. One thing that bugs me is this act of asking for a salary higher than what you really want, just so the other side can offer a compromise and feel like they aren’t getting taken advantage of.

    If everyone knows that they are playing this little game, why not just avoid extra work and give them the salary number you are looking for? I hate all this wink -wink, nudge-nudge, playing around… yuck!

    I hate haggling when buying a car too, but that’s another story.

    1. Soni*

      >why not just avoid extra work and give them the salary number you are looking for? I hate all this wink -wink, nudge-nudge, playing around… yuck!

      If you do this, they’ll still “play the game” and offer you a compromise between your offer and theirs, and you’ll get less than you want/need.

      And that’s because it’s not a game, it’s just how the human brain is wired. It’s why a $250 mixer will barely move until the store places a $520 mixer next to it, at which point the lower priced mixer looks like a steal and starts flying off the shelf. It’s why most websites that sell bundled services or products have tiers instead of one good solid package – the higher tiers make the mid-range package look like a bargain, while the lower “basic” tier makes the mid-range look more full-featured. A few people will buy the top tier, a few will be stuck with the bottom tier, but most will aim for the middle, which is where the company pitches their ideal offering.

      Humans are simply hard-wired to compare and contrast to assess value in this way. I’m no evolutionary behaviorist, but it’s probably an offshoot of vital behaviors like being able to compare the appearance of various fruits or veg to select one that’s neither under nor over ripe, or finding the balance between owning enough cattle to feed your family and provide you with social status without overwhelming your available resources.

      As a result, whatever number you state will always be compared to what they had in mind and will either become the high end that looks expensive compared to their low-ball, or (if you go first and pitch below what they were going to offer) will look suspiciously cheap when compared to the higher salary they were going to start with. And all this will happen in the manager’s brain without his or her conscious awareness. Having a safe middle ground to negotiate to makes everyone feel like they got the good end of the deal.

      Unfortunately, there’s no way you can “unplug” this wiring from the system without removing the humans from it, so you have to learn to deal with it effectively in order not to get the short end of it.

      1. kac*

        Right. Also, think it’s helpful to think of negotiations as, ultimately, about compromising. The company hiring you is concerned about their bottom line; it benefits them to have lower payroll. You, on the other hand, want to be paid as much as possible. You both want different outcomes. So it’s not really a game when you put forth your (slightly inflated) number. You’re factoring in the actual compromise that will have to be part of successful negotiation, something they are doing as well.

      2. Anonymous*

        You’re wired wrong. I’m wired the same way – I hate this negotiation game, I hate retail sales games, I hate car-buying games. We’re the weird ones, though.

        Psychologically, most people live to feel like they’re getting something over on someone else. This is why Black Friday sales result in stampedes that kill people, why there are hundreds of car dealerships but none that just list the price that they expect you to pay, and why the vast majority of jobs play this salary game. There are some good articles about it in regards to J C Penney’s. That particular retailer decided to give up on sales and just price things at the point where they’d normally be sold at for a while. Their experiment was dismal and they had to go straight back to the wonky sales tactic that everyone else uses, because shoppers took the “real price point” information and went to their competitors when they had sales at that point or better.

  21. Tel*

    I’m glad that in my job we get hired by pay grades. It’s easy to know what to expect and then you don’t have to go through the negotiation game.

  22. Charlotte*

    I had a manager once who talked about the concept if being quiet after posing a negotiation…he referred to it as psychological reciprocity. He said that once a person speaks, the social norm is to answer back.

  23. Drew*

    I have a related question. Is is appropriate to negotiate when you are offered a job after temping for a company?

    In my case, I have been given increasing responsibility, including supervising the work of some of my colleagues on a certain project, which is far outside of the original job description and a responsibility that none of my “permanent” collegues has. As a temp, I was happy to accept the posted salary, but I think I have proven to be worth more in my time here.

    1. fposte*

      Sure, it’s appropriate to negotiate. That doesn’t mean you’d have gotten more, but that’s actually a situation where you might have some very specific knowledge of what additional worth you’d bring. I negotiated a higher salary when I moved from temping to a permanent position because they expanded the position somewhat, and I knew what the previous person had gotten from working in the HR office there :-).

    2. Julie*

      I did this too. My company used to require everyone to be hired through an agency at first. If they liked you, they would hire you directly. Even though it’s the same job, you’re still switching to a new employer, so you should definitely negotiate. We had negotiated a salary amount, but I had to do a phone meeting with HR (company is based in another state) to fill out paperwork, and the number they gave me was $310 short (on the annual salary number). I couldn’t believe I had to negotiate with them over this, but I did. Mainly, I just felt that it’s not fair to offer one number and then renege on it. My manager and I shared an office then, so she was wigging out, telling me to stop haggling with them or they would not give me the job (over $310!). I knew she was wrong, and finally I got my full offered amount. It’s important to note that I was firm, but polite, so there was really no danger of them rescinding their offer. Even if negotiating feels nerve wracking and scary, it’s really true that the time period between when you are offered the position and when you accept the position is when you have the most leverage.

  24. Maddy*

    What a great post I am terrible at negotiating! Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid to negotiate, it’s just that I don’t know how to go about it. I just never know what to say….

    Anyway, I also have a quick salary question.. so I recently went on an interview and they asked me for my salary range, which I did give.. But now I am not really happy about the range I gave. I am hoping they will offer me at the higher end of my range… But let’s say they don’t and offer me a salary at the lower end.. What do I do? How would I negotiate? Would it be okay to negotiate for a higher salary even though I did give them that range??

    Ahh, what a great post. I just wish I read this before I went on the interview.

    1. Anon2*

      Earlier someone said not to give a salary expectation (or hedge it) by saying you wouldn’t know till after the interview and getting specifics on job responsibilities, etc. So, if you want to negotiate your range at this point, can you take the information you learned in the interview to say that now you can better evaluate and you feel the job is worth the upper range?

  25. Elizabeth West*

    This has always been confusing for me, because in low-level admin jobs, you get what they pay. There IS no negotiation. You start at $X, and then later you may get a cost of living raise. I never know what to even say in these situations. The times I’ve asked, they act like I just killed a puppy in front of them.

    I’m looking at moving into a different field if I can, because companies are combining what I’ve been doing with something I CAN’T do, which means I can’t even apply for the jobs anymore. Vocational Rehabilitation is helping me with this, but we haven’t lit on a plan yet, and I’m terrified I’m going to take a huge step backward. So having people talk about entry- level is helpful, since I may have to start over completely.

  26. Kim*

    I am loving all of this information! Have been following you for some time and used a lot of information found here. Just have to say that there has been a significant increase in the number of responses to my resume/cover letter since implementing some of your ideas! Gotta say, it’s all about the cover letter.

    I have been a stay at home mom for more than a decade! I went back to work in the past 5-6 years on part time and contract roles. I am currently looking for a great opportunity that is NOT contract but will still allow the flexibility of leaving the office around 3-4 in the afternoon! I never know when it is best to have that discussion? My current contract role has been SUPER flexible and I find that while I leave the office early most days, I still stay in touch with my cell and laptop (of course, I log those hours too). It seems to work great and my manager has been MORE than pleased with me during our 3 years of working in this recurring role!

    So, my question…when should I broach this subject. I am uniquely situated that money is not the driving factor. I really want to be home mid-afternoon so my teenager and tweenager know that I am there for them if they need me.

    How do I say, I’ve been working like this for some time and your job is suited to a similar arrangement if you will just give a shot?

  27. Jamie*

    “How do I say, I’ve been working like this for some time and your job is suited to a similar arrangement if you will just give a shot?”

    Some friendly advice, you don’t say it anything like that.

    In the interview stage, heck even as an employee unless you have been there long enough to have credibility to the degree that the powers that be give weight to your opinions, it’s a bad idea to imply that you know best which positions are suited to flexible scheduling.

    There is a lot that goes into determining whether an arrangement like this will work, and no small part of that is the perception and company culture. It doesn’t even matter if it makes practical sense – if it’s a company which values face time in the office someone who flextimes will have a very hard time gaining the credibility needed to do their job.

    There are also unknowns like current employees who would also like flex time but management feels they work best in the office – offering it to a new hire opens up an ugly can of worms.

    Also, to show my own bias here, if it were my call I wouldn’t offer any kind of atypical schedule to someone new. I’ve seen agreements about working out of the office work well with known commodities, i.e. employees who’ve already proven their ability to work independently and have earned a measure of trust.

    If it’s a deal breaker for you then by all means try to find a company where they will work with you on this, but I would really stay away from verbiage from which they may infer that you think you know how to best schedule their positions than they do.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That is EXACTLY the key point for this, I think.

      In some cases, if someone asks about this, I’m willing to think about it with an open mind. But if they ask and I get even a whiff of “I’m sure this will work, even though I’ve never worked at your company,” I have a much higher bar of skepticism and concern. And that’s because in order for arrangements like this to work well, the person actually has to be totally open to all the possible reasons why it might not. Kind of weird contradiction, but very much what I’ve seen in practice.

      In any case, Kim, I hope that helps!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh, and I would add: Look at places that are either large enough to have implemented fairly progressive family-friendly policies, or small places that have more flexibility.

      1. Kim*

        Jame and AAM

        Thank you for your comments! Jamie, I NEVER intended to say anything like “it will work at your company!” I was just trying to convey my current situation and feelings about where I stand to the readers of my question. I know I can be trusted…where/when/how/should I attempt to negotiate a reduced or telecommute schedule in lieu of money…

        I agree with both of you as to what I should look for (small or big companies). That has been my approach so far. Just thought I might gain some insight that might open the job market to me a bit more.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Ah, I forgot to answer that part of your question. I’d probably wait until you have an offer, because at that point they’ve decided they want you, and they’re going to be more motivated to try to work something out. But I’d be trying to pick up cues about the culture all along.

  28. angela*

    Hi Alison,

    I came accross your website as I was googling stuff only and I found it very helpful. I am going through a dilemma myself right now:
    I had an interview last Friday and on Wednesday I received a call from HR telling me that the group liked me and that they were working on putting an offer together. He also said that I should get the offer either that day (Wednesday) or the day after (Thursday).

    It is now Friday and I have not seen anything come through yet. Should I read anything into this? I would like to ask but I do not want to sound desperate and also come across as not flexible at all. On the other hand, if they have sent one and it got lost somehow and they are awaiting my response, then they need to know that I do not have it yet? Right?

    We have not discussed salary at all (they pretty much know what I am currently making but that’s it). What do you think the hold up is?

    1. Tel*

      It could be anything from it’s taking longer than usual because someone is sick (happens) to they are no longer interested (also happens). Seriously, just chill and wait a little longer, then send a polite e-mail asking what’s up if you don’t hear anything.

  29. Lauren*

    For those of you who are trying to figure out what salary to ask for and are looking at jobs related to universities, you can find actual salaries for the entire staffs of a handful of state universities, including Arizona State, Ohio State, Texas A&M, UCLA, and so on at http://www.collegiatetimes.com/databases/salaries. (Plus it’s just entertaining to ogle.)

  30. class factotum*

    Another thing to consider is health insurance. If you are going from a good plan ($20 copay for office visits and 3 months RX) to a crummy one ($2,500 deductible with an $800 employer load that goes to a $5,000 deductible with no additional load if you add a dependent) AND there is a waiting period that means you might have to pay cobra, then ask for some cash to cover the cobra.

    Honestly, who has a waiting period for low-turnover, professional jobs? That’s just mean.

  31. Krystal*

    I have a negotiations shenanigans story: At my new job, I was told “everything is negotiable,” in one breath, and then was told, “but really, this isn’t.” Then my new boss was like, “You just have to trust me.” And then he said the offer would be X — $5,000 more than the range I’d been told the position was going to pay before the final interview. So I accepted without negotiating. Then in an ensuing conversation, the HR person, in front of me, said something about how I’d accepted the “mid-range.” Isn’t this all odd? I thought so. And their little trick really worked… I was so excited to get what I’d did because I’d gone into the interview thinking the TOP of the range was $5K less.

  32. M*

    I don’t understand this “salary range” deal.

    I once had a negotiation in which I was offered between $90k – $100k, and not wanting to look greedy I said $95k. When I told my therapist she asked why I wouldn’t have said $100k? I mean really! Why WOULDN’T ANYONE say the bigger number?
    So the next time I negotiated I was given another 10k range and smugly took the larger amount. When I triumphantly announced this to the therapist she shook her head and asked why I didn’t negotiate above the “range”. It’s such a strange game.

    1. folarin*

      You have such an intelligent therapist. I’m new in the game but I’m already getting a drift of it. Never ask about salary first. If after the interview, the interviewer asks you about salary, then you state your range with the lower range being the least you’ll work for and the higher range being your dream. Sometimes you can put ur lower range a little higher that the least you’ll work for bcos some employers will want to negotiate with your lower end value. If the interviewer doesn’t mention salary, then you ask him what range (make sure you mention range and not an actual value) the company pays. If he is smart, he may also give a range. A good HR will peg the Higher range at what the company can pay comfortably and the lower range below that. So what you do is frown ur face a little, show some disappoint and negotiate above the higher so you get a little above what the company is comfortable with, what the company is comfortable or very very very slightly less than what the company is comfortable with. After all said and done, negotiating is still a matter of the grace of God and being smart and assertive.

  33. rbm*

    just catching up on my reader, and this post is at an absolute perfect time for my situation. i was wondering about negotiating with an internal position- going from an analyst to a sr. analyst. i was planning on usnig all the advice here, but do all the same rules apply for negotiating salary when applying as an internal candidate? anything else i need to keep in mind? great post!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Internal negotiations are harder and they often try to offer less than they would with someone from the outside, in part because they know what you’ll accept (since you’re already accepting it in your current role). So I’d say be prepared to negotiate harder.

      1. rbm*

        Thanks so much for the prompt feedback. I’ll definitely be prepared to work harder during this negotiation process since I totally screwed myself 3 years ago and didn’t even negotiate- lesson learned. thanks for this & all your helpful posts everyday!

    2. Julie*

      I had a similar situation. I applied – along with other internal and external candidates – for a training manager position (I was a senior trainer at the time). They offered the job to someone else, but she didn’t take it, so then they offered it to me. My manager, his manager, and his manager all agreed on my new salary (which I had to really negotiate for, but I knew what the previous training manager had been making, so I asked for that. I figured “it’s already in their budget,” so I wasn’t going to budge, and that’s what they finally offered me). But I found out about a month later that HR was going to consider my new position a promotion, and the new salary was too high of a percentage jump from my previous salary, and they weren’t going to give it to me. I was astonished and outraged! It ended up working out in my favor because when cost of living increases came around a few months later, my manager gave me the highest percentage he could, and my salary then ended up being higher than the original negotiated amount.

      The same employer also took about a month to update my new position in their system, so I was doing the new job at the old salary. I heard from other people that they had done this a lot. I’ll never understand why companies try to nickel and dime employees. It creates bad feelings and makes the employees feel that they can’t trust the employer.

  34. Zed*

    This post is timely for me, because I just accepted my first full-time position (after working multiple part-time jobs for a couple years after grad school). I didn’t negotiate because the salary they offered was more than I hoped for AND rather high for an entry level position in my field to boot. I’m happy with my decision not to negotiate, but it did make me think that I’d like to know how to do it NEXT time. So, thank you!

  35. Anonymous*

    I am currently entering second-round interviews for a senior-level position for which I am under-qualified (The job posting lists the ideal candidate as having 5+ years experience with a BA/BS. I have a Master’s degree and only about 1 year of relevant experience; moreover, I have been unemployed for a rather extended period since graduate school due to family matters.) Surprisingly, it was the company who reached out to me after finding my resume on a jobsite. Once contact had been made, things began to move rather quickly, and I was rushed into a phone interview the same day. I barely had enough time to learn general information about the company and position, let alone research salary – so I was unprepared when the recruiter asked my “number.” (I did have a range in mind, but it was based on my research for entry- to mid-level work in a different position and industry.) I was thrilled with the degree of interest the recruiter was showing, as well as with her understanding of my current situation. I knew that I would be up against more experienced candidates – many more recently employed than I – and I didn’t want to hurt my chances of being considered by overstating or knock myself completely out of the race by sidestepping the question. Though I knew it was best never to talk money too soon, nerves got the best of me. I threw out a number that, in retrospect, seems more appropriate for a mid-level than senior-level position. The number I gave was still higher than I was expecting to get given my situation and the current state of the economy, but I do believe it may be just at or below the low-end of salary range for the position.

    When I received a second call inviting me for a on-site interview, the recruiter warned me that I was the underdog and that, because the position was newly created, it may be down-graded from Senior Analyst to Analyst if I got the job. After speaking with the hiring manager, I certainly feel that I am capable of performing the required job duties, and I do think that he really likes me and sees my education and internship as a good fit for the position. Unfortunately, now I worry that the primary reason for the company to offer me the job above other, more experienced candidates would be my willingness to work for less money. Even worse, I fear this ties my hands when it comes to negotiations. I expect HR to offer around $1K above my stated number. Naturally, I would not expect to make what someone with 5+ years experience would, but given that I would be performing the same tasks, I do think I should try to negotiate for more. How much do you think is appropriate to ask in this situation? 10% more? Is 15% too much? Also, have you ever heard or seen anyone start at a lower salary but negotiate for a higher percentage annual raise (in this sense, my salary would “catch up” with where I should have been as I have more time on the job)?

    If hired, I plan on staying within the company for a while, so I want to start off with a competitive salary. I just really have no idea of the position range and have no clue how I could find out (I don’t think that HR would be too forthcoming about it at this point). Do you have any advice on how to proceed with negotiations?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Honestly, I don’t think you can. You already named a number, so they know you’re willing to take that. And you say that you think it may be the reason you’d get the job — if so, would you rather not get the job at all? If you’ve had extended unemployment, this might be the way back in. And it’s definitely reasonable for them to pay less than they’d planned if you have significantly less experience than what they were looking for.

  36. Melissa*

    I just want to thank you so much for this post – I’m a graduate student looking to go on the job market next year, and I think all seekers (but especially women) need the advice that they aren’t being “not nice” or demanding simply because they are negotiating a higher salary for themselves. I will bookmark this!

  37. Anonymous M*

    I took up a new job in new sector a year ago. At that point, I took a big salary cut to accept this position. This amount was lower than the industry rates for this position. I tried to negotiate at that time, but my employer was quite inflexible. He did allow me some flexibility on hours for my mother duties and has been understanding through some personal transition.

    At this time, I have finished one year and seen the entire annual cycle. I have proved that I am a hard worker, very good at this job and extremely crucial to the organization. I have also raised the level of expectation for my position and know that this position would not be easy to fill. I am looking for a substantial raise. I should mention that I am ready to start looking for another job, if this does not come through, in spite of the comfort, fit and flexibility offered here. I am also not ready to make a commitment for more than a year.

    How should I approach this conversation?

  38. Anonymous H*

    I did not negotiate my salary for my current job and I am now regretting not doing so. I was a contractor with the company through an employment agency and when the company decided to hire me the offer that they extended was below what I had expected based on my education and experience. The hiring manager presented me with the offer and he stated that based on where I was salary wise the offer was the best he could do, so I talked to my recruiter and expressed that the offer was not what I was expecting but he insisted that it was not worth negotiating. I took his advice and accepted the offer without negotiating.

    Granted that as a contractor my salary was about $30k below where I think I should have been making. The offer was an increase of $13K so I am still $17K below the salary I was looking for. Can anyone give me any advice on how to ask for a raise? I know it is harder to accomplish this after accepting the offer but I do feel that I’ve make significant contributions to the company to make a case for an increase.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Unfortunately, you really don’t have any negotiating power after accepting the offer, and trying to go back and renegotiate it is unlikely to go well; you’ll be seen as operating in bad faith because you already agreed to the current salary.

  39. Lexx*

    What if I say that I’m open for any salary consideration and willing to negotiate? Is that the best thing to say since, I, myself don’t have a experience yet and I just graduated.

  40. Nuri*

    first off, thank you so much for this blog, it has been most useful.

    I have a question

    I had an interview today and they asked about salary. Trying to steer clear of a figure, I replied that what I am more interested in having a position that allows me to use my skill set. I then asked what the salary grade for the position.

    (I am a new graduate\from a Master’s degree program,not a bachelors, but have a skill that while mandatory/a basic requirement for this job is hard to come by. My future supervisor doesn’t have it!)

    The interviewer point-blank gave me a figure xx,xxx which is a fair for an entry-level, non-profit position, but it’s lower than my previous salary when I was working full time a few years back (before this new degree).

    I sort of quietly said “that’s fine,” Not wanting to block my chances then and there.

    My question is this, if I am offered the position, would it be fair game to try and negotiate? I think I need at least 4,000 more a year to ensure that I don’t become an over-worked, under-paid disgruntled worker.

    Or did I tacitly get myself caught in the web of the salary negotiation web?


    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You won’t have a very strong negotiating position because you already said you were fine with the figure they cited, and they moved forward with you on that belief.

  41. Phil L.*

    This post/comment is so liberating but still marks me nervous! I’m going to be reporting to the CEO and am a marketing coordinator. I’ve had two internships during college (class of 2011) and on short contract job but basically was unemployed since graduation because it was so hard to find a job! I had three interviews and the hr told me I was gonna get a salary of around $45,000 which medium depending on location and company (however I think it’s pretty good). I will be getting my offer letter this coming week so I don’t know for sure what it is yet but I’m super nervous and scared that if I even try to negotiate, even though people have been saying it doesn’t hurt, that it will hurt! After my finally interview, they immediately called me early the morning after saying that they really liked me and saw that I have a lot of talent and potential. Should I negotiate for more? At this point, I’m kind of desperate for a job as a broke and unemployed graduate! This will be my first salary job too!

    I know this question is a little specific to me but I feel that a lot of people have similar situations and would help out a lot of us.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      As a recent grad with only internship experience, you don’t have much standing to negotiate. If you’re happy with the salary and think it’s market rate, I’d just take it.

      1. Phil L.*

        I negotiated anyways and decided to take the risk. However in my case, they just accepted. I didn’t give reasons why or anything. Maybe they were just trying to see if I would take the bite and try to negotiate. I also realized that maybe their budget was a lot higher than what they were offering me and what I negotiated for. My salary is also better than market rate! Maybe I was just THAT impressive?

  42. Danaerys*

    First off I am female and have a bachelor’s degree and 5+ years of experience in customer service/administrative support. October of 2012 I accepted an administrative assistant/dispatcher position with a small company only 12 people large at a salary of 16,000 when I had no job and no money coming in at all. They said they started everyone out low as they could never be sure of a person’s motives. I accepted as 16k was more than 0. Average rate of pay for this type of position is about 36k a year with the low end being 25k so I am well underpaid. Flash forward 3 months to now, I keep getting glowing commentary from my co-workers and my superiors including the owner. My three month review is next week (3 weeks late). How do I ask for a raise to at least 25k given that is 9000 more than what I am being paid. I preferably would like 30k but that is almost a 100% raise. Help.

  43. Salary negotiation*

    Well this is me today. I have worked here underpaid for some time now and have finally received a salary offer. It is 39,500 but I was hoping for about 44,000. Any where else I would be getting 48,000-55,000 but this is a SME and therefore they do not have the same budget as larger companies where I might receive 50,000.
    Do you think asking for another 10% is rude? I definitely know I’m worth it but I think Ill be asking for something close to what some of their top employees are getting (who have worked here for years). The experience here is good for my career and it’s a great environment. Any thoughts?

  44. Michelle*

    I would like to ask for your expertise on how to negotiate the offer I just received. First of all I worked for this company before and have had good performance reviews. Then I quit 6 months before because I have to move to another city. Currently I’m working for them on contract/telecommute and getting $25.83/hr. I’m going back to the city this March and they want me to go back to my previous position. In 2011 I was getting 42,000/yr and now they are offering me $43,300. And they decided to recognize my past services and giving me 4wks vacation.
    When I first started at the company, I didn’t negotiate my salary as I was from an agency and new to the city. I soon found out that I’m getting way below than average.
    Here’s my question will it be okay if I ask for $50,000 salary for 7 years of experience? Am I asking too much?
    In Job Boards for this city 1+ experience goes for 41k-55k. Your opinions will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Jamie*

      Not that you would use this in your negotiations, but to help you behind the scenes do you know what other people in your position with similar experience are making at that company?

      Either way – even though it’s not apples to apples exactly your current hourly puts you at almost $54 K if you were full time. Assuming as a contractor you have other clients (which is reasonable for them to assume) you would have to give up those clients in order to dedicate your work to this company full time.

      But taking into account that contractors are paid more because it’s a variable and not a fixed cost I think it’s totally reasonable to ask for 50k.

      They may not go up that high – but it’s certainly not unreasonable and you can justify asking based on your contracted rate.

      You’re a known commodity – they like your work as they’ve kept you on as a contractor and want you back. That tells me they think quite a bit of your work. If they are at all reasonable it won’t hurt to ask.

      Good luck.

  45. Maggie*

    All of these posts are a great help. I’m not sure if anyone asked a similar question, but I’m hoping to get some advice:

    I just had a preliminary phone interview where pay was discussed with the recruiter for a large company. Yes, I made the mistake of giving her a number when she asked, although it was higher than I’d settle for. She told me the range they offer for that position, and that they couldn’t go above that, which was lower than I’d hoped. I’m now scheduled for an in-person interview with the hiring manager. If offered the job, would it be in bad taste to then negotiate with the hiring manager? I have very light experience, although I do also have a certification in my field. The position offers a chance to get great experience for me at a great company, although its part time with no benefits, so to add the lower pay is really making for a challenging decision.

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Juliette Dallas-Feeney*

      Hi there, I’m sort of in a similar situation and hoping for some advice. I’m in the final round of interviews and HR asked what I make at my current job. I gave an ambiguous answer like “I make in the mid-5 figures now but I know every company has a different mix so what range did you have structured for this position?” She responded and said they had a range in mind but she pressed to find out what I was making. I gave a number and mistakenly low-balled myself for some reason–I make $50,000 + a 15% bonus which comes out to $57,500, but for some reason I said I make $55,000 with a built-in bonus. She said that number was good and that they can definitely get close to that with the bonus they include.

      I worry now that I made a mistake if the offer does come. I want something closer to $60,000. Do I still have room to negotiate for that? Does anyone have a “script” or ideas of how to position it?

      THANK YOU. So happy I found this thread!

  46. Cross*

    I am currently negotiating for a position with another company within my current corporation. The new position is located in a lower cost of living location that does not have state income tax.

    Their initial offer was 20k less then my current salary (the hiring manager had already forewarned me during the interview that they do not pay their people as much). I countered explaining why I was worth my current salary an how my own market research showed that the salary they where offering was below average.

    All this was done via email. Upon seeing my counter the HR rep called me on my cell phone to let me know that they could not pay me my current salary. Basically the HR rep used a term like employee equity (current employees of similar rank and exp) do not make my current salary. I then asked if it would be possible for me to keep my current salary and suspend raises for x number of years. She was not sure on this and would check with her manager (later discussions determined that this was not possible).

    I then went back and asked for slightly less then the market salary for that area. After a couple of day HR came back and said that the highest they could go was another 2k, basically asking me to take and 18k paycut.

    Because this is the same corporation just a different company within I am unable to negotiate on vacation time, and benefits these are set to what I have already. I am now wondering what should my next steps be. Is there anything else I could negotiate on that would make taking an 18k paycut less of a horse pill to swallow.

  47. nightshiftjobworker*

    I have done 2 technicals phone interview by securing a job that require to work on odd hour permanently night shift job.

    HR: I am here to talk about your package and salary. we are going to offer you $X, with transport and shift claim.

    Me: Is this negotiable, because this number is not significant for me to move on and this will be an odd hour job. are you able to push up a bit on this?

    HR: Yea, I know it is not much compare to your current pay. Let me speak to my Director (I m not sure HR director or my hiring team director) and get back to you shortly.

    Few minute later, i received a call back,

    HR: I wouldn’t really help much because the job grade for this position is already at the high side.

    Me: I have a confirmed fixed 13th month of salary and the $x you offer is not really significant. And are you saying when i take the offer, I already at the high side of the job grade and hardly have the chance of growth in the future?

    HR: The job grade we offered to you still able to grow in the future if you accept $X as your salary, that’s the reason why I cannot help by offering extra on top of $x.

    Me: ok, since there is no negotiable at this moment, is it time for me to decide, can i get back to you on this by this week?

    HR: sure, I will wait for you until this week.

    Can I still negotiate on my the $X?

    1. AngieB*

      I would say that you could. What I would do is actually state to them what you want to let them know that you are wanting to negotiate seriously. The fact that they will wait on you to make a decison may be a good sign because otherwise, they would just offer it someone else. Be reasonable in the amount that you ask for however, so that they will know that you have given this some good thought and that you are really interested in the position and not just wasting their time. Good luck!

  48. JJ*

    I have been a SAHM for the past 12 years, only working part time in retail. Before that, I was a senior marketing manager with 10 years experience making $100k. I am looking to go back to work full time again but am not sure if I am in a position to negotiate in salary. I am interviewing for a company that I think will make me an offer, although they have indicated it will be junior level position. They have not asked me for a salary range or know what I made in past positions, and have not given me an indication of what this job will pay. I would like to make $70s, but think they could be offering me $40s. I have not gotten interest from any other companies. Am I still in a position to negotiate after such a long gap in time? And, if they do offer me $40-50s, can I negotiate as high as $70s?

    1. Jamie*

      IME there is nothing wrong with negotiating professionally whether it’s your first job, re-entering the market, or you’re jumping companies. Unless they tell you out of the gate that the salary is what it is (common for some entry level jobs) then you can certainly negotiate for more.

      However, a job in the 40’s isn’t even the same job as one paying 70k. If you can make an argument to go up even as high as 10 above offer (if you have a GOOD argument) that’s within range IMO – but to leap 25-30 K you’d have to convince them to make it a different job with a different salary base and then to give it to you.

      Going that far out of the ballpark would not be received well, IMO.

        1. Jamie*

          But fwiw, that doesn’t mean it will take forever to get back up to where you need to be. I came in really low and within 4 years doubled my salary. Not saying that would happen everywhere, but what’s to say you can’t take a job to a different level once you get in there? It definitely happens.

          I was a SAHM for 15 years before I entered the workforce – and that was my first real job, I had kids right out of school so my resume had a lot of white space. Good luck!

          1. JJ*

            I just wanted to follow up and let you know that I did get a job offer from the company. They came in much better than I thought – at $65k. I probably wouldn’t have negotiated before, but based on your advice I asked for $75. They came back at $70, which was my ultimate goal. Thanks again for your quick and helpful advice!

  49. New Grad*

    I have a question that I didn’t see about negotiating when given a salary range. I have two bachelor’s degrees in music/music education and have been offered an advertising position in a music publishing company. The job posting cited 30,000 – 34,000 as the salary. I was offered 31,000. I, of course, would like 34,000.

    Is it okay to ask above the range? I feel like I shouldn’t, but if I want the top of the range and expect them to counter lower…don’t I have to?

    Additionally, I have been asked back for a final interview with a school that has a base salary of just over 40,000 (it is, however, in a higher cost of living bracket – california vs ohio). I would greatly prefer the position that I have already been offered. Is it okay to cite this salary even though I have not been offered the job? Do you have a suggested wording?

    Asking for 40,000 would be extremely scary for me. Is it possible to mention the other salary and that I was hoping for more and leave it at that to see what they say? I would like to ask for more than the range, but am unfamiliar with negotiation and as I said before, am fearful of asking above their established range (education salaries being negotiated and settled by unions).

    (They also offered the position a week before they said that they would be done with interviews, two business days after my original interview.)

    Thanks for the great posts and all of the good comments!

    1. Josh*

      Don’t ask for 40 at the place that has a range of 30k to 34k that is just non sense. The purpose of the range is to show the max they are willing to go. If you ask for 40k then expect the offer to be rescinded. Plus you’re a new grad. They probably have other people there who have been there for a few years who don’t even make that much so they won’t obviously give you 40k. Take the 40k if you want more money, otherwise ask for 34k in the other job and see what happens.

  50. Suzanne*

    I’m wondering how to go about bringing up cost of benefits. I’ve got an offer that I considered reasonable, but at the low-middle of the advertised range. When I got the offer letter, I found out that they offered no health coverage for dependents. This means probably $1,200 a month in out of pocket costs, and really makes the salary look less attractive. Is this a reasonable subject to broach in negotiations (in addition to the usual “I’m worth the higher end of the range”). If they’d pay me the high end of the range, I’d come out about where I’d expect with the original offer and reasonable benefits.

  51. Claudia*

    I am a recent grad, and landed the job of my dreams. They hired me as a temp to try me out to make sure things would work out. They offered me the low range of the salary. I am now at my 3 months mark and in the process of being hired directly witht he company and would like to ask for more money. Will this be a good time? or should I wait until my year review? I know the person who was in this position before was making about $3K more than what I am making.

    1. AngieB*

      You should definitely go back to the drawing table with them and ask for more money, at least what they were paying the previous person. The amount they offered you before was under a ‘temps’ salary and now that you have obviously proven yourself and your ability to do the job, you are worth more to them. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be offered the job permanently. It won’t hurt you at all to ask for more money, they can only tell you yes or no, with reasons why. Hope this helps and Good luck!!!

  52. Geo*

    What if the potential employer, during the initial job interview, ask you for a salary figure before making any offers and asks you to get back with him via email within a couple days. How would you respond the and or in the email?

  53. MissDisplaced*

    I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say I found it very helpful. I’m currently going through a salary negotiating right now where a great organization made me a very low initial offer I felt I needed to respond to with similar language as above.

    I’m currently biting my tongue, and waiting.

    I have to say though, that because I AM currently unemployed, I don’t know how much negotiating power I actually HAVE here.
    But the offer was $18k lower than my last pay.

  54. AngieBB*

    Hello All. I love this column and the advice I’ve read. Please Help:
    I am a nurse case manager who is being offered the position of director of case manager because the present one wants to switch roles with me (she’s tired of the added pressure and stress with being director). Although I’ve informed the director, the CCO and the CEO of the company that I am no longer interested in the position, they continue to show interest in me. Now, the regional director of case management wants to take me to lunch to talk about job opportunities. I recently got my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and I have also rec’d my certification in case management. They know these things. Problem is, the job offer is for $5000-$7000 more when it should be at least $13,000 more. What should I do and what would you do?

  55. Alexa*

    I have 2 job offers company A is 60K and its not a good fit. Company B is 57K and a great fit. I asked “I have a competing offer at 60K can you match this?” I explained that is what I’m worth and the number I feel comfortable at due to cost of education and cost of living in the new city this job is in.

    What do you think 3K… I hope its not too much. She did say she would need to get approval on that number as it is higher than her approval range. I think HR just tries to scare you sometimes and tell you they cant do more or the number you gave is at the top of their range when it really is not!

    1. AngieB*

      I think that you are absolutely okay to ask for the 3K, that’s not that much at all and you give good reasons why. They may say though that you would need to take into consideration the benefits they offer etc as well as give you some other comparison’s as to why their company has so much more to offer it’s employees, but you have to do what’s best for you and your situation.

  56. Hopeful*

    This is really helpful! Here’s my situation: I had two interviews with a company I’m really interested in. The job posting listed a salary range of 32-35,000; I’m currently making 40K but willing to take a pay cut since the new place would be a foot in the door in the industry I want to work in. They ask for “at least 1-2 years relevant experience”; I have 4 years relevant experience.

    So- I’m wondering if it’s ok to ask for a salary above their stated range? Of course it would be nice to end up with something above the range, but I know that it’s likely not possible. But even to get the top of the range, wouldn’t I need to ask higher so the “compromise” value would be 35K?

    I was thinking of saying something like “I’m wondering if you might have any additional flexibility for someone with my background.” So it sort of acknowledges their range and explains why I’m asking above it. Thoughts?

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