how to ask for more money than the stated salary range

A reader writes:

I’m looking to make a career shift after 10 years at the same company — at a young age. It was my second job out of college.

Thing is, it’s a place that pays very well for my industry, so it’s proving tough to find a pay increase as I move (which, due to medical issues happening in my family, is an absolute necessity for me). I recently found a job I would LOVE to have, but the salary range listed tops off about $4k below my current salary.

I checked with a friend who knows the folks leading the company, and she thinks they’d be willing to stretch if they found someone they really liked. I think I would be an incredible fit for this job, and would be happy to take it at $10k more than offered (still less than a 10% raise from my current job).

My question is: When during the hiring process do you think is the best time to bring up the fact that I’m hoping to make more than what they’ve advertised? I don’t want to be presumptuous and make it clear too early, but I’d also feel bad leading them on until the end when their stated salary is public, and then having it not work out. My friend has also agreed to put in a good word — do I ask her to bring it up? That feels unprofessional.

…I suppose it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t job hunted in a decade, and am feeling pretty clueless about the whole thing. Would LOVE your help!

Well, if your current company pays unusually well for your industry, it might not be reasonable to expect a pay raise when you move somewhere else, particularly if it’s a lateral move, those might not be realistic expectations. You also have to factor in salary differences from your current field to the new field, plus potential geographic differences as well — which could push things in either direction, depending on where you’re moving from and to.

All else being equal, if it’s a lateral move and the job is only $4k less than your current (unusually good) salary, then it might be pushing it to ask them for $10k more than they’re offering (i.e., $6k more than you’re making now).

You also want to factor in how well positioned your friend is to know what she’s talking about. “Knows the folks leading the company” can mean anything from “talks to them regularly and has strong insider knowledge about what they pay” to “knows them socially and has never discussed salary structure with them.”

As for how to proceed … Would you accept the job for their listed range, if they refused to go over that? If you would, then you can wait until you have an offer and at that point say something like, “Do you have any wiggle room on the salary? I’m currently making $X and, having learned more about the responsibilities of the role, was hoping you’d be able to match that.” (Note that’s not asking for the additional raise you’re going to get, which I don’t think will play well when they’ve been up-front about the salary from the beginning.)

But if you know you wouldn’t accept the job at their stated salary range, then I do think you have an obligation to bring that up before they invest a huge amount of time in you. Definitely do not do that by having your friend raise it on your behalf! Instead, raise it at the end of the first interview if you can, saying something like, “I wanted to ask you about the salary range. I’m currently making a bit more than that, and wondered if you have any wiggle room there.” You don’t need to talk hard numbers at this point (unless they ask for them, in which case you do since you brought it up); this is just about flagging that you’re not entirely aligned on salary yet.

But make sure that you’re pegging your salary expectations to what’s reasonable for this field and in this geographic area — which are ultimately the only really relevant factors, regardless of what you’ve been making.

For what it’s worth, a job you love that only pays $4k less than you’re making in your generously-paid job now and allows you to move to the place you want to move might not be such a bad deal. But it’s going to depend on the factors above and what other options you have.

{ 142 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    There’s a useful clarification from the letter writer in the comments: When she wrote “it’s proving tough to find a pay increase as I move (which, due to medical issues happening in my family, is an absolute necessity for me),” she meant the pay increase is the necessity, not the move. (And in fact, she’s not moving locations! She’s talking about moving to another company.)

  2. Anonymous Educator*

    so it’s proving tough to find a pay increase as I move (which, due to medical issues happening in my family, is an absolute necessity for me).

    I think you should pass on this job, then. If your job pays well for the industry, you’ll have to get promoted within your company or apply for a higher position at another company instead of doing a lateral move.

    1. TheReader*

      This one actually is a higher-level position, but the company itself is smaller. I’ve been regularly promoted at my current company — have held 4 jobs within the past 10 years, each new level being a job I’ve created for myself — but I think I’ve hit the ceiling with how high I can go here.

      1. TheReader*

        Yeah, my phrasing was unclear. Sorry about that! The pay increase is the bit that’s necessary (as I’ll likely be dealing with additional expenses), both jobs are within the same city.

        1. Kyrielle*

          You say it’s an absolute necessity “due to medical conditions happening in my family” – is this immediate family that are or could be covered by your medical insurance? I don’t need to know, but if it is, you should also consider the comparative benefits (which may put you further ahead or behind). Even if that’s not the case, it still may be important if you would have significant changes in your own expenses due to changes in medical coverage.

          My husband and I work at separate companies, and this year we both have the same insurance provider. But our companies have very different *plans*. Covering a major medical expense under my company’s plan would be significantly cheaper in total than covering it under his, because of the maximum out of pocket amounts.

        2. Berin*

          I mean, is the pay increase within the bounds of what the position is worth? I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, but your personal circumstances shouldn’t dictate the wage a job pays.

          One other thing to think about – if you need to use FMLA to help with your family medical concerns, you do need to be at a company for more than one year to use that benefit. Not saying that moving companies is a bad idea, but if you’re going to need time off, that may play into your next move.

        3. Roja*

          If you think the job is worth it, for only $4k a year it might be better to do the new job and work a side job. It sounds like you only need an extra $300 dollars a month, which is easily done, say, working Saturday evenings as a bartender or something. Not sure if that’s possible in your circumstances but something to consider if you haven’t already.

  3. Person from the Resume*

    What does your current salary have to do with anything? Why is a pay increase necessary?

    That question is the same one if a company were trying to hire you but wanted to know your current salary so they would know how much to offer. The responsibilities and COL and market value is what should determine the offer, not what you made at the last job especially if you’re moving so your COL is changing.

    I’m not saying not to ask, but your support for asking should not be “I want to make $10K more than my last job in another city.” If a company is going to state the salary range upfront, you should not keep interviewing unless you’re willing to take the top of their salary range or find out if they have some room to move up now.

  4. TheReader*

    Thanks for the advice! Sorry, realizing my language was a little unclear: I’m not looking to move geographically, and the new job is in the same city where I’m currently based. I meant that because of the medical issues happening in my family, I need a pay increase as I move *jobs* and really can’t afford to take a pay cut as I’ll be dealing with additional expenses.

    The job itself is within the same industry, at a slightly higher level but a much smaller company, so I believe my expectations are reasonable — but I do like the idea of bringing it up casually at the end of the first interview.

    1. LawBee*

      That makes a lot more sense – Alison, can you put that at the top of the comments, so people catch it? It changes things a bit.

    2. Tammy*

      Two thoughts I had reading your letter:

      All else being equal, my experience has been that smaller companies are less likely to be able/willing to offer a position outside of their stated salary range, even for exceptionally qualified candidates. And if you’re looking to make a career shift, it’s less likely (though not impossible, depending on the details of the shift) that you’re an exceptionally qualified candidate.
      The fact that you have medical expenses and need more money is definitely something you should think about when evaluating the offers you get, but it’s also important to remember that that’s your problem and not the company’s problem. That is, it may be relevant to whether you accept a particular offer, but it’s not really relevant to what the company chooses to offer you. When you’re negotiating, it’s always important to keep that in mind, I think.

      That said, I do have to say as a hiring manager that it would take a really strong candidate for me to be willing to entertain making an offer above my salary band. Given how budgeting, salary bands, comparative equity with other people on my team, etc. work, I’d be more likely to accept a slightly less qualified candidate that I can afford than to be willing to consider a candidate who wants a salary above the top of my range. It’s not impossible that an amazing candidate could change my mind, but it’s not likely.

      1. lulu*

        It could go both ways for the small company vs. salary bands, sometimes large companies are more rigid.

        Also the wording is a bit unclear but it doesn’t sound like the OP is actually looking to make a career shift, just to take a job, that would constitute a promotion, with a different company within the same industry.

      2. Lusara*

        My experience has been the opposite. I’ve found larger companies to be more rigid with their salary bands than smaller companies.

    3. TooTiredToThink*

      Something that’s come to mind; if the need for the increase in pay is for medical reasons; keep in mind the differences in insurance (well I guess if you are USA based and don’t have national healthcare). If the newer company has lower premiums or low out of pocket costs; you could easily be making that money back.

      1. Adam V*

        It can go the other way too – one thing I didn’t think about when moving from my first job to my second was that my first job completely covered employee health insurance (you only had to pay to add your spouse or children) and my second didn’t, so the raise I thought was awesome turned out to be so-so when you factored in the added insurance and travel costs. Lesson learned for my future self.

        1. BookishMiss*

          Yeessss. I took a $3/hr pay cut to move to my current job, which is more than offset by the company covering the better-than-average health insurance. Without that, the decision would have been much more difficult.

        2. Blue*

          Yeah, I made a lateral move to a different organization this summer, and while the new salary’s comparable, insurance premiums are half the price and I get nearly two more weeks of PTO. Also, better commute. Those things definitely weighed into my decision, and it’s worth doing your homework on that ahead of time.

    4. MLB*

      Higher level, but smaller company – this could make a difference. You also need to take the benefits from each company into account when making a decision. If the smaller company has better benefits than you have currently, the pay cut may not make a huge difference (or may end up being better).

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Oh man…a smaller company? They’ll have less wiggle room to increase the band for you. That info was like a wet blanket to see.

      We always talk salary early on and even a 4k increase is going to be an issue. They’ll know you are itching to make more and they simply will have to acknowledge the ceiling because they know they’ll lose you if you do find what you’re asking for.

      It sucks to be in a high paying company and finding yourself needing more. This is a time you may need to find side gigs more so than a new job doing the same thing.

      1. Mmmm, chocolate!*

        I’m not sure this is true at all. I’ve been a VP over a department of 20 (at a company of 100). If I had 2 postings up for say a product manager, each with a band of 80-90k, I could easily hire one associate product manager at $75 or 80k and a more senior one at 95, assuming the senior person + junior person gave me the same or better output/coverage as 2 “regular” PMs . Or move $5k of money from my market research or travel budget over into salary (this is not always doable, but sometimes it is). Or beg/borrow/steal budget money or headcount from someone else for The One. I once got one of sales’s headcount by agreeing to have my team do some sales support work (which they were doing anyway…shhh). I used it to hire a rockstar I couldn’t have afforded.

    6. Seller of teapots*

      I work for a small company (fewer than 100 people) and was part of a lot of hiring decisions recently. We definitely went over our stated band for a few hires, because they all seemed to bring something extra special (experience, a certain skill set, an series of impressive interviews) and others we were very excited to hire but wouldn’t have exceeded our salary range to do so. Which is to say it really depends, and you’ve got nothing to lose! I wish you luck.

  5. BRR*

    In addition to all of the above, it matters how much $10K is relative to the salary range. Sometimes things work as amounts and sometimes they work as percentages. $10K might not break the bank if it’s a billion-dollar company, but if the range is $40K-$50K, someone at some point is going to think of it as X% over the salary range. Also think of how hard the position is to fill, not just how well you match the description.

    1. Fieldmouse*

      Also, what are the benefits? My field generally pays the same across firms, but different places split the take-home pay vs benefits differently. I’d suggest factoring that in to see how much over the stated pay range you should ask for (and also double-check that it wouldn’t be even more of a pay cut than 4K).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Benefits are a very important point. I took what looked like a huge pay cut, but it ended up being only a moderate pay cut because I no longer had to buy my insurance off the exchange. If the need for increased pay is driven by family health issues, check to see if there are benefits that mitigate those costs. Hard to say without knowing what the issues are, but that might be something to look into more deeply if you haven’t already. For example, if someone needs more medical appointments and you currently have to use PTO to take care of them, ask about schedule flexibility or working from home. Maybe there’s a caretaker benefit. If the commute is shorter/easier, then that’s a factor as well because it reduces wear and tear on both your car and your life, possibly allowing more time to handle the medical issues. Granted, money will probably solve more of these problems, but sometimes there are ways to manage the additional costs.

        1. Flash Bristow*

          Also, does medical cover only kick in for non pre-existing conditions? I’m in the uk, but that was the case with my own work insurance. Fine if I’m already covered when I or family member fall ill, but if I move job I’d expect work provided insurance to require that all past and existing conditions are disclosed – and then promptly exempted.

          Beware op, even if you get the salary you want, you might find your family member’s illness isn’t covered at all.

            1. Ego Chamber*

              Sure, but that can’t be counted on forever, since preexisting conditions are one of the things about the ACA that they’ve been trying to change ever since the new administration got in. It’s very difficult for insurance companies to turn a profit if they have to pay for expensive medical care, you know?

              As someone who didn’t have health insurance until well into my 30s (due to a chronic condition that was diagnosed in childhood, and which accounts for so many of my medical expenses that I’m better off not wasting money on insurance at all if it isn’t covered), I do not want to go back to those dark times of knowing my lifesaving meds and routine exams and treatment would all be out of pocket.

    2. Antilles*

      It also matters how wide the range is in general (difference between their top and bottom ends). If they themselves give a range that varies by $10k, it’s likely going to come off really weird for you to come in and ask for *another* $10k above that very top end.
      I know companies vary, but my general experience is that there’s often a mental framework that companies have with their range – if it’s $40k-$50k, the lower end of the range is someone with great potential who might be a little underqualified, while the $50k is someone who checks every single box. So someone asking for $10k over and above my top end would require you to be “absolutely knock me over in amazement” level.

      1. Yorick*

        And not only would the candidate have to be that amazing, but there would also have to be value in me paying $60,000 for that role when I usually pay $10-20k less than that. That might be unlikely.

    3. LizB*

      Very true about the amount being relative to the range. I was thinking, “Whoa, $10k is a huge increase, that doesn’t sound reasonable at all!” …but I make $40-somethingk a year, so that’s my frame of reference. If the top of the range is $200k and the OP wants $210k, that’s probably more likely to be reasonable.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s because 10k increase from 200,000 is only 5%

        10k increase from 50k is 17%

  6. Bubbeleh*

    I feel the pain — I am at an institution that pays more than market rates, which has made leaving quite difficult.

    But I don’t have the extra impetus of caregiving forcing me out.

    If I did, I know I’d have to suck it up and accept a lower-paying (or comparable-paying, with more responsibility) job.

    One way to make the move more palatable is to compare costs of living. If you’re moving from a high COL area to a lower one, $4K less than you make now may actually average out to a raise.

    Same thing re: benefits.

  7. Lexi Kate*

    By incredible fit for the job do you mean you have all the wants and needs for the job and can prove that in your last job you were able to go above and beyond and were able to save the company/department large sums of money, or were able to automate efficiencies and fewer FTE’s were needed. What I am getting at is that if you know going in that you are already $4k higher than their top range and you want to add $6k to that what above the job are you bringing to entice the company to hire you at a higher pay. Im not sure what industry you are in to know if staying in a position 10 years is good or if its stagnant, if there are always 30 people with the same qualifications to apply for the job or if it takes months to get someone qualified. Also what % is the $10K for you if the $10K would put you at $50K verses at $200K those are huge jumps depending on what the average yearly increase is. Also did they seek you out or did you blindly apply, them seeking you gives you more opportunity to ask for higher pay. All of these are things that make a difference in the end its $10K a year after the bare taxes if you get paid every other week thats at best $270, were there other reasons for the new job that add to that?

    1. Lexi Kate*

      My job now lets me work from home exclusively, so while the pay was a decrease I make more money now as I don’t need a car payment because my old car isn’t getting the mileage, I dont have to spend as much on makeup, hair, and work clothes to sit in my yoga pants in a pony tail, I can walk the dog during the day myself so the dog walker got fired, I can throw dinner on during the day so we eat out less, and I don’t need someone to watch the kids after school for my hour commute.

    2. TheReader*

      To clarify, I haven’t stayed in the same position for 10 years. I’ve been working at the same company, but have been regularly promoted and have held 4 different jobs over the course of 10 years, all being new positions created for me because of my growth. I created and developed a program that matches exactly what this new company does, and had a proven success record while implementing new tools that yes, cut costs and staffing needs.

      The overall reason for moving is because I think I’ve reached my ceiling here and, in order to continue to grow, need to look elsewhere. My department’s leadership is also shifting in ways a lot of us aren’t happy about, and there are likely going to be a lot of people exiting at this point. So I very much want to change jobs, but for personal reasons simply can’t afford to be paid less and will need, at minimum, a cost of living increase — which, if my rent increases the same amount it has in past years, would nearly exactly match that $270.

      1. Lexi Kate*

        Then I think you have a really good shot at getting the $10K above what their max is. I would expand with them on the 4 positions being created to keep up with your growth and what you were bringing to the table and not being something you applied for, and to quantify in terms of dollars per year saved or FTE’s saved by the programs you developed. That quantification is really going to be what I would be looking at as hiring manager, and with a salary already in the $250+ range $10K is going to be under 5% and I wouldn’t foresee 5% as a deal breaker.

      2. Thrown into the fire new manager*

        Did you ask for a raise? No snark intended at all here but if you are such a great candidate for the other job, this one may not want too lose you. We lost a great candidate because his current job offered him the moon to stay with them

        1. TheReader*

          We’re going through our review process as the new year starts, and I’ll probably get a raise here. That’s part of why I’d want more pay if I left. I think it’s entirely possible my job will want to keep me and will barter, so I’d like something that would make me feel comfortable turning it down. For a variety of reasons, it’s just time for me to move on, and I’d love to do it at this particular new company if it’s at all possible.

          1. DKMA*

            This is actually a really easy one. Follow Allison’s script at the end of the first interview. You won’t take the job if you don’t get a pay raise, so ask for it and see. Negotiating is easy when the alternative really is that you’ll walk away. It doesn’t always work, but it’s easy. And it won’t hurt anything as long as you are polite, clear and upfront.

            That said, from your other comments it sounds like this would be a semi-promotion and you’d be bringing skills and experiences the company needs that will save the company money. For that reason I’d wait until you’ve had a chance to communicate that in a first interview rather than raising it absolutely up front in a phone screen.

          2. JulieCanCan*

            I’m kind of curious as to why you’re even interested in a position when they advertised the top range as being 4k less than what you’re earning now if your main concern (besides growing and getting a great new position at another company) is ensuring that you’re earning MORE money than you make now to help with the family/health issues going on.

            I don’t remember seeing anything mentioned in your letter about how plentiful job opportunities are in your area, and I know you mentioned your company being on the higher side as far as pay goes. But if you absolutely need to make more money and know you can’t afford to work at this other organization if they can’t pay more than what they advertised, I would want to be made aware of that before meeting with you if I was the hiring manager or recruiter or whoever will be first interviewing you at the other company.

            I hope you find a great position that pays what you’re looking for!

  8. Hmmm*

    I recently had the experience of explaining a similar concept to a friend… he lucked out and got a great paying consulting job right out of school, but that job is a contracted position that is ending this month. He recently messed up an interview when bringing up money, because he doesn’t want to “go backwards” in his career. He WANTED the job even for less money (since his is almost over), but bungled the salary negotiations by telling them his current hourly rate, hoping they’d go up. It was far enough away from the posted rate that they pulled the offer. I’m not sure if that’s the best response on their end (I would have tried to talk to him first) – but at the same time, he probably WOULD leave ASAP for a better paying job, they’re not exactly off base.

    So I agree with Alison – go into this with your priorities. If you WOULD be willing to take the job with less/equal salary, focus on that and try not to blow it by asking for too much or anything, and it your current salary does come up, make it clear that you will be happy with a lower/similar salary. I mean don’t totally kill your negotiating power, but have a real reason for why you want to make a lateral/slightly downward salary move (I’d focus more on how much you love the position than why you are moving, but wanting to move isn’t a bad thing to bring up in passing).

    The reality is, sometimes we get a break (great paying job, great paying company, etc) that is unusual, and we can’t take those expectations with us. There is notion of not going “backwards” with salary, but if you’ve lucked out and are getting paid more than average, you might have to make that change. Good luck OP!

    1. Hmmm*

      Oh, and now I see your comment and see how you aren’t actually trying to move areas. Then it would be worth talking about the growth – point out that you’re excited about the position and growth in the company, and ask about opportunities moving forward.

  9. LawBee*

    I guess asking for a raise at your current job isn’t possible? That seems to be the easiest solution; whether they pay above-market shouldn’t matter for existing employees.

    1. Seller of teapots*

      I don’t think it’s just about money. From comments in the thread I think OP is looking to move on for a variety of reasons, salary being one of them.

  10. Meg*

    Don’t forget to take into account benefits as well….I’m currently only paying $5/month for pretty great health insurance (my company covers 90%). I was chatting with a coworker who mentioned that she was paying $200-$300/month for insurance just for herself at a previous job. Depending on shifts in the benefits packages the take home pay difference may not be as dramatic.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yes. I went from paying 20% of the premiums on a garbage plan to 0% when I changed jobs last year. So I took a small decrease in wages to start and brought home more right away.

    2. AnonToday*

      Benefits definitely jump out here. Especially if care giving plays a role…which is not to say that the person needing care is on the OPs medical plan…but PTO, FMLA, flexible hours, etc are gold to someone who has a less traditional personal situation.

  11. Bertha*

    Something to keep in mind is that compensation isn’t just salary; I have thought I was getting a generous deal in the past, and then was surprised to see how much benefits cost. In my current job, while I am technically making 30% more than I was before, my take home pay is only 15% more, and with the same level of benefits (meaning, healthcare for myself and my spouse, 401k, etc.)! The medical coverage is better in many ways (I have a much larger network) but the premiums are double what I paid before. My spouse was looking at a job where he would be able to come off of my insurance, at a company that didn’t charge employees premiums. We would have saved $6000 per year just on that alone, so even if he was paid the exact same amount as before, our combined pay would have increased.

    In early salary negotiations, when I’ve been asked how much I was expecting, I’d give a range at the beginning.. but also tell them that it depended on the benefits package.

  12. CommanderBanana*

    Personally, someone asking for 10K over the stated offer wouldn’t be hugely alarming for me BUT they would need to have a pretty strong case for why they merited it.

    I have interviewed people who wanted things like 90K for a fairly entry-level position with no direct reports, and it just made them look foolish and wasted my time.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I think this depends on the role. There are some roles where I need a solid person in the job but it’s just not worth that much more to me to get a truly excellent widget inspector, versus a good one.

      1. Anon For Always*

        The role and the salary being offered.

        An extra 10K on a 200K salary is a very small increase. An extra 10K on a 50K salary is pretty huge. So a lot of it depends on the current salary range.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          Right. In this case it was a fairly entry-level position that would have paid maybe 45-50, and the person wanted 90K.

          The thing is, if the LW’s main priority is salary and it sounds like it is, that’s okay – but that means you’ve got to adjust your search accordingly. I don’t think it means she shouldn’t apply for this job, and in some ways it makes it easier because it makes some jobs a non-starter.

  13. Sleepytime Tea*

    So really, if you are being paid above average for the industry in your current role right now, the most realistic way to get a pay increase is to make an upward move, not a lateral one. Lateral moves do not always include pay increases and if you’re already very well paid for what you do… there’s not a good reason to pay significantly above market rates, from the company’s perspective. You have to be doing more for them, and more means more responsibility, which means, frequently, a higher level position.

    It may be that with the medical issues and things happening in your family that taking on more responsibility isn’t a good fit right now, and it may be that you like what you do and don’t want to change it up with what comes with whatever the next step is. But unfortunately, from a business perspective, I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to find a lateral position that is going to pay you even more than you already make when you’re topping out the industry average.

    That’s no reason not to go for it and see if they can meet you on the salary, following Alison’s advice. And especially with things like medical issues, you may find that there are other benefits that make up some of what you are looking for in salary. If their medical plan is significantly better, if they offer large FSA or HSA contributions for medical costs, etc. then you may not need that large of an increase because you’ll be getting the money you need for medical costs through their benefits program. Or, you might find that their medical benefits are significantly worse, and even with a large increase you’re not going to have the money you need or expected at the end of the day because your medical bill have changed.

    But ultimately, you’re going to have the best chance at a salary increase that large if you make an upward move rather than a lateral one, and since you’ve been in your current position for awhile (I’m assuming) then it would make sense for it to be time to start moving up the ladder a little bit and developing your career.

    1. TheReader*

      This would be an upward move, not a lateral one. It’s just a smaller company, hence the lower salary.

      And unfortunately, it’s my mother having medical issues — so there’s no way for my benefits to cover her costs. They could theoretically help increase my overall take home pay, but I have pretty good benefits at my current job, so I’m not sure of it.

      1. wittyrepartee*

        Is it possible for you to legally make your mother your dependent?

        “To be allowed to claim your parent as a dependent, your parent’s taxable income cannot be more than $4,050 for your 2017 tax year. This means that if your parent earns more than $4,050, you aren’t eligible to claim them as a dependent. Non-taxable income, such as Social Security, does not count toward this amount.”

        1. wittyrepartee*

          Above and beyond this, check to see the specific policies of the company with benefits. Some insurance companies allow your parents to be added as dependents.

          1. Yvette*

            Yes very much this. OldJob wanted to be inclusive of non-traditional families so people who were not legally married to someone could cover one significant other which extended to a parent.

          2. Bunny Hopping*

            Insurance broker here… even if someone meets the definition of a dependent under the IRC code, the medical plan can exclude them. It is rare to find a corporate plan that would cover someone’s parents.

      2. Bex*

        Unfortunately, I think this might make it a little harder. In my hiring experience, I can really only justify the top of the range for an excellent candidate with years of lateral experience. There’s no way I could go $10K over my budget for someone (even a strong candidate) moving up from a junior position. It would also create huge parity issues with existing employees.

  14. kittymommy*

    Hmm, with the new information I would definitely make sure you go in with your priorities in place. If maybe you were moving to a higher cost of living area or just a higher-paying area in general, asking for an extra $10K on what they’re offering might have some traction, but same field, same area…eehh, I think it might be more difficult. On the other hand, I work for government and if a candidate asked for outside the listed and approved pay grade for that job it would have to go for board vote (in a public meeting) and ain’t nobody doing that.

    Good luck.

  15. lulu*

    would be happy to take it at $10k more than offered
    Just a caveat that the top of their range is not necessarily what’s offered. We’ve heard many times about companies that post a range for a position but would never hire someone at the top of that range. Misleading but common unfortunately

  16. SongbirdT*

    I went through the job hunt thing fairly recently, and in nearly every initial phone-screen interview I had, the recruiter asked me about salary requirements, so this question may partially solve itself. You can use Alison’s example to rehearse your response when you’re asked. The conversation may go something like this:

    Recruiter: What are your salary requirements?
    Candidate: I’m glad you asked. I noted your range in the posting as X, but I’m hoping to land somewhere in the range of Y-Z. Do you have any wiggle room for that?
    Recruiter: Yes, the hiring manager has some leeway when it comes to salary.
    Candidate: Great! I look forward to continuing the conversation. (Yay!)
    — OR–
    Recruiter: Unfortunately, our posted range is absolutely firm.
    Candidate: Thanks for letting me know. Since that’s the case, I don’t think it makes sense for me to continue in the process, but I appreciate your time today! (Boo!)

    Good luck, OP!

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I have certainly had plenty of jobs do this to me. They ask my “desired salary” in the application, but then they tell me in the initial call that they can’t do that, and ask if it still makes sense to keep talking. I think you could try to turn the tables in the way you describe.

    2. Lily*

      If a job posting doesn’t post the salary range, and the recruiter asks that question, what do you respond? I don’t have an absolute requirement right now (first job out of grad school) but there’s a minimum amount I have in mind.

      I don’t want to low ball my self if they were planning on offering more, but I have no idea because it doesn’t say.

      1. wittyrepartee*

        “I don’t typically discuss that at this point in the interview process. I’m sure if this is a good fit, we’ll be able to work out the pay in a way that works for both of us.”

        I’m not great at this line, but I’ve tried it before.

        You can also just research the position and say “___-____ seems to be a standard range for this type of position in the ____ area, is that similar to what you’re considering for this position?”

        1. Lily*

          It could be a bit rude, but I’m tempted to answer with “I’m sure that if this is a good fit, we’ll be able to work out the pay in a way that works for both of us. Could you tell me what salary range you’re considering right now?”

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oooh no, that’s not going to fly with a good interviewer. They don’t want to waste their time and, yes, they should disclose their own range to prevent that, but many don’t and still won’t accept that answer. (I wouldn’t. Although I also wouldn’t play coy in my side of it either.)

              1. Seller of teapots*

                I posed an example of what I do below, but in my experience cheerfully flipping the script works wonders. It never failed me!

            1. Jadelyn*

              You may not be able to entirely avoid giving a number, is the thing – at least not if you want to continue in the process. If you’re okay with them knocking you out of the running, you could hold firm on it with something like “I would need to know more about the position duties/hours/benefits/etc. before I could give you a number,” but be prepared for the recruiter to push back on that, and/or for them to maybe say “Not worth the hassle” and decline to move you forward if you go that route.

      2. SongbirdT*

        Here’s what I did (your mileage may vary)….
        I took my minimum – 75k – added 5k to that number, and then said I wanted to be in the range of 75-80k. The recruiter said that would work and I moved forward. I got three offers in that job hunt ranging from 85k – 105k. So while my stated range was below what they normally pay, none of the companies took advantage of that and they all made me fair offers. For context, I am a woman with no formal degree but 10+ years experience in my technical field + tech certifications.

        I realize this is anecdotal evidence, but I don’t believe I’m an anomaly. If you’re applying carefully to reputable companies, they will make a fair offer regardless of your stated range.

      3. Seller of teapots*

        I am in sales so this may feel easier for me to pull off than others but I just turn it back on the recruiter (or whoever is asking).

        Recruiter: We should discuss salary. What is your desired salary?
        Me: Ah, I’m so glad you brought that up! What *is* the range for this position?

        It’s seriously worked every single time.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          You’ve been lucky! A lot of interviewers will just say, “It’ll depend on the candidate’s experience. What’s the range you’re looking for?” and at that point you really need to say something.

        2. The New Wanderer*

          I tried this too, bu only one out of four recruiters gave me a range. The other times the recruiters pushed back with what Alison said. But I must have been within the mystery ranges because none of the recruiters were put off by my suggested range (always adding “depending on total compensation/benefits/etc”) and I’m pretty sure based on market research that I was not low-balling myself.

  17. Hiring Mgr*

    In terms of when to mention this, I would do it at the initial phone screen, or whatever the first step in the process is. If it’s that essential to you, there’s no point in wasting time if they can’t meet your requirements

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I think I agree. It’s worth doing because you never know, and you have nothing to lose (you don’t want this job if they can’t give you this amount) – but in general, I’d say 10K over the top of the stated range is a longshot. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though.

    2. Almond Oil*

      I disagree, if the 10K is a small % increase (less than 10%). I think it would be better to have them pick you and then negotiate that amount, in most cases at that point it would be cheaper to give you the raise than to go through the hiring process again, especially if its the average raise %, and at that point you likely have interviewed with several people who can push/validate that getting you is worth the increase. But that is only if you are really an “incredible fit” and bring more than they asked to the table.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        I get what you’re saying, but personally I couldn’t go ahead as a candidate without knowing that they could meet my range or at least told me they were flexible, just from time standpoint. Also, they probably wouldn’t have to go through the whole process from scratch again, but just reach back out to one of the runner up candidates.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        That would be really tough to do, though, if the company has a hard ceiling. If the company has been up front about salary and you’re not satisfied with that, then it’s best to get that out of the way early on.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          Agree. By posting their salary range, they’re assuming people will filter themselves out if that range doesn’t work for them. By applying, it’s implied that you’re willing to work for what they’re offering. It’s a long shot to apply hoping they’ll move their budget for you (not impossible, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, but I would bring this up in the first conversation).

          1. New ED*

            As a hiring manager with a posted range for positions I would be really upset if someone wasn’t willing to accept the range and wasn’t up front about it. No way would I negotiate at that point, although I might consider going slightly above the range if someone had been up front at the beginning of the hiring process. And to be clear, we never play coy with salary offered and always post it in the job listing or share it in the screening interview to avoid wasting anyone’s time.

      3. Math!*

        Math-ing what OP said, it seems s/he is making $60k now, the job was posted with a max salary of $56K, and OP is hoping to get $66k. If that’s right, then $10k is 17% of the $56k they’re willing to pay. That’s a huge difference!

      4. Jadelyn*

        They wouldn’t necessarily be going through the whole hiring process again, though – if a final candidate suddenly decides to play hardball on salary, we would just reach out to one of our runner-up candidates instead. Pulling an offer from someone doesn’t necessarily mean starting over from scratch in the recruiting process.

        Plus, I’d feel like the candidate interviewed in bad faith if they suddenly tell me, right at the end, that their absolute minimum acceptable salary is higher than our maximum. That’s why the range is posted with the job description! So that people can self-select out if they aren’t willing to work for that amount. If you apply and get all the way to the end and then decide to push for more, it’s going to feel like a bait-and-switch from the other side of the table.

        1. JulieCanCan*

          I agree and that’s exactly how I’d feel if I was the hiring manager; providing the salary range up-front is usually done to avoid exactly the type of scenario OP is considering. Most organizations have pretty set/rigid budgets in place when hiring. If they’re being transparent from the start with the numbers and then in the final stretch of the interview process OP broaches the issue of wanting/needing a salary that is more than their top number, well, I know I’d probably be so irritated that I’d want to take OP out of the running if I had other qualified candidates.

          I’m not sure why, if earning a higher salary is one of the main reasons OP is looking for a new job, this role is even a consideration.

      5. beth*

        If the company is being up-front about their salary range, it would feel wrong to me to go through the whole interview process without disclosing that I’m looking for more than their maximum. They’re doing the right thing by disclosing their budget, which I wish all companies would do; I wouldn’t want to discourage that by wasting their time when I wouldn’t accept a salary in that range.

      6. Arjay*

        But if their range is something like $40 – $50,000, the $1o,000 over the top of the range could be up to $20,000 over an offer within that range.

      7. Ego Chamber*

        “in most cases at that point it would be cheaper to give you the raise than to go through the hiring process again,”

        Meanwhile, on the other side of this, the company is like Candidate X has invested so much time and effort interviewing with us and getting to know the team, I’m sure s/he’d rather accept the bottom of our range than have to go through that whole mess all over again! Mwahahahaha!

        Christ I hate all of this. Hiring shouldn’t involve so much goddamn game theory. :(

        1. JulieCanCan*

          I just lol’ed at this ^^^^^ because it’s true – so much b.s to deal with and then everyone is supposed to pretend it’s not going on!

          And then if you GET the job and you end up working at the company because, well, you need a job, there’s that underlying knowledge that they kind of played you during the hiring process, or at least tried a little. Now you’re supposed to forget it all and be the dedicated, always-positive employee. : /

  18. Close Bracket*

    Well, if your current company pays unusually well for your industry, it might not be reasonable to expect a pay raise when you move somewhere else, particularly if it’s a lateral move, those might not be realistic expectations.

    I had this problem during my last job search, and I am having this problem again. I am now living in a lower cost of living area with an additional degree since my last search. I am going to settle for breaking even on salary once cost of living is taken into account. It will be a paycut in numbers and won’t take my additional qualifications into account, but realistically, that’s what I can get.

  19. Lily*

    If the company doesn’t post a salary with the job posting, when is an appropriate time to ask for it? After the first interview? At the end when they ask you if you have any questions? Wait until you get an offer?

    1. Anon For Always*

      I tend to ask during the screening interview or first interview. Primarily because I see no point in wasting my time or the potential employers time if their salary range wouldn’t work for me. However, I also work in an industry where salary ranges can range wildly and some employers are completely unrealistic about their salary range (think asking for someone with significant experience, etc., to work for 50% of market rate). So I want and need to screen out those employers.

      1. Lily*

        I work in a similar industry which is why it’s such a huge question mark. I guess I’ll ask in early interviews to stop wasting people’s time and not get my hopes up (they’re often jobs I would have liked or enjoyed).

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We bring it up during the phone screen. That way if we’re way off base, we don’t do an in person interview and waste their time.

      If anything, I wouldn’t wait until much later than that. Some will be upset you dared ask, most reasonable people know you’re not interviewing because you hope up work there for whatever crumbs they toss at you.

      1. Lily*

        These are places people work “for the good of the cause” so they might think people will work for breadcrumbs. Or think that they should. But hopefully they’ll be happier that I saved them time and effort in case rather than just outraged.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          If they’re going to be upset that you have a standard of living you require, you don’t want to be involved with their cause. Unless you’re a nun or up for a vow of poverty, then heck yeah because that’s a choice and I’m all for choices!

      2. Jadelyn*

        Same – and we’re also a nonprofit where people work “for the cause”, but we understand not everyone can afford to do that, so we try not to waste anyone’s time if salary expectations are wildly incompatible.

  20. AnotherAlison*

    OP, I’m worried that you have some blind spots because of the leadership changes at your current place and this new thing is in front of you right now. It sounds like you are doing this for strategic reasons, and hoping to get a pay bump, but it’s not clear that the strategic reasons are fully vetted. Consider where you want to be in 5 years, and if this role is giving you the skills and experience to get there. Sometimes you can get a higher role at a smaller company, which positions you for that same title at a bigger company, which would come with a future pay bump. Sometimes you get to where multiple hats, so you can move to a new function in the future, or get vital experience in a particular area that most people in your industry need to be a director or VP in the future. If you are getting something really valuable with this new role, then I don’t think the pay difference is a drop in the bucket either way. If the net difference is $6,000/yr, but it’s a job that is really what you want, then all you need is to make up $500/month. You can resell stuff on FB or something for that.

    Of course, go through the process and try to get what you can salary-wise, but don’t hinge the whole decision on today’s salary. Look at which position gets you where you want to be long-term. It might be there, it might be at your current place, or Option C might show up if you turn this down.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I get this, but if someone urgently needs the money now, that’s their reality. I’ve been there.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Sadly when in a situation where there’s no time to work with, desperate measures are necessary. Selling off items, even at the high cost of going to quick sale locations to liquidate, moving in with family, etc. Weekend retail shifts are what my mind are screaming but given the caretaker issues, I’m sure that time is sadly not necessarily in surplus to do that.

        It doesn’t change the fact your skills and labor and experience are only worth the rate businesses are paying at any given time.

  21. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    We wouldn’t try negotiating if someone was 10k over our ceiling. That’s essentially 3 years of raises in a new hire basket.

    It’s always worth asking for since you don’t need to move for any other reason than your need for a pay bump. But you will look out of touch and unless you click with the hiring manager(s) and person with the purse strings, you’re setting up for an uphill battle.

    Just from my perspective from a hiring person within small business. Smaller companies have less of a purse, not an easy battle to get paid more unless they know someone who will preach to them about your golden wings and such.

      1. Adeline*

        I took a job where I had to negotiate hard to get above the top advertised rate (and I was definitely worth every penny). What I hadn’t thought about was that I was creating my own compensation ceiling – if they advertised $n and stretched everything to pay you $n+10k, they aren’t likely to be able to offer you $n+12k next year, and you may get stuck on $n+10k for longer than you would if you’d looked for a job in the right band in the first place.

  22. Rusty Shackelford*

    As others have said, the percentage you’re asking for is a lot more relevant than the dollar amount. Is that extra $10K an extra 25%? An extra 5%?

    1. Math!*

      If desired salary is 10% higher than current salary, and the advertised salary is $4k below current salary and $10k below desired salary, that would make current salary $60k, desired salary $66k, which is 17% over the advertised max salary of $56k. Never say never but that seems like a stretch to me.

    2. candles or essential oil diffusers*

      I read above where the OP answered that he is at $270K so the $10 K would be less than 3% so it should be ok, as long as he is the better candidate.

      1. Math!*

        I read that $270 was not thousands, it was how much the 10% raise would be in each biweekly paycheck.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I think you read wrong…

        He said $270 a month increase in income would be enough to cover the rent increase he’s expecting.

  23. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’ve got to be the person who also reminds everyone when asking for a x amount above their recognized budget, that’s not taking into consideration their costs above your paid wages.

    10k more means their paying more in payroll liabilities, workers comp and unemployment rates are based on your overall payroll, so the more you pay people, the more you pay out to the insurance due to higher risks and potential payouts. So your 10k bump is a 12-14k charge in the end that has to be accounted for.

    So we’re not necessarily being mega Scrooge McDuck when we see 10k over the top salary request.

    On top of it…do you have an IRA match? That’s another bill that goes up with pay increase. Which of course is why breaking out the benefits involved is massively important.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        No. I meant IRA as it’s what we have.

        401(k) isn’t the only retirement option for businesses.

    1. JulieCanCan*

      I was just going to say, some organizations do an employer MATCH *and* an employer CONTRIBUTION – two separate sums. And depending on the original salary and what percentage of the salary is matched and the amount they also contribute, that can add up to a very substantial figure ON TOP of salary and other benefits.

      That being said, if OP needs the higher salary ASAP and needs the increase to be reflected immediately ie in their paychecks (vs. potential an end-of-year bonus or increases that might not be accessible for a long time like a 401(k) ), the issue should be addressed sooner rather than later with hiring people. It will be a waste of everyone’s time to go through phone interview, initial in-person interviews, etc if the two parties clearly aren’t going to align on the salary issue.

  24. Res Admin*

    Just a word of caution: It was not my decision (I wasn’t even on the hiring committee), however the last time we had someone come back and immediately ask for well above the top of range, the offer got pulled pretty quickly and we moved on to someone else. No negotiation–much to the shock of the candidate. This candidate was very well qualified and came highly recommended, however we posted the salary range that we were able to pay (even if we could get approval to offer more, we were already offering well above the pay grade for similar positions in our overall location). The immediate request for well above the top of range (which is what was offered) just really annoyed the hiring committee and, ultimately, the final decision maker and main HR. Which was bad for the candidate since he had other significant non-financial reasons for wanting to get hired for this position.

    SHORT VERSION: If you are going to go in hoping to get that much more, you had better be able to back it up substantially and quickly.

  25. Ruth (UK)*

    I largely agree with this, however I disagree with the “[…] a job you love that only pays $4k less than you’re making […]” bit, specifically about the ‘only’ – $4k may be quite a lot (percentage wise) depending on what the OP is making. I know they say their job pays well for their industry, but without knowing what that industry is, that still may not be very much. I mean, it could be loads, but I’m guessing not if the OP is concerned about the £4k less…

    It struck me particularly I think as I make around 18k, and made 16k at my last job. The £2k increase was large and noticeable for me while in those ranges. It would take some truly exceptional circumstances (as in, I can’t think of any) for me to leave my job for one that pays £4k less… but if I was making, say, £30k or £40k+ then that may not be the case.

    ps. I realise I switched to pounds here, but I feel it’s still the same point. Which is slightly that it’s difficult to talk about some of the numbers (eg. how much less or more a job pays) without knowing all the numbers (the total salary) since we have no idea how big a chunk that is / how much of a difference that is percentage wise, and so how big an impact it might have on finances overall…

    1. Ruth (UK)*

      Oh wait, I’ve just re-read and I previously missed, “$10k more than offered (still less than a 10% raise from my current job).” – which suggests the OP makes a very large salary, and so I agree $4k may not actually be very much.

  26. Athlum*

    Please, please bring it up at the phone screen (or first interview if the company doesn’t phone screen, which they should.) Any group of people worth working for will be grateful to find out early in the process if your salary requirements are so disconnected from what they are willing to pay for the position – which is the point of publicly listing the range in the first place. If you make people take time away from their workload (which is presumably already too high, or they wouldn’t need to hire you) to interview you and only find out afterward that you have no interest in the position at the stated range, you get extreme annoyance instead of gratitude at that point. Not good if you want to entertain the possibility of working there in the future when money is not so tight…

    Source: just had a candidate do this to us. Salary was discussed explicitly in the phone screen and she was told “there is no wiggle room above this range.” Wasted all of our time because, and I quote, she “knew about the range but thought that that it could go up.” She wanted 10k above our max – and our max was set where it was because anything higher would create parity issues for the rest of the team. Sometimes no wiggle room really does mean no wiggle room!

    1. Res Admin*

      Agreed. Bring it up early. That way if they cannot do it for this specific position, no one is wasting time. Most employers would appreciate the heads up and keep you in mind for something later if they do find something in the right pay range that would be a good fit. Waiting until the end of the process is just going to make them want to hire you never.

    2. Jadelyn*

      We once had a person get hired, signed offer letter and everything, came in to our main branch for her orientation, left around noon to go to the branch she was actually going to be working out of…and never showed up. We later got an email saying she had reconsidered and the pay wasn’t high enough, so she was backing out.

      Talk about waiting til the last second – and we are never, ever going to consider her for another position here again after that stunt. So yeah. Even if you don’t pin down a hard number right off, at least make sure there’s overlap in the ranges between what they’re offering and what you need. You create a lot of ill-will for yourself by waiting til late in the process to do that.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Oh daaaaamn, that sounds like she heard something in orientation and spooked. Or someone sent her another offer. Smells so fishy to me but I’ve seen my share of quiting on the first day for far less reason.

  27. Hiring Mgr*

    Also, if your friend knows the leaders of the company well enough to know their salary negotiation practices (i’m skeptical), you should be able to find out this info..

  28. Not A Manager*

    You might be trying to satisfy too many agendas at once. It sounds like you want to make a career move, AND you urgently need more money or better benefits. It’s possible that you can get one or the other, but not both at once. You’re very valuable at your current job. Could you negotiate a raise or more favorable working conditions during your mother’s illness?

    Best wishes for your mother’s ongoing health.

  29. Leela*

    I couldn’t quite tell from the letter if moving industries means moving job types as well (like HR in tech v going into HR in hospitality), or if it would be a move more similar to something like I have programming in my current industry, so I’d be a great fit as product testing in this new industry (you mention you’d be a great fit so I’m going to guess it’s more like the first one)?

    But I’ll say this as a former recruiter: it can be hard to keep up a salary moving like this, for a few reasons. One, the company has to justify paying you this salary not only between themselves as you, but checking against what other people in that role currently make. Even if you’re a great fit, it’s going to be very, very hard to justify paying you say, 10K over what people who are doing that job currently at the company make. It’s also going to be hell to pay for them if anyone ever finds out that they paid a newcomer from a different industry a significant amount more than they’re making, without any reason why other than “they used to make a little less than this and wanted a raise when moving”.

    Another reason is (and this is totally dependent on what the difference between the two jobs and two industries are, this might not apply to you at all!) that someone simply isn’t worth as much as a Y, which they haven’t been doing, as an X, which they did for years. I saw this all the time when I recruited tech. People who were VPs of a bank have moved into programming, and want to make as much as a programmer as they were making as a VP and unfortunately, they just aren’t worth as much as a programmer at this point. That’s a pretty wide gap to use as an example but it’s a literal call I had, and often it can be more like “well I was a programmer at my last job for our tiny backend database, I want to make more than that to now work at Starbucks corporate programming a secure shopping cart, which I have never done”.

    Either way, good luck on the interview and I hope that you and the company come to a reasonable consensus for both of you or that you find something that does!

  30. learnedthehardway*

    I think another factor you need to consider is stability. Yes, you need extra income for the medical expenses that are happening in your family. However, you also need to be sure that your job (and company) will be there for you. Right now, you have a good track record within your current company – you’re a known quantity, you’re successful, etc. etc. Moving to another company entails a certain amount of risk of whether you’ll be a good fit, etc. etc. You may find it more advantageous to stay with your current company, even if that does entail some debt.

    1. Elizabeth Proctor*

      This is a good point. You’ve likely earned the right to take a day off here or there or leave early or arrive late at your current company. They know your work, they trust you, etc. But if you have to take time off for caregiving in the first few months with a new organization, that might not look good (or even be allowed).

  31. Kren*

    What if it’s not a job you’ll love, but you just want to get a foot in a new industry, and you don’t necessarily know if it’s right for you?

    I’m in a similar position as the LW. I’ve been working in corporate America for a few years and am enjoying decent pay. I’m good at the job, but I’m kind of over it. At the same time, with my work history, similar companies seem to expect me to just keep doing that and not risk hiring me for a different role.

    Literally half-an-hour ago, a small company I applied to invited me to an interview. I did some research, and I started getting flashbacks from when I used to work at small companies (long story short, my experience with them was never good). Should I even try? Am I taking my current job for granted?

    1. Hmmm*

      I always figure there’s no harm in showing up and trying! You also have the opportunity to really determine if the other job is what you want to do, since you’re currently employed.

  32. MistOrMister*

    If the money is more important than changing jobs, maybe the option is there for working OT at the current job. Depending on how much you make you could potentially clear the extra $500 a month working about 2 extra hours a day. It’s not fun, but for me it beat having to get a 2nd job. Even if their is no available OT in your current role, since you’re with a large company maybe you could ask if there are any other departments that need help on an OT basis. Or, as someone else commented, what about asking for a raise? Or potentially getting a 2nd job? (although, I considered getting a 2nd job once myself and the cons outweighed the pros for me!)

    One other thing to keep in mind with a smaller company is that their high end number really might be higher than they want to go. I interviewed at a small company that listed about a 30k range. I asked for the top of the range as it was about 3k more than what I was making. Ended up not getting the position, which they said was because they felt the position was not senior enough for my skill set (although it was listed and described as what I was currently doing plus some extra responsibilities). I certainly could be wrong, but I very much felt that asking for their high number worked against me. I can’t imagine that they would have at all entertained me asking for anything above that. Granted this is just one experience, but maybe something to keep in mind especially with a smaller place.

  33. TheReader*

    Interesting update: the same company I’m hoping to move to has listed a new job, at the same level (which I’m also qualified for — though I’d prefer the original one) with a salary in my goal range. Would bringing that up during the conversation about salary range be helpful?

    1. Ego Chamber*

      People don’t usually comment here past a day or 2 after the original letter posts, but in case you see this: only try for both jobs if you can make a case that you’re truly qualified for both jobs, but know that the company will probably want to pursue you for one or the other, not both at once.

      If there’s anything about the higher salaried job that you’re “more interested in pursuing long term” or something, say that, and hopefully they can just slot you into interviews for that job instead. You would be dropping out of the process for the first job though, since most companies won’t interview you for 2 jobs at once.

      It is a tricky thing to apply for more than one job with one company in quick succession, so go for the one you’re definitely, definitely more qualified for and have a better chance of getting, or else it’s not even worth the potential drama that could attach to you deviating from typical candidate behavior.

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