should you always ask for the top of the salary range?

A reader writes:

I work in an expensive city with a thriving job market, and I am in the middle of a job search/hiring process, leaving a pretty severely underpaid job. Luckily, this potential new position has a salary range posted in the job listing. The range is about $10,000. My current job salary is more than $10,000 below the low end of the range for this new job, so getting this job even at the lowest end would be a huge bump for me, but I want to make sure I can get the maximum pay bump I can anyway.

If I get an offer or question about what salary I’m looking for, should I ask for the top of the range or near there? When I was accepting my current poorly paid job, I got them up to what they told me was the highest they’d go. If this new job is clear about the max they’d go, is there any good reason not to ask for that if I consider myself a strong and qualified candidate? It wouldn’t be like I’m pulling out a number that is way out of their range like that person who asked for 40% over range. The worst they can do is say, “No, but we can do X.” I’m assuming they aren’t going to be asking me what I currently make, but the top end of the range is over $20,000 more. Is it that crazy to try to negotiate a $20,000 pay bump between jobs?

It’s not crazy to try to negotiate a $20,000 pay bump from your old job to your new job!

That’s especially true if you know that you were underpaid at the old one … but even if that weren’t the case, it still wouldn’t be crazy. This employer has told you what they consider a reasonable range for the work, so if you ask for something within that range — even at the top of it — you know that you’re not going to be wildly outside what they were envisioning.

That doesn’t mean you’ll get it, of course. They might tell you that the top of the range is only for people with X experience, or that they don’t start anyone at the top (in which case they have no business listing it in the ad, but some companies still do). But you can be confident you’re suggesting a reasonable number, not one that would mark you as weirdly out-of-touch.

There are some times when it doesn’t make sense to ask for the top of the range, like if you’re on the less qualified end of things and the job will be a stretch. But if you’re a strong, qualified candidate, go for it.

And in general, don’t get too caught up in worrying you can’t possibly warrant such a large increase between jobs. People get massive pay bumps by changing jobs all the time. Sometimes it’s because they were underpaid at their old job, sometimes it’s because that’s a reasonable bump for the change in responsibilities they’re taking on, sometimes it’s because it’s a different industry or there are differences in hours or benefits, and sometimes it’s just the random way of the world. Just as you don’t want employers tying your pay to what you’ve been earning, don’t let your own brain hold you back that way either.

{ 76 comments… read them below }

  1. Hailrobonia*

    Where I work it’s an open secret that our salary ranges are mostly bullshit. Hardly anyone even reaches the midpoint, even after working here for years.

    1. AnonThisTime*

      We started the process of implementing them in early 2020 (and there were understandable delays when COVID took higher priority) and we’re just the same- there’s a vague mindset that by the time you’re hitting the midpoint you should be getting promoted, if you were really all that good. We’re also guilty of making the ranges so large they’re effectively useless- my current salary range is so big that the top end of the range is 160% of the bottom end of the range.

      OP says the difference between top and bottom of the range is ~20K. OP, how big is that relative to the range? A range that goes from 50-70K is different from a range that goes from 140-160K. If the range is huge relative to the salaries, it’s more likely the company will deny you the top end (and maybe denies anyone the top end). If the range is relatively tight, it’s more likely that they’re actually presenting you with realistic numbers.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        I believe the range is only (“only”) $10k, it’s just that they currently make $10k less than the lower end of the range, so going from old salary to t0p of the new salary range would be a $20k increase.

        Your point remains though that the swing on a salary of $30-40k is far different than that same amount on a salary of $180-190k. On one end it’s a relatively large difference, the other end feels like splitting hairs.

  2. Fourth and Inches*

    Be careful about getting too close to the top of the pay grade because then you may be limited in raises in the future. When I negotiated for my current role, I was told specifically that the salary I wanted was at the top of the pay grade, and that they could give it to me but that I could only expect ~0.5-1.0% raises until I qualified for a promotion. Not all organizations will work that way, but it’s something to keep in mind.

    1. Cat Tree*

      Mathematically, it’s better to start high and get small raises than to start low and get bigger raises to get to the same end point.

      1. This is Artemesia*

        This. There is no upside to starting lower. I think the way to approach it is, ‘with my level of experience with X Y and Z and my record of delivering ABC, I would expect to come in near the top of the range.’ You are experienced and not just entering the field — so at least assume and ask for something near the top of the range.

      2. Fourth and Inches*

        Lots of people replied to my comment, but I’ll leave my reply here. I agree that more money is more money, which is why I accepted the role I’m in now. But both managers I’ve had in this role got really worried when my raise was so much smaller than everyone else’s. I understand it’s simply because of the limitations of the pay grade and I’m totally fine with it. However OP might be pissed that Fergus got a 5% raise and she only got 1% even if it’s because because she’s at the top of the range and she makes more money than him anyway. *shrug*

      3. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yes, it makes no sense to shoot for a lower salary so you can get a bigger increase later!

        When I finally got a promotion that had been in the works for ages, my boss said “I can either give you X+Y now but you won’t get a raise when we do annual reviews in two months, or you can take X now and get the bump with the annual raise.” I said I’d think about it and then got really confused and overthought everything because the answer seemed so obvious that I felt I must be missing something for them to even ask me. Finally I realized there was literally no reason ever to wait for the raise, and I should take it all right away.

        It also reminds me a bit of when people talk about declining a raise because they didn’t want to be in a higher tax bracket. There are very limited instances where earning more money can actually cause a problem for someone (usually more things like when it puts you over the threshold for some kind of assistance) but 99% of the time the people saying that just don’t understand how marginal tax brackets work!

        1. The OTHER Other*

          We’ve also seen many letters where that promised increase never happens. If it’s not in some kind of contract there’s no guarantee it will ever happen. For that matter, if it’s not in writing there’s no guarantee anyone will even admit to remembering the promise when reviews or raises happen.

          It’s not just that a hamburger today is worth more than a hamburger tomorrow; a hamburger today is worth much more than a PROMISE of a hamburger tomorrow.

    2. urguncle*

      If I make more and get smaller raises, I’m still getting more in the long run though. The math ain’t mathing on this.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I found out that my coworker of equal skill/experience/work makes 10% more than me. I asked for a raise of 10% (not based on what she makes, but based on what I’m worth – I was already planning to ask for a raise before I had this info). They denied and said they’d ‘make things even’ at review time.

        At review time, they bragged about how they gave me a 6% raise and everyone else in the department got 3%.
        …Which means my coworker still makes ~7% more than me.

        3% of a bigger number is more money than 4% of a smaller number. Its pretty basic math that everyone in my field should understand.

    3. A lawyer*

      Sounds like a good setup to have somebody take the job and leave after a couple of years.

    4. BRR*

      Why is it a bad thing to start at the top of the range and get smaller raises? The only real downside would be feeling like you got smaller raises but I’d rather have the money up front.

      1. This is Artemesia*

        And if it is really true that raises are blocked, well that is when you quietly begin to look for the next job and move on at the end of the second year.

      2. quill*

        Yeah, there’s the issue if the raise doesn’t keep up with cost of living, but it’s easier to deal with the cost of living the more money you make.

      3. Miette*

        Not a bad thing at all, but I’ve worked places where top-of-the-range candidates were called out as such, as if it was a bad thing to consider them for interview since they’d be “looking soon anyway” once hired and presumably disappointed by smaller raises. The goal was always to hire someone at 60% of the band or lower. I mean if that’s the goal, then advertise that 60% number as the top of the salary range–I never really got this line of thinking in hiring.

      4. No Longer Looking*

        Agreed. I could see some concern if your % raise history was being viewed as part of your success history by other managers maybe – but honestly it shouldn’t be, so rather than consider the % a problem I’d rather point out the perception problem.

    5. Mouse*

      To illustrate what everyone else is saying, say for simplicity’s sake the range is 1-10. Here are your options:

      Start at 6, and get a +1 raise for five years. In year 1, you make 6. In year 2, you make 7, for a total of 13. In year 3, you make 8, for a total of 21. In year 4, you make 9, for a total of 30. In year 5, you max out the range at 10, for a total of 40.

      Start at 8, and get a +0.5 raise for five years. In year 1, you make 8. In year 2, you make 8.5, for a total of 16.5. In year 3, you make 9, for a total of 25.5. In year 4, you make 9.5, for a total of 35. In year 5, you max out the range at 10, for a total of 45.

      In both scenarios, you max out the range in 5 years and are making 10. But in the second, you’ve made 5 more over the course of your 5 years.

      1. Two Chairs, One to Go*

        Thank you for this. I heard a recruiter say it’s best to start in the mid range because then you get more raises each year. I’d rather start out higher.

        1. The Bat*

          Yeah, seems to me like this is the classic HR line. “But then you’ll have more room to grow!” But what if I want to get paid what I’m worth…now?

      2. Fourth and Inches*

        I did this same math when I took the role, but I wanted to share it with OP because if you look at it too simply, people may find issue not with the total money but with the raise percentages themselves. My recent managers have been worried because your Scenario 1 is technically “twice the raise” of Scenario 2. “If Bob gets a 5% raise, and I get a 1% raise even though I’m a better performer, isn’t that totally unfair??” I also make 30K more than Bob, so I don’t mind, but some people would be majorly insulted on principal.

    6. Lab Boss*

      It also depends on whether they’ve presented OP with the entire range for the position, or just their range for a new hire at the position. They could be presenting her with the max they’d bring in a new hire at, while still having more room for growth once she’s been in the position for some time.

  3. Cdel*

    When I left my agency marketing job for an in-house position, my salary increased $35,000 because I was underpaid at my agency job and the in-house job felt I deserved the higher end of their range due to my experience. If you’re qualified for the role and they’ve stated their pay scale, you’re deserving of the increase in salary no matter what it is!

    1. 2 Cents*

      Same here. I was at an agency doing very specific work for nearly 6 years. At new In-House Job, I first got hired as a contract worker (Agency $$ + $20,000 more), then after 6 months, received a $5,000 raise on top of it. When I was hired by In-House full time, my starting salary was Agency $$ + $40,000. Not once did they ask what I had been making, and all it confirmed was how underpaid I was at the agency. Even at that price, I’m a steal LOL

    2. Lizzie*

      I was in a similar situation, many moons ago, when I went from my law firm job as a paralegal, low pay but with decent overtime opportunities, to my current job, which was much higher pay, and almost no OT required. The range they quoted was only 2K from the low to high, and they offered me the lower. I asked for the highest, and got it. I think because it was such a small difference, but going from my previous base to that was over a 50% increase, with much better benefits too. So even if they hadn’t budged, I still would have made out well.

  4. Lyngend (Canada)*

    Yeah, I’m changing responsibilities with mostly beginner level skills. Definitely asking for more than I’m getting now. But definitely less than someone more experienced. (so $17-20/hr. Where minimum wage is 15.65)

    1. No Longer Looking*

      As a reminder, if you and others consider yourself to be a highly talented and generally well-skilled individual who is jumping to a new responsibility set where you are under-experienced, you can and should try to negotiate a contractual very large year one raise. “I recognize that I’m coming to you without verifiable experience to prove my skills, but I assure you that my skills are impressive and my experience will transfer well and create value. I propose that we resolve this by bringing me in at the low end of your range, and if I have proven my skill and value to your satisfaction by January, then in lieu of a first-year merit raise, you raise my salary to X+Y.”

  5. Alexis Rosay*

    It’s funny how employers use salary ranges. It seems some point the ‘high point’ of a salary range as bait, but never actually offer it. At my old job, it was the exact opposite–they’d post a range and then almost always offer candidates the high end of the range to make them feel good about the offer they were getting (there were a handful of exceptions, often when they needed to hire on a quick timeline and the most qualified applicant was missing certain skills or experiences).

    Nonetheless, I see no reason not to ask for the high end of the range if you’re a good, qualified candidate.

  6. ferrina*

    It’s not about the amount that the salary increases- it’s about whether you are paid fairly for the work that you are doing. Your previous salary is irrelevant- that can actually hold you back if you started at a place a lower pay (or got low pay because discrimination) then are only ‘allowed’ to go up by a set increment. What is important is is the amount that your work is worth at this new place.
    I say this as someone who once increase salary between jobs by $40k- Job A had me paid was less than market rate with a lower title while doing higher level responsibilities (so they could claim that the pay was in line for the title); Job B had similar responsibilities with a higher title and pay on the higher end of market rate.

  7. Public Safety Executive*

    I asked for 20 percent over the maximum allotted salary for my current position and received 10 percent over.

    I had benchmarks and data to back up my ask but granted I have specialized relevant experiences.

    I would not have gotten it if I didn’t ask.

    Ask for the moon, get the stars.

  8. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

    I boomeranged back to a previous employer for a $21K raise over my last job, and a $30K increase from what I had been making there 2.5 years prior in a different role. Plus, the top of the range for my current job gives me the potential to earn another $30K in raises before I would need to be promoted or change positions again. It’s the biggest salary jump I’ve ever had and it’s been truly life changing. If another company thinks your work warrants a much higher salary, believe them and take the money!

  9. Ray Gillette*

    It won’t hurt to ask, but be prepared to hear no. I’ve had two cases where candidates were interested in the top of the posted range. The first example was a guy who met the basic qualifications and interviewed well, but was missing most of the “nice to haves.” I offered him the middle of the posted range, he countered saying he could only accept the top of the range. I told him I couldn’t offer him that much, so he declined the offer. Disappointing, but it happens. Another candidate was overqualified and I did offer her the top of the posted range. She stayed on my team for about 6 months before accepting an internal transfer to a higher paid position in another department. I don’t regret this at all – if she hadn’t taken my offer, we would have missed out on her as an organization. She’s doing great in her new position and I’d rather have her at the company but not on my team than miss out on the opportunity to work with her altogether.

  10. irene adler*

    Oh boy!
    One recruiter got angry at me when I asked for the hiring salary range and then indicated that I was interested in the top end of that range (I met all of the job ad requirements). He explained that this is why he hates the salary discussion-he always has to explain why the candidate does not merit that high a salary.

    And, to nobody’s surprise, I was not moved forward in the hiring process.

    1. kiki*

      It almost seems like that recruiter shouldn’t be a recruiter if he hates a normal part of salary discussion that much! Sorry you had to go through that!

        1. irene adler*

          Yeah! Guess I was supposed to be thrilled with the opportunity to work for someone- salary be damned. Bad, bad me.

    2. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Who was it recently who said “if it’s not possible, why is it listed?”

    3. anonymous73*

      If he got angry that you asked for the salary range, that should have been an indication to you not to want to move forward. If they can’t be transparent about their pay range, what else are they hiding?

      1. irene adler*

        Yep! Jerks will out -every time. It just amazes me-at times- that they exist in the first place.

    4. The OTHER Other*

      Recruiters and employers who hate having the salary discussion hate it because they are offering low salaries. Everyone likes to say they offer “competitive” salaries and “excellent” benefits, but unlike Lake Wobegon, not all children are above average.

  11. Oliverr*

    I recently just accepted a new role where there was a 10k salary range for my location. I was offer the mid-point. I asked for over the top of the range because I knew in other locations people made more. I got the top of the range plus a 1k signing bonus. It is 17k over what my last job paid. It can never hurt to ask!

  12. kiki*

    A range that’s only $10,000 is actually pretty small in the scheme of things. I think you can safely ask for the top of the range and leave it up to them to negotiate down if they feel they should.

    When the range is really huge, I think it makes sense to proceed with more caution and check the market to see if the top of the range really makes sense for your skills and experience first. I’m a software developer, so a lot of ranges are ridiculous, like $50k-190k based on skills and experience. If I had only one year of experience and the average for the market in the area for that is $75k, I might ask for $85k. Asking for $190k would read as strange, even though they’re technically offering that for the role.

    1. Smithy*

      This is exactly what I came here to say.

      I 100% understand that for most individuals a $10k increase in salary is a lot, but in terms of a salary range it’s not enormous. In the grand scheme of things, the type of candidate you can attract offering $50k vs $60k or $90k vs $100k isn’t going to be enormous. However, my current salary band technically has a range of around $60k? So the top to bottom of that range is far more significant and requires being a bit more savvy if you’re going to insist on the top of the range.

    2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      Yeah, my thinking tends to align with this. How much experience do I have? How well qualified am I? If I am the dream candidate, then I’d ask for top of the range (or maybe slightly above). If I feel I’m an above average, but not perfect candidate, I’d probably ask for something around the 75th percentile of the range (so if the range was 50-60k, I’d ask for 56-57k) If I felt my skills were more in the beginner level than what they were looking for, I’d target a little above the bottom number, but less than half of the range.

      Of course, from the outside, you can only know so much, but based on how the job appears to be structured and how well matched you appear to be, this thinking will give you a decent estimation.

    3. talos*

      Oh man, my current software job’s range is 56k-130k and I completely feel you on the meaninglessly large ranges.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I was just about to say this as well. Let’s say the range is $65k to $75k. Even if they offer you $65k, it’s not unreasonable to ask for $75k. It would be very different if the range was larger (for example, $80k-$150k).

  13. Random Person*

    It can happen. I’m transitioning to a job that will pay $21k over my previous job. I didn’t have a posted range to go by though. Instead, I went with a number that had been suggested to me by others in the industry. Then – based on advice I found in other AAM columns – I shut the heck up after saying it! To my surprise, they came back with a number that was slightly higher than I asked for.

    As long as your request is reasonable, which it seems like yours is, it really can’t hurt to try.

  14. Weaponized Pumpkin*

    It’s confusing that some list a hiring range (people entering this position can expect to start between 60-70K based on qualifications) and others are listing a salary band (people in this position will earn 60-70, the higher amount after a period of time). I always assumed any stated range was what I could expect to be hired at and didn’t even know the latter was a thing until recently.

    1. Lab Boss*

      In a perfectly transparent world the listing would include both:
      Position salary range 60-100K
      Hiring range 60-70K

      That lets you know both where the expected negotiation falls around hiring, AND what you can look for in the future at the company.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        At my employer, the listing only includes the huge band, but the internal recruiters are good about sharing the actual hiring range in the first phone screen. Especially because it’s typically way at the bottom of the band.

        I feel like I always share this, but it was so funny. When I got the call with the offer, the HR person said, “We’d like to offer you $X.” I said, “Oh, I was hoping for something closer to $X+15” or whatever the top of the range I had been told was. HR immediately said, “We can offer you $X+2,” and I said “Thanks, I’ll take it!” Like, I knew it couldn’t hurt to ask, and HR knew exactly what she actually had to offer. Done and done in one phone call!

        1. Lab Boss*

          That’s an HR person you know is making that $X offer thinking “come on, don’t be stupid, ask for more, I can literally give you more RIGHT ON THIS CALL, say it, say it!”

      2. Snow Globe*

        As a hiring manager, that doesn’t really make sense to me. If I’m lucky enough to find a great candidate that has all the “must haves” *and* the “nice to haves”, then I’d offer the top of the range for the position, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that great candidate by implying that the most the could expect would be $70k. In my experience it is very unlikely that I would actually find that person, which is why few people are actually hired at the top of the range, but it is not impossible.

  15. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

    I too live in a large coastal technical city. In March this year, i moved jobs for the first time in 5 years. New job salary range was posted between parity-to-current and +15k. I opened the negotiation saying I’d ask for the high end “with consideration given to other benefits.” Not only did they not blink at that high end request, today they just gave me another 3% as a “market adjustment.” (That’s then saying “we realize we’re underpaying you, please don’t leave.”)
    Before leaving, i will share the best piece of job search advice i ever received: ask for as much as you can say without laughing. The onus is on you to practice saying those larger amounts with a straight face.

    1. Lab Boss*

      That’s fantastic advice. Companies rely on modesty/self-doubt/shame to limit what you ask for- if you’re too self-conscious to ask for $15K so you ask for $10K, you just did 1/3 of their negotiating for them.

  16. megaboo*

    I think it depends on the type of job. Government, state, local workers have a strict band with rating percentages that determine salary.

    1. Joielle*

      As a long-time state employee who has hired people lots of times, there might be more flexibility than you think (in my state, anyways, and mostly for higher level positions). I’ve almost always been able to increase salary offers for excellent candidates over what the formula would have given them. It’s basically an appeals process with the centralized HR agency (i.e. you rated them X percent in this area but it should be X+10% because of some particular type of experience that we value highly). It can take a while, so I always let the candidate know that we’re intending to make them an offer but are working with HR to try to increase the salary. People have generally been happy to wait a couple of weeks for that.

      That’s just to say that it doesn’t hurt to ask, even in a government job! But keep in mind that it might not be possible, so I’d make it a fairly soft ask if you would actually accept the job at the original offered salary.

  17. No Tribble At All*

    I demurely said I’m sure their offer would meet industry norms (for a newly created role I was getting hired for). Stalled saying a number until they came back with an offer — $40k over what I was going to ask for. I said yes, that matched my expectations. Sometimes you do get a big pay jump.

  18. Fleur-de-Lis*

    Certain states have made it illegal to ask you about salary history. California is one of them. My current grandboss was trying very hard to ask me what I was making without actually asking me when he offered me my job. I followed Alison’s advice and kept my mouth firmly closed about my salary history while asking for what I wanted and needed to move to the new role. I think that because I kept my counsel, I was placed at a higher step upon hiring, and the end result? I got a 40% raise over my previous position with my former employer! (I was also extremely underpaid at my old job.) So OP – just ask. It can’t hurt.

    Even more good news: All of the workers at my current employer received a good cost of living adjustment for the new fiscal year. The COLA and my regular annual salary step increase resulted in another 13% bump from last fiscal year to this new one. I went from $72k to $113k in just over a year. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because my quality of life is so, so much better all around. Money doesn’t solve all problems, but it sure helps to make it easier to deal with them.

  19. JAnon*

    Just did this. I was offered something that was 23,000 over what I had been making. I asked the recruiter if there was room to negotiate and she told me she gave them a range and the went in the middle, but she’d be happy to ask for the top. They did it, which gave me almost $30,000 over what I had been making. It’s what they thought I was worth, and never asked what I had been making. I feel valued, and like I am meaningfully contributing to household income now – it never hurts to ask.

  20. OyHiOh*

    I live in one of the handful of states that require posted salary ranges. When I applied for my brand new shiny NewJob, I knew that the minimum I’d make was still more than ten grand above what I was making at OldJob. When NewJob made me an offer for a number roughly in the middle of their posted range, I didn’t bother to negotiate it. The offer clearly acknowledged the skills, experience, and background I bring to the role. I probably could have negotiated another two or three grand but it didn’t feel necessary or worthwhile to do so.

    I know the saying is to always negotiate, but this is what transparent, realistic salary ranges does. You shouldn’t have to negotiate, if the salary ranges are transparent and realistic (and if the job descriptions are equally realistic and purposeful to what the organization does).

    1. OP*

      thank you!!! I seem to be slightly stalled in the interview process right now but my fingers are crossed

  21. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

    About 15 years ago I was in a similar situation…. I’d been going through the interview process with Big Famous Teapot Corporation, when Small Indy Teapots recruited me. Looking back, it may not have been the wisest choice, but I was was up front with Small Indy and told them I was in the process with BFTC, and asked them for a couple of weeks to make the decision.

    Two weeks pass, and I still haven’t heard from BFTC, so I accepted with Small Indy. Fifteen years later, I’m still with Small Indy.

  22. A Pound of Obscure*

    I work in government and Alison’s comment “… they might tell you that they don’t start anyone at the top” is so true. My organization’s rationale is “then the employee won’t have anywhere to go” on the current pay scale. Well, sure, but if offered more money from day one with the caveat I might not get more money later, I’ll take more money from day one.

  23. CW*

    It’s not unusual at all. A lot of times when people switch jobs it comes with a huge pay increase. My current job came with a 45% pay increase, but the caveat was that it is also a level higher than my previous position. Also, I live in a state where it is illegal to ask for salary history, and my current employer didn’t tried to trick me into revealing it either.

    I am not sure if you live in state where it is illegal to ask for salary history, but whether you do or don’t, never give your salary history to anyone. It is none of their business, and can be used against you and you risk a lowball offer.

  24. StrikeAProse*

    I actually did just get exactly a $20k pay bump from my old job at which I was underpaid. I almost accepted at 15k, but we’d initially discussed the salary with that extra $5k on top. So I negotiated for it, using Allison’s language, and advocated for myself for the first time ever, and I got it!

    In other words, hey if they initially tell you a number you like the sound of, why not try to get that number? Btw, a big thanks to Allison for the courage and the verbiage I needed to get the job AND the pay!

  25. toolittletoolate*

    Ask for what you think the job and your experience are worth. When you do so, it’s helpful to briefly explain why you think you warrant the higher salary—kind of “based on the job responsibilities and my level of experience, I was expecting an offer more in the range of XYZ–can you help me understand how you came up with your number?”

  26. Recruited Recruiter*

    As far as not warranting a $20K increase between jobs – I just received this for the job I start Monday. I took a lower wage than I am worth at my current company due to the excellently flexible schedule that they offered me. I no longer need a flexible schedule, so I was able to pull a $20k raise moving to a new company.

  27. Kevin*

    Always ask for more.

    In my last position, I learned that I was being paid about $20,000 more than my co-worker hired at the same time as me, even though they actually had more experience in that position, simply because when we started I asked for and was given pay at the higher end of the range.

  28. Jonno*

    I want to say that I just moved into a new role a few months ago at a different org. I was extremely qualified and their top range was x, and I asked for more than that, and they gave it to me. So, if you’re qualified….I say go for it!

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