Career Advice

The 'How To' of Negotiating Your Salary During the Job Interview Process

min read
Mikaela Thompson

Below are two winning tips and how to apply them to two different scenarios according to your situation. Read, learn, and apply.

Change Your Mindset

It is important to know your worth and to think like an executive. It is said you should think more like a professional in a chosen field who is looking for their next project, so to speak, rather than a job seeker. This puts you more in the driving seat and delivers greater confidence.

Honest Confidence

Set the massive ego aside and know that the skill sets you can bring to the table are worth something, but don't show that you think you are the be all and end all. Cockiness is not an attractive trait and can send you right back out the door. Practice before your interview on success stories you can mention as past work examples that have worked in your favour and show yourself in a positive light, but don't dwell on it. Mention it in a logical manner and move on. Don't forget to let the hiring manager speak, and have a healthy back-and-forth of questions to build good rapport.

How to Handle Multi-Tier Interviews

So you have to jump through hoops to see the direct report after the hiring manager and your potential colleagues and others. If the job description already shares a salary figure or range and it is not within your expected budget, do not consider it, as likely it will not align with your expectations.

The Sweet Spot

If the topic hasn't been brought up already, bring up the question between your first and second interview. Why? Because it shows that you mean business before you progress to the next stage, but not so much that you are demanding. How do you do this? By asking a question.

If you get invited back for a second interview, what you want to do is present a give and take scenario with a question that asks if the person you are talking to is the right person to have a conversation with about salaries.

Current Salary

Side step the topic by honestly mentioning that the two positions between the last or current and the new one you are app;lying for are different. You can mention a few examples of the duties and responsibilities that differ and how one weighs more than the other, and that the budgeting and salary guidelines are also different between companies. Finish off with that you are looking  for a job that will compensate fairly for your experience and skill sets.

One-Shot Interviews

Throw all the above knowledge out the window. This is your one and only shot. Here, use tactics, such as asking what their budget for the role is, if it has not yet been stated in the job description, and also share a range.

There are a few instances where negotiating at the first and only interview is not ideal, and that can be for entry level jobs where you have no experience in the field or role, and also for certain jobs in certain industries. Be sure beforehand that you know where the role lies for you in this instance.

Ask For Their Budget

You can bring back the focus to the job salary mentioned in the job description if there was one, that is. Clarify the job duties and responsibilities that are included or that were mentioned during the in-person interview, so you can justify your worth alongside your skills sets.

Turning the question of how much your desired or expected salary is on its head, means that you can ask them how much they have budgeted for the role. It's a strategic question which puts the ball back in their court. This will give you an indication on whether you think the job process is worth continuing if the range is way too low. If it's within reach, you can use this to your advantage to bring focus to your skills and highlight your strengths that you can bring to the position and company that could lead to asking for a higher budget.

State a Range

Do your research beforehand by visiting recruiting websites or company review and comparison websites to find out how much is paid for the said role in your industry. You can visit, for instance to find out the price points. This will help you determine what range you can state in your answer.

This is a one-off opportunity to set your negotiation right otherwise the opportunity could be lost, so build yourself some leeway and give a range with a $20,000 difference where possible. Don't put your absolute bottom line so you don't feel like you're accepting something that is lower than your worth if they offer a figure that low, and don't give a figure so high that it will scare the employer off.

The Bottom Line

Keep your cards close to your chest. As soon as you give up a figure for your expected salary until you wait for the sweet spot in either scenario, you lose bargaining power. Silence is key and ifa hiring manager persists in asking you for your bottom line, past or current salary and expected salary, they're likely more interested in protecting the company's bottom line rather than fairly compensating you for what you can bring to the table.

Want to learn more about how you can answer what your current salary is when the right time comes along? Read "How to Answer Current Salary Question."

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