Be Ready When They Ask for Salary Requirements

Be Ready When They Ask for Salary Requirements

By: Erin Venable | May 23, 2017

It can feel impossible to find the right way to approach a request for salary requirements. Do you go high in the hopes of getting a better salary? Do you start low in the hopes that they will respect your dedication to the job? What do hiring managers want to hear? There are a lot of ridiculous strategies out there for these situations that may steer your wrong. Instead of those out-there tactics, here are our suggestions to help you find your way through the murky waters of payment negotiation.

What You Should Do:

Do Your Research

Whether this is from a post online or in a formal interview, go in prepared with comparable salaries in that type of position. There are plenty of resources available online to help you get an idea of a competitive salary for any position. is one with a lot of information on a variety of positions. There are also websites where you can check if other employees have poster their salary at that specific company to get an idea of the company’s normal rate. also has a section of their site devoted to salaries which covers what the company offers to different positions and general information on salaries in a certain field.

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Have A Range in Mind

Both sides of this negotiation want to make sure the right salary is reached. The company wants to know if you are too expensive or within their price range. You want to make sure you are being properly paid for your efforts. Having a range in mind and being flexible to the other benefits they may offer will allow both parties to walk away happy.

Based on your research and job history, figure out a range that you are happy with and be prepared to defend it.

Ask For Their Opinion

Being frank and asking the employer what they are looking for may take the pressure off you entirely. If you both agree right away, wouldn’t that be the best situation? Even if they don’t want to say, that’s fine. By asking, you have shown that you are considerate and want to be informed before making any demands. If they do tell you what they are thinking, keep an open mind and be ready to use the information you have gathered to support any counter offers that you may have.

Decide On Your Lowest Salary Option in Advance

You should think ahead about what kind of salary you need/require verses what salary you want. Think back on that range mentioned above. Now, you focus in on that lower number. By doing the research, as mentioned, you can figure out what you need that is reasonable based on the market and competition. Then, you can feel confident in turning down an offer that is too low if you need to. Without that confidence and the support of your research, you may feel pressured to make a decision that you won’t be okay with in the future. Being prepared is the best way to ensure the positive results that you want. Protect yourself from this high pressure situation and be prepared.

Go for What You Want

If you merely accept whatever they offer, you probably won’t get what you really want. Don’t be afraid to make a case for the salary you want, which could include benefits to sweeten the pot if they can’t budge on the numbers. Employers want to know that you value yourself and your skills. If you can give them well-researched support for your case, they will respect the effort you have put into your argument. Even if you are comfortable going lower and that is what you both agree on, you will be proud of yourself for going after what you want and your potential employer will be glad to see your drive.

What to Avoid:

Being Too Aggressive

You will find articles out there that suggest the best “negotiation tactic” is to get the high ground and keep it by being pushy and not backing down. While strength and persistence are something employers want to see, being too forceful can immediately put employers off and make them feel defensive. Approaching from a reasonable, well-researched position will show them that you are capable and resourceful. Too much aggression in a negotiation can put potential employers off and make them uncomfortable with the idea of hiring you at all.

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Never Answering the Question

Some sources will tell you to be a master manipulator and never actually answer the question. They will say to answer their question with a question and prove how quick you are. This tactic just isn’t practical and shows poor manners. There is a reason your interviewer is asking this question and not answering the question will frustrate them. Asking the questions mentioned above is a perfectly acceptable way to gain more information, which is not the same as avoiding the question entirely. Don’t flat out refuse to answer. Just be reasonable, have a discussion, and be respectful. These manipulative tactics will not help you in the long run.

Going Too Low Or Accepting the Unacceptable

With the current job market, it is tempting to accept any job that you are offered. But don’t just accept whatever they offer if it is too low for you or just isn’t what you need. Being too aggressive about what you want is off-putting, but being spineless is equally unimpressive to potential employers. They want to know that you see your own worth and by undervaluing yourself, you give them the impression that you aren’t qualified or prepared for the position. Have your range in mind and if they try to lowball you, just refer back to your range. You can also mention other benefits that you would consider, to give them more options in their offer. Don’t undersell yourself and end up making them think that you aren’t worth hiring.

Discounting Benefits

As said above, be willing to consider benefits as part of your negotiation. Benefits can do a lot for your overall happiness at a company and there are a lot of great options for benefits that might suit your goals more than you expect. Feel free to do research on benefits that would suit you before going into this negotiation. Benefits are a great way to compromise in a salary negotiation so that both sides end up happy. Most important, don’t just dismiss an interviewer's offer of benefits. Really consider this matter and what sort of things could help improve your happiness and quality of life over salary alone.


Some sources will tell you that it is okay to lie about a previous salary when entering negotiations in order to get the salary that you want. This is a bad idea. If you felt you were underpaid in your last position, say so when you are asked. Explain that you have acquired more skills and that you have needs to address that require a higher salary. The potential employer may be able to find out your previous salary by checking your references or even through resources available online. The truth is always the best way to go. You can sell the truth in a way that gets you what you want without having to lie and risking a future problem.

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With these dos and don’ts of salary negotiation in mind, you will be able to make it through any salary requirement or negotiation without issue. These suggestions will help guide you towards the results you want without any outlandish strategies that may lose you the job before you are ever offered it. Do your research, stand firm in your requirements, but also be considerate of your potential employers offers. You will get through this just fine and be happier for it.

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