Q: How and when should I bring up salary negotiation in my interview?

A: Great Question! There are a few ways to approach this topic…

Accepting a job often entails salary negotiation. There is always a debate as to who goes first when talking salary. You can go first, if:

  1. You are confident starting high won’t jeopardize the offer.
  2. You are certain that you won’t start off too low.
  3. You are positive you’re at the offer-making stage.

The dangers of going first:

  1. You can ask for too much and lose the job offer.
  2. You can start too low and leave money on the table.
  3. You talk about money too soon, and stop the interview process dead!

Given these potential pitfalls, consider employing any of the following phrases to position yourself when talking salary.

  • It’s really too early to discuss salary. Let’s first discuss what I can do for you.
  • I’m sure we can come to a salary agreement if I’m the right person for the job, so let’s first agree on that.
  • Salary? Well, so far the job seems to have the right responsibility for me, and I’m sure you pay a fair salary.  Let’s hold off on salary until you know you want me.
  • When we discuss money up front I get worried I’ll be either screened out or boxed in, so could we delay this conversation and talk more about the job?
  • I know that it is too early to discuss compensation in detail, but I wonder if you can give a rough idea of the range you are thinking.
  • I don’t expect you to simply match my previous salary – it was a different job, after all.  But if we use it as a target, and keep in mind my value, we can find a combination of salary and benefits to make this a good fit.
  • I will be the very best (insert position being offered) that you have ever hired, and I would expect nothing less than your very best offer.

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