Tips for Acing Your Job Interview's Salary Negotiation

When I was job-searching, I was surprised at how many resources failed to mention salary discussions. There are plenty of articles that describe how to have an eye-catching résumé, list the questions you should prepare for, and tell you what you should and should not do. But when it comes to the incredibly important and somewhat uncomfortable salary conversation, there’s not much out there. That’s why a recent Time headline caught my eye. The story notes that discussing salary is especially tricky, and when the hiring manager inevitably asks you what you are currently making, you should answer diplomatically. Read on for tips on salary negotiation from the article.

  1. Be informed. Go into the interview knowing the salary range of the position you’re hoping to secure. Tap into your contacts on LinkedIn, check out a salary site like, and talk to anyone you know who works at the company or who used to work there.
  2. Deflect. According to the job-searching bible What Color Is Your Parachute, whoever mentions a salary figure first generally loses. Let the hiring manager bring it up, and even then, deflect the question if you can. The article recommends you say, “I’m flexible on salary. The position and its growth potential are much more important to me than compensation. Would you be willing to share the rough salary range you have in mind for this position?”
  3. Gauge the situation. If you think your desired salary is too high, ask about other aspects of the compensation package. Is there an amazing vacation policy? Do you get free lunch? Learn all you can about the situation.
  4. Vet the interviewer. How the hiring manager acts during the salary negotiation can allude to how they will be as a boss. Do they abort the interview upon hearing that your proposed salary is out of budget? You might not want that job anyway.
  5. Be honest. Don’t lie about how much you hope to make. Do put emphasis on the position itself. Money isn’t the most important thing, right? Demonstrate that you are looking for growth potential, a great product, and an awesome team.
  6. Keep the focus on your passion for the job. Highlight how you can make money for the company and you will have their attention; this will maximize your bargaining power.   

Learn more about this topic by reading The Secrets of Power Negotiating.

Have you successfully negotiated a salary during a job interview? How did you do it?