Interviewing for a Job? 4 Tips to Ensure That You Are Not Leaving Money on the Table

At some point during your interview process, either at the initial screening or during the offer phase, you can expect to hear this question: “What are your salary expectations?” How you handle this question will decide what you earn, perhaps for years to come.


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Here are a few points to remember when the hiring manager asks about salary: 

1. If you are not sure of the salary ranges yet, don’t give a number: Don't feel pressured to name a number. If you can, consider asking them what they think is a reasonable range for the position.

2. Pause before you respond: You don’t have to respond with a yes or a no as soon as a salary figure is shared. Take your time to do the math, understand the situation, and then respond. Sometimes, as John Klymshyn, writes for Yahoo Hot Jobs!, a simple, considered pause “makes them think that you must consider it. It also allows you time to absorb what they have said.” He adds that he has seen situations in which a pause has prompted the other person to raise the number.

3. Understand your market value: Do your research ahead of time, to determine the range for the job title, given your location, skills, and years of experience. Keep in mind that not all companies pay at the same level, so it helps to understand the compensation philosophy of your future employer as well – whether they pay at the 50th or 95th percentile of the market. Based on that, you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.

4. Know your own range: While it is desirable, you won’t always end up with an offer higher than your current compensation. This could be due to various reasons – e.g., you are moving into a new role you do not have enough experience in, you are forced out of your previous job, etc. But even so, know your absolute lower limit so you do not compromise on your own financial commitments.

Tell Us What You Think

How did you negotiate your current salary? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


  1. 15 she_saw_it 08 Sep
    Let's face it! The recession is over and it's high time that employers ramp up the rate of pay. I'm sick to death of Craigslist hourly rates - rates that are 25% of what I made prior to the recession. Food has gone up over 35% and housing has gone up at least 30.0% in this area. I'm really fed up with the pay rates.
  2. 14 sharon 06 Aug
    When they offer an amount I paused and said, "I'd be more likely to accept for $XXXXX." It's always gotten me more money. Learned that from my first boss who told me after my hire that they would have paid more.
  3. 13 ctrlz 04 Aug
    Actually I think I will just walk out of the door next time when company will not offer salary for me. For me it is difficult to find people with same work profile and calculate reasonable salary, so I have been underpaid for years,just because I did not known my real value.
  4. 12 John Belanger 03 Aug
    How does any of this relate to the North American job market?
  5. 11 Joe 03 Aug
    Its all like a fish market bargain atkeast in India. We feel so frustrated to deal with ill mannered and substandarded HR ppl. I have changed company more than 4 times in 9 years. All I do is a market analysis about the salary, my skills and the profile and tell them a number. All the times Even the HR could not conclude the management ordered them to hire me. Honestly, the IT industry has lost its charm in India. Its true slavery...
  6. 10 monoskochjet 01 Aug
    please send my salary work to me now all my team
  7. 9 JZ 01 Aug
    This all sounds great, but what if you are in a sector of the economy and an area where minimum wage is the default? I can't work if I hold out for something substantially higher than minimum wage. Hands-on, skilled, blue-collar work seems to have so many applicants that employers have no reason to pay more. Many of the people I have worked with over the years are able to subsidize their low income with government programs, but is that really a sustainable solution. I wonder if I would be able to negotiate a better deal in the future if there were no mandated minimum wage, forcing employers to evaluate each applicant individually. School was very disappointing. Real world experience with proprietary information and/or an affluent social network are the only ways to escape poverty.
  8. 8 Linda 01 Aug
    I was interviewing for a position as an occupational therapist and the rehab director asked me if I liked working with Alzheimer's patients or if I just tolerated them. Then she proceeded to tell me that she and the other therapist only tolerated them !!! Huge red flag! Then she proceeded to tell me the first and last name of the previous therapist whom I would be replacing and complained that she was a new grad and had to be told every thing to do including emptying the trash (which is not normally our job). My gut told me to RUN !! But did I listen… No ! I took the job and all she did was to give me the mundane parts of her job that she didn't like to do ( which increased her productivity and decreased mine ). and used me to work before during and after all the holidays coming up Thanksgiving /Christmas/ & New Years. Then let me go at 90 days because I " Wasn't working out" !!! Well lesson learned I'll never make that mistake again!!!
  9. 7 sanath 01 Aug
    I think the subject is well articulated. So, we need to do a better research on what is the net worth of self, then start work from there. You should also consider what if you loose this opportunity just because of the salary? Considering the Situation.... 1. do not rush to give your figure, but have a clear thought on what you want even before you start negotiating. 2. Do not regret for the result if it is not in your favor....
  10. 6 Mitul 31 Jul
    When I offered with 16 percentile hike from future employer, I didnot answer and got a big pause. Suddenly I request to review and they did it 20 percentile hike. But when I consider my skills, my experience in years as well, brand value of company, I am still getting degradation as per market value.
  11. 5 Gee 31 Jul
    Hi, I have got offer from tcs with 20 per hike and from infrasoft with almost 40 per hike and I have accepted offer from tcs and my doj in tcs is 24th sept. Now can I ask tcs to review my pkg, how can I utilize infrasoft offer to negotiate my package and reLly I am interested to join tcs,, at the same I want min 35 per hike. If tcs rejects my package review request, how will I handle it? Request you to guide me, Thanks, Gee
  12. 4 Gee 31 Jul
    Hi, I have got offer from tcs with 20 per hike and from infrasoft with almost 40 per hike and I have accepted offer from tcs and my doj in tcs is 24th sept. Now can I ask tcs to review my pkg, how can I utilize infrasoft offer to negotiate my package and reLly I am interested to join tcs,, at the same I want min 35 per hike. If tcs rejects my package review request, how will I handle it? Request you to guide me, Thanks, Gee
  13. 3 sally 31 Jul
    I was interviewing for a job I was asked the expectation question. at the time I was unemployed. and I didn't think I could negotiate. All I wanted was to restart. I did give them my last salary (146K) and the one prior to that (123K) they did explain to me that my last salary was too high and was out of their budget,they ended up offering me a middle range between the two salaries I mentioned (135K) .its a decent salary.
  14. 2 gi 31 Jul
    The compensation you get in your new job is not the end of the road. Its a minor glitch, if you are not happy with the compensation. Always focus on doing better and money will flow. Good companies are ready pay decent for talented employees.
  15. 1 Niyog Ray 24 Jul

    I landed a job as an iOS Developer in Pune, and will be moving out from Mumbai. When faced with the eventual 'what is your salary expectation?' question, I instinctively had a pause. And asked the CEO what he thinks would be a reasonable salary.

    The CEO sent the ball back to me, explaining how he would consider any number that I come up with and say if it works out for him. Bummer. I had to come up with a number, a moderate increase from my current compensation, and he agreed to it.

    Coming across Payscale some days later, and getting a Salary Report, I was glad my salary is a good percentile. Among 45 reports, well, wish there were more to get a clearer picture.

    There's still the lingering thought in the head, what if I had asked for more? Would it have worked out? Ah the second thoughts of life.


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