As in any job interview, the topic of salary is a sensitive one. Before inquiring head-on about your starting pay with a prospective employer, you need to find out how much the job (and you) are worth. Take time to research the job position and its current rate in the job field. It is also important to know the bottom line – how much your net pay will be. That way you will be prepared to get what you are worth and to get a job offer that is realistic and reasonable.


Equipped with your research and a clear idea of what you want, you can determine the salary range you are looking for and justification for the asking price you have in mind. Be flexible.


Therefore, the key word is preparation.  If you do a little research in advance, you will be prepared to have an educated conversation about salary.  You should also take into account what the “going rate” is for the position, size of company, etc. in your community.  Consider what is happening in your community and region for comparable work in the field.

In addition, do not get locked in a “take it or leave it” negotiation. Instead of giving a specific number, provide a salary range.  It is okay to say to the recruiter that you might need to know more details about the job’s duties and employee benefits before you can discuss a number.  A lot of factors have to be considered – such as healthcare coverage, the commute, 401k, and other company perks.


By being informed, confident and non-threatening, you may be able to negotiate for a higher initial salary amount, but you will have to do your homework and be prepared. Keep in mind that other “things” may come into the negotiation besides salary – change in job title, adjustments in benefits, office change, more responsibility, etc.  Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, you will want to leave the impression that you know what your worth is and you know what the job calls for.  Your knowledge and confidence may encourage them to consider you for another position they may have in the future.

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