How to negotiate a salary ?

During a job interview process, you may at some point be given the opportunity to be indicating your salary expectation.

The word « opportunity » is carefully chosen here because when you join a company this is the moment where you will be able to negotiate your salary the most.


At the particular moment you will be in a strong position to negotiate the salary, more than you will once you join the company.


Once you have integrated the company, the chance that your employer accepts your salary increase, or salary negotiation is very much depending on a lot of factors such as the current company situation, the time of the year etc.


Therefore it is essential that you study this point very well so you don’t start your new job with regrets, thinking you could have negotiated for salary better.


We will explain how you can get the most out of this opportunity given during a job interview. We will also describe how you can best answer « what is your salary expectation ? », at the end we will also give you a few examples, to make sure you ace your salary negotiations.


1. Study the market


The first advice, before any, is to study the market in which you work or want to work.

There are websites specialized in this field which record thousands of data for you to understand what can you expect based on :

  • The industry

  • The country

  • The city

  • The number of experience you have

  • If you will manage people or not

For salary negotiation, you can check out the following website :

  • Payscale

  • Salary.com

  • 81cents.com

The last website recommended is mostly specialized in helping underpaid groups increase their salary.


2. Assess your living cost

You should not only study the market for your salary expectations but study as well what the living costs in the country are. If you move to a new country, you may be unfamiliar at first with the amount of money required in order to live a comfortable life.


Too many job candidates accept offers and move into a new country without having the full scope of the cost that belongs to that country they are moving in.


Study it all : Rent, Insurance, grocery, entertainment, transportation, bills, phone plan, etc. Your salary expectations and negotiations should reflect this as well.


3. Ask people you know


A great way to get an understanding of the market, what you could expect as a salary especially based on the country you are in is to discuss salary with your colleagues if they are not reluctant to do it or with your friends.

It is important that you understand that to the question « What are your salary expectations ? », the answer will vary, based on the country you are in.

If you come from a country with a low based salary compared to the rest of the world, it is absolutely important that you align yourself based with the country where the job position is located. You should not feel ashamed of asking a higher salary than where you come from. Many people are reluctant and would align with what they know. This is not a proper way to negotiate a salary.


4. Think of discussing a package rather than just focus on the salary


Money is not everything !


Some companies have great benefits packages like « child care », « yearly bonus », « commuting compensation », « gym fees paid », « pension scheme », you name it.

You can formulate your answer by giving a range and letting them know that the salary is not all for you and that you would be also interested to hear about any additional benefits they may have.


5. Give a range


When you are being asked what your salary expectations are, you don’t need to provide an exact number, especially if it is the first round of interviews. After understanding how much the position you are applying for is worth, assess what would be your lowest acceptable salary and what would be the ideal one.


6. Be flexible


When you indicate your salary expectation, we recommend you to be flexible, giving a range is a good way to show your flexibility, you would not like to miss out the dream job by giving the impression that you are very tight on your salary expectations. Sometimes, salary may be a bit lower than your expectations but the overall package may be more interesting.


7. Ask questions instead


Instead of telling straight away what your salary expectation is. You can also ask the hiring manager what is the budget range the company has allocated to this position.


In this way you can soon in the interview process assess if this position will meet your expectation and if so you can try to match the range together with your expectations.


8. Avoid giving a « too low » or « too high » salary expectation


Providing an answer on your salary expectation should be surrounded by a lot of flexibility and negotiation. Pay attention not to give a range of numbers that is too low or too high compared to the current market. Desperate candidates for a job would go for a low salary expectation in order to increase their chances to be seen as the perfect candidate.


The problem with giving a too low salary is that it triggers a doubted feeling about the candidate. Questions around whether or not you have done your research, that you are desperate for a job in the head of a recruiter are never a good thing to have. As we mention in many of our blogs, the whole job interview process should focus on creating a positive environment for you and the recruiter to allow the relationship to start on.


9. What if the salary expectation question comes too soon ?


Most of the time, this question would be asked within the second round of the job interview but we see more and more hiring managers asking this question in the first round. During the phone screening session, human resource specialists will also ask for it.


Asking for the salary expectation in the early stage of the job interview process is not a bad thing. This makes you and the company save time and exclude candidates who may not fit in the salary budget allocated for the job position.


However, if this question is asked to you too early and yet you have not determined your salary expectation for the job position, you can also delay your salary expectation answer : You can say you would first like to learn more about the company and its environment together with what other benefits the company may have before to discuss numbers.


10. Don’t delay your answer too long

If you have chosen not to voice your salary expectation in the first round, there is a moment where you need to tell the recruiter or the hiring manager what your salary expectations are.


Don’t use this technique to run away from saying it. Even though this is often putting candidates in an uncomfortable position, it is important that you take this opportunity to negotiate your salary and earn what the market says you deserve.


Do not be ashamed of discussing salary. Companies compensate you based on what value you bring to them and you don’t want to be undervalued, this is never a good feeling.


Indicating your salary expectation is not an easy thing to do, here we are giving you a few example of formulated answer you can use to tell your expectation.


Example of research based answer to salary expectations


« Taking into account my experience and my certification in (……), which you mentioned earlier would be very helpful to the team. I am looking for somewhere between **** and *** annually for this role. But for me benefits definitely allow me to be a bit flexible with salary. »


« My salary expectations are in adequation with my experience and qualification, « I am expecting a * % increment from my current salary. Therefore I am looking for a position which pays between € and € »


Example looking at package


« In general, I am looking to make ***** to **** in my next role given my experience and expertise in ****. However, compensation is not the only thing that matters to me and I would love to learn more about the job, the company and the work environment here. Your website mentions (……) benefit, which signals to me that this is a company that values working (…….), which is definitely important to me. I could be a bit flexible with a salary for the right fit. »


Example looking at reverse questioning


You can also respond to what is your salary expectations, say « this is a great question, it would be helpful if you could share what the range is for this role »


Example when salary given is lower than expected


I was hoping for Something more in the **** to*** range, but I am definitely open to negotiation based on the entire compensation package.


Example when your salary expectations are higher


« Unfortunately with my experience and current salary. I don’t know if I can accept anything for less than **** a year. Do you know if there is any flexibility in the budget for this role ?


Example when you wanna delay your answer to your salary expectations


Right now, finding the right position for me is more important than salary. I would love to learn more about the job, the company and the entire benefit package before we talk about the Numbers.


At the end figuring out how much you want is figuring out how much value will you bring to the company.


For more on this topic, watch our video:

For more about job interview preparation, check out these blogs :


- 7 questions to prepare your remote job interview

- What are your strengths and weaknesses ?

- What questions to ask in an interview ?


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