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Negotiating a Higher Salary at Your Interview

Updated: May 10

Talking about your future salary at a job interview is important. It's your chance to make sure you're paid for your valuable skills and experience. It can feel uncomfortable talking about money, but remember you're worth it. By preparing your case and communicating well, you can talk about your salary confidently. This way, you and your boss can agree on a fair salary for you.


Negotiating Higher Pay in a Job Interview

The best time to secure a good starting salary is at your interview when contracts can be changed more easily. Here are some things you can do to increase your chances of getting a higher-pay offer during a job interview:

  • Research the market. Find out what people usually get paid for your job in your area. This will help you know what pay is fair for you.

  • Know your value as an employee. Make a list of your skills, experience, and what you've achieved in your career to know what you're worth in the job world.  

  • Think about other benefits. Think about asking for benefits and not just pay, like vacation time, flexible hours, or chances to improve your skills. These can be as good as more pay.

  • Don’t be the first to mention a number. If you can, don't be the first to say a specific salary when talking about pay. This will give you a better negotiating position you can suggest a different amount after the employer's first offer.  

  • Be confident. Remember that you are interviewing for a job because you already have the skills and experience the employer is looking for. Be confident and assertive, but also open to compromise.

  • Practice your negotiation skills. Research online on how to negotiate and practice it with friends or family to get better and become more confident.

  • Accept some compromise. It's important to be clear about what you expect, but be open to compromise and consider your employer's position. They may not be free to change salaries but could offer you other benefits.  

  • Start a little higher than you expect. You will need to come down from your first pay suggestion in a negotiation, so start a little higher than you expect to agree on. If you begin with your lowest acceptable salary you will always finish lower!

What Should You Say if They Don't Offer a High Enough Salary?

It might feel a bit uncomfortable asking for what you want, but the best way to handle this situation is to be honest and factual. Here are some ways you can explain your expectations:

"Thank you for the offer. I am very interested in the position, but I would like a salary that is more in line with my experience and qualifications. My research showed the market rate for this type of position is <salary amount>. Could we negotiate a salary closer to that amount?"

"I appreciate the offer and am excited about the opportunity to join your team. But I was hoping for a higher salary that matches my skills and experience. Could we talk about increasing the salary to <salary amount>?"

What Should You Say If They Tell You the Salary Budget is Fixed?

If you are told the salary for the position is fixed, there are some other things you ask about to see if this job is still a good option for you:

"Thank you for explaining the salary situation. Could you tell me more about the other benefits and perks associated with this position, like vacation time, stock options, or flexible hours? I am still interested in the position and would like to know if there are benefits that would still make this a practical option for me."

"I appreciate your transparency about the salary budget. Can you tell me more about how this position might set me up for advancement? I am interested in building a career at <company name> and could take a lower salary if it comes with opportunities to grow and develop within the company."

Wrap Up

It might not always be possible to negotiate a higher salary, especially if the company has strict budgets or policies. But how will you know if you don't ask? There might even be other benefits that are as good, or better, for you than a salary increase.


Remember it's just good business to find out what is available to you. Be professional and respectful as you negotiate, and there should only be positive outcomes. Showing that you know your value as a potential employee makes you a better negotiator, and if you don't get what you ask for this time, you might still be in a stronger position in the future.

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