First things first: I strongly recommend that you don’t disclose your current or desired salary during your job interviews because you could end up boxed into the range you suggest and cost yourself a lot of money.

When you disclose your desired salary range, you’re essentially locking yourself into a small window of potential salaries and you’re probably costing yourself money.

How do you negotiate if they make an offer in your stated salary range?

But you already declared your desired salary, and you want to negotiate for something higher. How do you do that?

Look for new information you can incorporate into your negotiation—ways in which your understanding of the position has changed since you declared your salary range. Here are two examples:

  • The job requirements are different than you thought they were—there’s more responsibility than you anticipated.
  • The overall benefits package isn’t what you anticipated—there’s less paid vacation or sick time, the available health insurance coverage isn’t as robust as you thought, etc.

Once you identify one or more things, wait for them to make an offer, which will probably be either below or at the low end of the desired salary range you disclosed. Then you can negotiate by saying something like, “I have learned a lot more about the company, the position, and the compensation package since I gave that initial salary range. Given what I’ve learned, I would be more comfortable at [your counteroffer].”

This is one reason it’s problematic to declare a desired salary range early in the interview process—you don’t know enough about the job, the company, and the available perks to pick a salary. By not disclosing your current or desired salary in response to The Dreaded Salary Question, you give yourself more time to get further into the interview process before salary ranges are set and you allow the company to make the first offer so you can negotiate from a stronger position.

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