Job Interviews

How To Discuss Salary Requirements With The Hiring Manager

Job seeker and hiring manager talk about salary requirements

A lot of people find the subject of salary negotiation tricky. Do you bring up the salary requirements or do you wait until the potential employer does it first?

When you're dealing with an internal recruiter or a recruitment agency, they should make sure that they know what your expectations are before arranging any interviews.

It is sometimes hard to be precise when stating your salary expectations. If you only mention your minimum required amount, you're unlikely to get anything more at the negotiation stage. If you mention a number that's much higher than your current salary, you're risking pricing yourself out of the job.

It is safer to give out a range that you're interested in at the start of the interview process. There are a lot of salary surveys online (many published by recruitment agencies), so it should be relatively easy to get an idea of what someone with your experience should be earning in your industry.

Your negotiating power of course depends on a variety of factors. The first is your negotiating skill—your ability to convince the employer to give you what you want. The second is the job market. If a lot of people are out there selling the same skills and experience as you, you lose some negotiating edge. The third factor affecting your negotiating power is the type of job you're being hired to do. Generally, the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the more you can bargain for wages, benefits, and perks.

Here's some advice on how to make the salary negotiation process a bit easier!

1. Focus On The Needs Of The Employer

Woman discusses salary requirements with a hiring manager


When you negotiate salary, you must remember that you're involved in a sales process. Your goal is to persuade the customer—the employer—to pay as much as possible for your services. The only way to do that is to convince the employer that doing so will pay off handsomely for the company.

Remember, you must focus on the needs of the employer and not on your own needs when you sell yourself in an interview. The same applies in salary negotiations.

Employers base their salary decisions on one thing only: how much value they think you'll add to the company. If you want $5K more than the employer offers, you have to prove you're worth $5K more to the company. How do you do that? By reminding the employer of the benefits and advantages you offer and by citing examples of how your past accomplishments benefited previous employers using quantifiable information. In other words, by using the same sales techniques you used to convince the employer to make you a job offer in the first place.

2. Be Polite, Enthusiastic, And Professional

Enthusiastic job candidate talks about his salary requirements


During salary negotiations, be flexible and confident, but not arrogant, and demonstrate that you're looking for a win-win solution.

A few years ago, a company I recruited for withdrew an offer as the candidate was too pushy and it appeared like he was only interested in the money. You don't want to adopt a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude here—remain polite and professional. And remember that the employer is the customer and you're selling them your services as a business-of-one. They don't have to "buy" anything if they don't like how much you're asking for the services you provide.

If you're polite and enthusiastic about the job opportunity, you'll come across as an agreeable job candidate, and hiring managers want to hire people that won't be difficult to work with.

3. Ask For A Bit More & Continue Selling Yourself

Job seeker discusses salary requirements with the hiring manager


It is a good idea to ask for a little bit more than you think the employer wants to pay, which gives you room to negotiate. For example, if the employer offers you $55K and you want $60K, ask for $63-64K, and then work backward towards your targeted salary.

Remember to justify why you're requesting more money by focusing on the employer's needs, not yours. Finally, when you make a salary request, offer a short, simple explanation as to why this amount is appropriate and then remain silent. Wait for the employer to respond instead of going on and on about why you should get what you've asked for.

I hope you'll find these tips useful the next time you're interviewing for a job. Best of luck in your salary negotiations!

For more tips on salary negotiation and to find out how the salary game is played in today's market, you can download my FREE "You're HIRED!" video course. You'll also learn how recruiters read resumes, why you are not getting hired, and how to sell yourself successfully in a job interview.

Need help landing a job?

Check out our FREE resources page and Live Events Calendar.

Or, join our career growth club today and get access to one-on-one career coaching, resume and cover letter reviews, online tutorials, and unlimited networking opportunities—all in your back pocket!

If you want FREE career advice in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter The Daily Dose!

Struggling to find the right job?

Check out Work It Daily's Incredible Companies page to see snapshots of companies hiring. Work It Daily also highlights job opportunities on a daily basis on TikTok.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.