Don’t Be Too Afraid To Name The First Number When Negotiating Salary

Don’t Be Too Afraid To Name The First Number When Negotiating Salary

It’s often said that if you suggest a salary first when negotiating a new job, you’ve lost. That’s not true. Many employers won’t even talk to you or extend an offer unless you give them what you’re looking for or how much you’re currently making. If you know how much your skills are worth, you’re still in the game.

Photo by isak55 (Shutterstock).

The folks at US News Money point out that the game of salary chicken doesn’t work for everyone, and more and more employers know full well that candidates want to hear how much they’re willing to pay before disclosing how much they make. They’ll insist on at least knowing how much you make now, and many will even call your current or previous employer to find out if you’re being truthful.

The moral of the story here is to do your homework. Understand how much your skills are worth and how other companies are paying your peers. Hit sites like My Career to find out what you should aim for and negotiate from there, even if it’s a jump from your current employer. That kind of information is far more valuable than trying to hold out and make the hiring manager tell you how much they’re willing to put on the table first. On Money offers up (and busts) some other salary negotiating myths — like when to negotiate and when not to — at the link below.

5 Myths About Negotiating Salary [US News Money]


  • I named the highest number I could prove I’d been paid in annual compensation, including performance bonus, and then also the average of the highest 3 years to prove that it wasn’t an out-of-the-ballpark fluke. My new employer hit the 3-year average on the nose, and considering that I’d moved to a part of the country with lower than usual salaries, I considered this to be a tens-of-thousands-of-dollars-a-year win. Shhh, don’t tell them, but I’d done my own market research on job sites and I KNEW what the local market rates were for people in my field – I had been prepared to take #45K *less* than what was offered.

  • Any employer who asks your current salary is asking to be lied to. I was asked this the other day and told them a figure around $30k above my current salary because I knew they wanted me and could afford that. They didn’t even blink

  • Well. I did just that only last Monday. I was asked “How much do I want to earn”. So I put it out there. Larger that I wanted or expected – but realistic. I was offered the role Tuesday ( yesterday). End result is I was offered the role , and I am going to end up with double of what I am on now – with far beter career opportunity. Also when I am asked “what am I on now” ?…

    I reply, “that is confidendital between my current employer and myself, I am sure you would expect the same level of confidentiality, however I am happy to extend the samelevel of professional courtesy when part of your team, you would expect that wouldnt you ?”.

    I find that it is a real “point winner” in an interview (usually unexpect by them) and also stops them in their tracks. If they push, I usually then go the other way and go light hearted, along the lines, OK, OK you win. How about we meet half way, I would love to know what someone at your level is renumerated here at XYZ. That would help me too. So if I tell you what I am on now, will you do the same ?”.

    Most of the time they ask you this question as they are trying to guage the market rate of the role- and it will impact what they end up paying you. So an income information swap is fair for both of you. Look. Even if you say you know that this is why they ask, it tells them your serious and you know how the game works .

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