You are sitting in an interview and you are really feeling the vibe from the manager and from the company. You start thinking that this job is going to be offered to you. Then, the dreaded question comes up. What starting salary are you looking for?

Too High

Are you automatically thrown out as a viable candidate if you give a starting salary that is too high for the budget? It depends how you market it. If you state the number without an explanation as to why you came up with the figure, you may have slimmer chances.

If you know you are coming in with a high number, explain what the company would receive for that investment. What are you able to offer that no one else can?

Too Low

Maybe you aren’t willing to risk losing the job offer, so you state a number that is really low. If you think there is long term growth and the company has demonstrated the ability to reward top performers, this strategy may work for you. If that’s not the case, however, you may be selling yourself short. And setting yourself up for disappointment in the new job.

Just Right

How do you know what is “just right”? Research, research, research. Familiarize yourself with the location and the job market for that position to determine a fair salary to you and the company.

The best strategy is to define a range for the employer. Prior to the interview, determine what a low salary is for the job, the average and the highest salary. So, now you have three dollar figures.  Drop the lowest figure and now you have two numbers that would define an equitable salary range for you. This increases your odds about future salary discussions with the employer.

One way to state this range is, “When considering my skills and your benefits, I’m looking somewhere between $Y and $Z. Is that comparable with the salary range for the position?”

Salary negotiation in the interview can set the tone for the rest of your employment with a company. When you are able to state your starting salary confidently, you have a higher chance to get the job you want for the pay you desire.