Salary Negotiation Phrases

Salary Negotiation Phrases

How to respond strategically to salary questions and offers.

Talking about money and salary is difficult, no matter the circumstances. This is a delicate manner, and the conversation should always be had with tact and understanding. However, you don’t have to let the employer have the upper hand!

  • Key phrases and conversation starters
  • Responses to common questions
  • Negotiating for other benefits

Responding to salary questions

You may hear some of the following questions during your application and interview process. Don’t panic – below are responses that you can use when you encounter these conversations.

“I’m sure when the time comes, we will be able to work out a fair compensation package. For now, if you don’t mind, I prefer to focus on the interview and learning more about your organization.”

“To be honest, I feel uncomfortable discussing money right now because I don’t want to box myself in or screen myself out prematurely. First, I’d like to know more about the position and its responsibilities.”

“I imagine that the company has already established a salary range for the position. What is this range?”

“Can you tell me what range you’ve budgeted for the position? How you arrived at that number?”

“It would be easier for me to discuss my salary needs if I understood more about the job and how my qualifications might be applicable. Could we discuss the position more in detail?”

“Focusing on numbers is not always helpful for me; could we look at the responsibilities a little more closely?”

“I can tell you how much I was earning, but until I know more about the responsibilities of this particular job, I can’t really tell you how much I’m looking for here.” TIP: Separate past earnings from future income. This is useful when looking for higher earnings.

“Last year my position was worth $xx.” TIP: Go broader than salary. Consider bonuses and benefits, and whether you were being fairly compensated in a previous position.

Responding to a job offer

You did it! You got the job offer! You will now encounter more opportunities to negotiate. Here are some scenarios, and samples of how you can respond.

“Thank you so much for the offer, I’m really interested in joining the team. I do have a concern regarding the starting salary, however. Based on my understanding of the market value for the position, and my skill set I would expect my compensation to be in the range of $xx to $xx. Are you open to discussing salary?”

“Thank you for the offer and information about the benefits your organization provides. Based on my analysis of the offer and knowledge of the market value for this position, I was expecting the compensation to be a bit higher – more in the range of $xx to $xx. Are you open to discussing salary?”

“Thank you for the offer. I am thrilled to be having this conversation with you. I’ve done some research on the market value for this position and am seeing salaries a bit higher than what you’ve offered. I believe I bring excellent (list key skills) to the table, and would love to know if you’re open to discussing the starting salary for this position.”

“Why do you feel my offer won’t work for you?” (Be sure to listen and respond to their concerns.)

“I understand that you are offering the best salary you can. It does fall short of what I would expect based on industry standards and what I can contribute to the position. Let’s talk about other ways we may be able to come to an agreement…” (This would be a time to negotiate benefits, such as more paid time off, flexible work hours, and other perks).

“I understand the challenges you may be facing. Do you expect to be able to increase the salary for this position at any point in the next 12 months?”

“Thank you for the clarification. Are you open to discussing some additional benefits like ___?”

  • Research salary information about the type of roles you are applying for, and companies in the industry
  • Draft the ideal conversation you would like to have with HR or the hiring manager
  • PRACTICE! Schedule a time to converse with a Career Educator in the Career Development Center