Dear Deb: How To Navigate Salary Negotiation
Dear Deb: How To Navigate Salary Negotiation
Dear Deb:

I recently completed four rounds of interviews for a position with a large, multinational company. This role would be a significant increase in responsibility and visibility for me, and I was really excited about it. However, when the HR manager called me with the offer, the salary was only 10% more than I’m currently earning. When I did the math, this works out to only an extra $260 per month, and I don’t think it’s worth making a move for that little money. I told the HR manager that I was very excited about the opportunity to work with them (I am), and that I need a few days to evaluate the offer. How do I broach the subject of salary with her when I follow up?


Dear Kevin:

Congratulations on the offer. Your letter highlights one of the many ways in which the hiring system is fundamentally broken. In an ideal world, you would have been informed of the salary range up front. This saves everyone involved in the process a lot of time and expense. Employers are often loath to disclose their salary ranges, which is unfortunate. It is as if employers think that salary is incidental to why people go to work. It is not. For most people, it is the main reason they leave their homes and families every day and spend eight hours elsewhere.

To answer your question, you broach the subject directly and politely. Reiterate that you are very excited about the position and that you want to join the team, but that the salary is preventing you from making that commitment. You could say something like this: “My research tells me that average salary ranges for this position are between $X and $Y. Is there anything you can do to get the number closer to $Y?” They might work with you. They might not. But you won’t know unless you ask.

In the future, I suggest you establish expectations for salary up front. You can give the hiring company your desired range, but a better way to approach it is to ask what range they have budgeted for the position.

All my best,