Sue Montgomery Potrait

Prompt... Professional... Personal

Sue Montgomery Potrait

Prompt... Professional... Personal


When Should You Discuss Salary?

Published by Sue Montgomery on

Employers are Insisting on Salary Talks Sooner

dollar-sign-with-hands_optNegotiating your salary today isn’t quite the same as it was when the economy was strong and the unemployment rate much lower. People used to be able to wait until an offer was on the table before getting into salary negotiations. Now, companies are insisting on talking money early in the interview process.

Last week another client called to say, “I just finished my first phone interview with the company and I think it went pretty well. Near the end, they brought up salary and gave me a range of what the job pays. They said someone from HR would call me tomorrow and I should be ready to talk about what kind of money I’m looking for before they schedule a face-to-face interview.”

I still don’t think it’s good to negotiate salary before an offer is made but I’m not making the rules. If he wants to move to the these stage of the process, he has to be ready to discuss salary.perks_opt

So I suggested he run the numbers to see how much he and his family need to maintain their standard of living and see where it falls in the range the company gave him. If what he comes up with is in the middle to upper part of it, state his expectations at the higher end. He can always come down but can’t go up.

If the company counters with a lower amount, keep in mind that the first offer is usually about 10% to 15% below what they’re really willing to pay, so he will have a little wiggle room. However, if the company’s final offer is below what he’s willing to accept, keep in mind that great benefits might make up some of the difference. Ask about paid healthcare, bonuses, paid vacation, car, phone, computer, 401(k) plan, etc. All factor into his salary.

But, the bottom line is if he’s out of the range, the company won’t budge, and the benefits are not good, he should probably pass and keep looking.

Sue Montgomery PotraitSue Montgomery is founder and president of Resume Plus ( She is a professional resume writer and career coach who markets people for the jobs they want. Contact Sue directly at 937-254-5627 or email