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Salary negotiation: How much should you ask for?


To state how much you expect from a job that a dozen and more others are fighting for is one of the most difficult subjects for a prospective employee. Ask for too much and you might lose the job. Ask for too less and you might be selling your time and talents for far less than market value.


So play it smart, it pays to do your homework prior to applying for the post. This includes an understanding of what constitutes a compensation package that is comparable to similar jobs in the same region.


There are several ways to uncover this information. The easiest, of course, is to look at the ad or job specs that brought you to this juncture in the first place. The salary will either be listed as a flat hourly rate or as a low-to-high range which is based on the candidate’s education and level of experience. The second thing is to query a friend or associate who is performing the same kind of duties. Your third choice is to glean salary information from any number of websites on the Internet. Sites such as www.Payscale.com, www.Salary.com, www.SalaryExpert.com and www.monster.com are a few examples that provide job seekers with free calculations.  You can research salary data through professional trade journals in your area of expertise, publications such as the American Almanac of Jobs and Salaries, and resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


If you’ve done your homework properly, the safest answer you can give is to say that you would expect to be paid a wage that is competitive with the current market. If you’ve collected enough information you can also put forth a basic range for the employer to consider.

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