3 Ways to Negotiate a Position’s Salary After It’s Included in the Job Description

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Laura Browne524
I help women get more of what they want at work.
July 24, 2024 at 7:14AM UTC

You see a job that looks perfect for you. As you read the job description, you keep nodding your head until you get to the end where it lists the salary. Then you start shaking your head no. Do you skip it and keep looking for another job, or do you try to negotiate? It can be uncomfortable to negotiate a salary that’s already listed in the job description; however, there are a few approaches you can take to try and get what you’re worth.

1. Do your research.

The first step is to do some investigation to find out what the market rate is for that job. I suggest going to salary.com, glassdoor.com, indeed.com or other similar sites to find ranges. What you’re looking for is external confirmation that the salary is too low for the responsibilities and results that the company is looking for.

2. Show off your skills first.

One way to negotiate is to see the salary number as a suggestion instead of an absolute — and apply for the job anyway and start to go through the interview process. Put off the subject of salary until you can convince them that you are the best candidate and would bring value to the company. When they are convinced you are the right candidate, they could increase the salary.

If the recruiter asks about the salary, you can delay the discussion by saying, “I need to know more about the position to be able to answer that. Can you tell me more about…?”

Some recruiters will ask again. If so, you can say, “I saw that the job was listed as X, can you tell me what the range is?” Many times there will be a range. If your desired salary is in that range, then say that’s what you’re looking for without committing to a number.

3. Ask if there’s any flexibility.

If the salary range is below what you want, ask this important question: “is there any flexibility?” Then, stop talking. Too many women talk themselves out of higher salaries by saying things like, “If that’s the salary, it’s ok with me” or “I understand that it’s a difficult economy”. Instead, just ask and wait for the answer. If they say that there is flexibility, then say great and continue with the interview.

At this point, they may ask what specific salary you’re looking for and you should be ready with a broad range. You can say, “my research shows that the range for a position like this is X to Y and that’s what I’m looking for.” Make sure that the lowest number on the range is a salary that you would accept.

If the answer is that there is no flexibility, then you may be able to help them to see why it could be a problem for them to find appropriate candidates by politely pointing out the discrepancy that you see. You can say something like, “I’m surprised, because my research shows that similar jobs pay in the range of X to Y. That salary is at the low end of the scale but the job description says at least 10 years of experience are required. Can you help me to understand that?” 

Sometimes when a new job is posted it might be assigned a pay grade that is too low. The company may not realize that the salary range really is too low or they could be testing to see if they can get candidates at a lower salary.

If they stick to it, then thank them and restate your value. Let them know that if they do decide to raise the salary level, you are very interested in the position.                                 

Is it worth it to apply to a job and try to negotiate a higher salary range? You won’t know until you try. It can be uncomfortable, but it could also get a higher salary at a job that’s right for you. Would it be worth it to you to be a little uncomfortable if it could mean thousands of dollars more? Remember, if you don’t ask for what you want, chances are nobody is just going to hand it to you. Be willing to be a little uncomfortable and go for it.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Browne is a corporate trainer, business coach and author who helps women to be more successful with training programs at her company, Career Tips For Women. She has written 10 books including Increase Your Income: 7 Rules for Women Who Want To Make More Money at Work and A Salary Cinderella Story (Or How To Make More Money Without A Fairy Godmother). She has written for Forbes and has been quoted as a business expert in major publications including Cosmopolitan, Family Circle magazine, and USA Weekend. For more information on training programs that can help you with salary negotiations and confidence go to www.CareerTipsForWomen.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece of salary negotiation advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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