Job Search & Interview

How to Negotiate Salary When Given a Range: 6 Helpful Tips

Get this: There are now pay transparency laws in a few states, cities, and counties. This means employers must make their salary range public in a job listing. So before you apply, you’ll already know the minimum and maximum salary offered for the position. 

That’s great news for your job search. However, salary negotiation might be a bit trickier if you don’t know what to do when given a job offer with a specific range. 

Don’t worry. I’m here to teach you how to negotiate salary when given a range. With this, you’ll be able to ask for the top of the range or an even higher salary. So let’s dive right in!

Read More: Salary Offer Lower Than Discussed: What to Do and How to Deal With It

6 Helpful Tips to Negotiate a Given Salary Range

Katie Shonk, the editor of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, says, “Even if employers in your area aren’t required to post salary ranges, they may do so anyway—or may be willing to be nudged in that direction.” This is because an Indeed study showed that 68% of job seekers are more likely to apply if there is a payscale

Since public salary is the new norm, it’s wise to know the 6 helpful tips on how to negotiate salary when given a range. Here are the tips:

  1. Research, research, research
  2. Know your value
  3. Be open 
  4. Negotiate a salary in the top range
  5. Aim higher but be reasonable
  6. Consider the whole package

1. Research, research, research

If you want to be the best negotiator, you need to know about the market value. This means you should research and see the average salary of the role you’re applying for. Don’t forget to include location, experience, and industry. 

Once you get the estimated starting salary, you can see whether the posted range is fair. If it is, then you can negotiate your salary within the given range. 

If the posted salary is a lowball budget, this data-driven range will help you negotiate a salary based on industry standards. You’ll be able to put in a stronger argument for a higher salary range. 

Nainil Chheda, a Marketing Expert, adds:

You can use online tools, such as Glassdoor or PayScale, to get an estimate, but also consider other factors, such as your skills, achievements, and unique value proposition.

Read More: Ghosted After Salary Negotiation – What Went Wrong and What to Do About It

2. Know your value

Remember, researching can only go so far as an estimate. What if you bring more value than the average Joe? To follow Chheda’s advice, it’s important to know your value when talking to a recruiter or hiring manager. 

For this, list down your level of experience. If you have lots of experience in the new job role, you will be more valuable to an employer (thus you can ask for a salary that’s higher). On the flip side, you may have to stick to industry standards if you have little to no experience

Another thing to consider is your skills and achievements. Did you know that a whopping 93% of employers prioritize soft skills when hiring (according to a survey by Wonderlic)? 

If you can boast essential soft skills, your value will naturally go higher and you may be able to ask for a bigger final offer. This can be applied to your achievements, too. 

Read More: 5 Trap Questions in Salary Negotiation Interview and How to Answer Them

3. Be open 

If your employer gives salary transparency, don’t take it as law. Instead, one advice for negotiating a given salary is to be open about it. Who knows, this may lead to a higher pay range. 

So go ahead and ask how the range was determined, what benefits are included, or how to move up the scale in the future. You can even go so far as to share your expectations and goals. 

If not for anything else, this will build rapport and trust between you and the employer. It will also show that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity. You don’t want them to think you’re only about the money. That’s too greedy!

Read More: Know When NOT to Negotiate Salary to Avoid Job Offer Rescind 

4. Negotiate a salary in the top range

Let’s say you’re satisfied with the given range. However, you’ll no doubt want the top of that range. And your value is what’s going to land you that top number (this includes the value of being genuinely interested in the position). 

According to Julia Pollak, the Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter:

A published range is an informational gift: The company is telling you straight-up what they’re willing to offer, so there’s no reason not to take them at their word and ask for a salary at the upper limit.

This means that there’s no reason why an employer might not accept your end of the range negotiation. This is especially true if you justify it with your experience, skills, interests, and achievements. It should be fairly easy to negotiate unless the employer tells you that they can no longer pay for that range (for whatever reason). 

5. Aim higher but be reasonable

What if the salary range is way below the industry standard or doesn’t match your worth? I can tell you now that it’ll be a bit more difficult to negotiate a salary range if given a job offer. 

You’ll have to come up with a great argument that the employer can’t refuse. Again, this is done by showing evidence of the value you’ll be bringing. You should also learn how to negotiate confidently and effectively. 

Here are other things to consider:

  • Be likable
  • Show gratitude and excitement 
  • Prove your worth 
  • Prepare for tough questions
  • Address multiple issues such as working hours, benefits, and all that to show that you’re not just about the money

Of course, you need to respect the company’s budget, too. Chheda says:

You also need to be reasonable and respectful of the employer’s budget and constraints. Don’t make unrealistic or excessive demands that could jeopardize the deal or damage your reputation.

A good rule of thumb is to ask for 5% to 10% of the top or middle of the range. Here’s what Pollak says:

Chances are, that top number is still a conservative—and very feasible—number for them to hit.

One last thing. When you want to go over the given range, you need to know when to stop. Read the signs whether the employer is going to stick to their deal or if they’re starting to get annoyed. If you spot these, it’s best to stop the negotiation and accept or decline their final offer. 

6. Consider the whole package

But even if you’re not given the salary you want, there’s still hope. Job satisfaction and motivation are not always about money. This is why it’s a good idea to consider the whole package, including signing bonuses, paid time off, sick leaves, holidays, work flexibility, growth opportunities, etc…

Even if you can’t negotiate money, you can make up for it with these other benefits. (This is another reason why you should be open and ask about these things.) If you’re still not satisfied with the benefits, you can make a deal that sees you accepting the lower salary range but getting more perks. 

Here’s what Erica Sloan, a Senior Lifestyle Editor at Well+Good, says:

Clarifying exactly what extra perk or accommodation would make you happy offers the employer a sure route to an accepted offer and a role filled—which is ultimately what you both want.

OK, it’s important to note that 90% of employers prefer to negotiate salary, while only 32% are willing to negotiate benefits. Keep this in mind as you go about your negotiations. 

Final Words

Thanks to a few laws and statistics, a lot of companies are now showing salary transparency. This allows job candidates to know what they’re getting into before applying. 

Well, now that you know how to negotiate salary when given a range, it will be much easier to land your dream job that fits your expectations and goals. So go ahead and follow the 6 tips provided here. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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