Whether you look for a job, or get head hunted, eventually, you're asked how much money you want for the position.

If you state a figure, you'll either get kicked out because it's too high, or you just low-balled yourself because the company hiring you can offer much more.

If you don't state a figure, some companies don't even want to talk to you at all.

How does one get out of such a dilemma?


Do your research, know what you are worth, know what you need and then pick a number based on that.

...you'll either get kicked out because it's too high

Nothing wrong with that. If the budget is only $80k and you need at least $100k, it's a non-starter. Any further discussion is just wasting time and effort for everyone.

...you just low-balled yourself because

Good companies don't low-ball and you probably don't want to work for a bad company. Hiring is hard work and takes a lot of time and money. Losing a good candidate over a low-ball offer is just stupid. Most decent hiring managers will care mostly about fairness within their organization and the salary range that fits this goal is typically fairly narrow.

A hiring manager will often assess you against other people on the team. Let's say they think you are on par with Alice ($100k), probably better than Bob ($90k) but not anywhere close to Charlene ($120k). Chances are you'll get a $95k offer so there is a little wiggle room to "negotiate" and for everyone to save face while landing on $100k.

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