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After I sent my resume, my prospective employer asked me what salary I'm looking for. I thought it might be good to reinforce my requested range by saying that there's an opening at my current work in the range I was asking for, but that I'd much prefer to work for them. Now that I think about it, this might make me seem unstable as a prospect, so I'm wondering if I put myself at a disadvantage by saying this.

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I would recommend against doing this. When an employer asks you what salary you are looking for, they are looking to see how much compensation you would be happy starting at, and to see how well that lines up with both your resume, and what they are willing to pay to fill the position. It might not be well received to start with what another company is offering as compensation.

The time to bring up competitors wages, and to negotiate your starting rate, will be after an offer is made, or during the interview process (probably not the first interview unless they bring it up). Don't be afraid to ask for more than their initial offer, but be prepared to explain what you are bringing with you that deserves a higher wage than their initial offer. I would not offer:

My current employer is willing to offer me x.

as a sole reason.

Rather:

My expertise in area X is valuable to your business Y, and I feel that makes me more valuable as an employee to your company. I feel that Z would be a more appropriate wage given what I can do for you after you hire me.

The important difference is that you sell what you're bringing them, not what others can offer you. Make the narrative about how it's beneficial for them to have you, and argue that point for increasing your wage.

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  • It's difficult to claim "I'm more valuable because" without backing it up with evidence. Employers can quickly shut down negotiations with "prove it". The problem here is that the interview is over and negotiations have started. Any evidence of your skills and abilities have already been shown. If you had more facts to share (i.e. education, etc.) why wasn't it shared during the interview? It's better to just stand firm "My expectations are $$$ and my research says you're company can pay this". Present what research you have. Let them argue the rate down if they can. They will never argue up.
    – user7360
    Jun 29, 2018 at 17:55
  • @cgTag In my experience( grain of salt), that's not always the case. I have personally negotiated an increased salary through a counter offer based on my familiarity with a certain technology. The negotiated rate was only slightly higher($70k->$72k), but it poses as proof that you can negotiate up in the same way they can negotiate down. The offers are generally shaded lower than what they are comfortable offering, which is why I always counter-offer asking for more when considering an offer.
    – GOATNine
    Jun 29, 2018 at 18:38

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