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I am currently finishing my internship for the last year of my engineering Master's degree.

Many recruiters/companies have already contacted me and I started the recruiting process with a few of them. Of course, the usual "how much do you want" question happened.

Because this is totally new to me, I had not really thought of the salary I should have been asking for. As a result, I asked for roughly 4k€/y less than what I could have (compared to friends, family, colleagues, school statistics and fellow students).

Is there a way for me to correct this ? I feel it is not a good idea saying "oh well I changed my mind and raised my expectations".

So far, I said that other companies offered me more (which is true) but did not give any specific numerical value.


As a side note, this is happening in France (in case it's useful info)


EDIT : Although I chose Lilienthal's answer, thank you for the advices which are all relevant. The offers I received caught me completely off guard but now, I know I can correct things. Thanks for your help.

  • You're wrong. It's always ok to say: "I made a mistake. I was mistaken about market conditions. Everybody is telling me that I should have asked for more." but if I were you, I would wait until they made you an offer. The offer they give you may be market rate, simply because they may want every intern to start with the same salary and avoid future resentment. – Stephan Branczyk Jul 13 '18 at 11:55
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Is there a way for me to correct this ?

Sure. You're a student so you're new to this kind of thing and that means it's fine to adjust your salary expectations as you learn more about your worth or the market. It's harder for more senior profiles as there it can be seen as acting in bad faith or a simple lack of preparation, neither of which are good things when you want to argue for a higher salary.

That said, the only time where you can reasonably correct this is once you're in a salary negotiation. You can't really just drop this into an interview or in a mail to the hiring manager, it would come across strangely. Don't be surprised if the salary they offer is actually in line with the number you now have in mind. Entry level salaries in a lot of industries/fields1 tend to fall in the same range because companies know what the others are paying. For much the same reason they also rarely negotiate salary for those types of unproven candidates, so you may have to initiate that conversation yourself once they provide you an offer.

If for instance you asked for X, get an offer for X+1500 but realise that your market rate is actually closer to X+4000, after you thank them for the offer you'd say something like:

When we first discussed salary expectations I was still looking into my market rate which I now realise is closer to X+4000. Is there some way we can make that work?

After that you'd have a back-and-forth negotiation, which you should prepare for, but that would take us beyond the scope of your question.

Keep in mind that you should know what you'll do if they say no. I find it helps to list my planned reactions for each salary range: accept an offer at 45k, negotiate between 40 and 45k, decline below 40k.


1 - Note that both will have an impact, as will the location and size of company. For instance petrochemical companies tend to pay more than Public Sector for the same profile, multinationals pay more than SMEs, ....

  • Remember to know what you'll do if they say no. Lot's of people don't plan for this. Stellar answer sir. – Mister Positive Aug 24 '18 at 11:54
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Telling recruiters that a competitor offers you more is a good idea.

First of all, it's true (though maybe not as much as you'd like, but you shouldn't reveal it) ; and second, if the recruiters don't wan't to up their offer, you won't waste anybody's time by proceeding with the recruiting process with them.

For instance, you can tell recruiter A that recruiter B offered you 4k€ more. If A asks if/why did you ask for a higher salary, just tell them that you asked B about their wage bracket, and that their lowest bound was 4k€ more.

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So far, I said that other companies offered me more (which is true) but did not give any specific numerical value.

You've given them a numerical value already, so there's nothing wrong in correcting that - that way you can ensure you skip the offers you wouldn't accept anyway, which saves both your time and theirs. You could easily say something such as:

Dear x,

After receiving a number of offers elsewhere in excess of my original salary estimation, I'd like to increase my minimum salary expectation to €35,000. Could you please update your records to reflect this?

Number obviously pulled out of thin air there, but you get the idea.

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