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I had an interview and they asked me what my requested salary is. I gave them a number. Although the number seems fair, I think I can ask for a higher salary (in case I was selected for that role). Is it ok to change the number then? What is the best way to do that without risking losing the job?

Edit:

I got another offer with a higher salary.

Does this make it OK to ask the first company to match it?

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6 Answers 6

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It really does depend on how you frame your request for a higher salary.

If you simply want more money, despite already giving a number that you would be happy with, then it will most likely be poorly received.

However, I did have a similar situation once - I had 2 job offers, one offering a little more money and the other one I liked aspects of the company more.

I talked to the Hiring Manager and said "I know we discussed X, however I have an offer on the table for Y. I would prefer to work for this company, but the difference between X and Y is too much, however - if you could meet me at Z (which was halfway between) then I'd like to accept the offer"

That way, you have given them a business case as to why you are changing the tune and so long as you are being reasonable - then they won't judge you too harshly.

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is it ok to change the number then?

You can always ask.

and what is the best way to do that without risking losing the job?

Try to make it about your value in the specific job, now that you know more of the details.

Something like "Now that I've seen what you are looking for, I feel much more confident that I will do a terrific job in that role. So I feel that I am worth $X." might work.

Be careful. The risk is that you come across as greedy or flighty or don't really know what you want.

It may not work, since they may already be anchored on the number you have given them previously. Be prepared to ask for what you want. But be ready with a number in your head that you are willing to accept.

I got another offer with a higher salary.

does it make it ok to ask the first company to match it? to choose them?

It's perfectly reasonable to tell the first company that you got a higher offer from another company and ask them if they can match it.

Decide ahead of time how you will respond if they match it or not. You don't want to go back and forth too many times and risk a possible job offer.

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is it ok to change the number then?

Depends on your definition of "ok"? But generally it does not look great,

and what is the best way to do that without risking losing the job?

You need to have a really good reason. "I changed my mind" or "I think I can squeeze more money out of you" are not good reasons, since you come across as disorganized, indecisive or greedy. There is also the obvious risk of pricing yourself out of the opportunity.

So, yes you can do it, but, no, not without non-trivial risk

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  • "I changed my mind" etc. are. actually good reasons, but not reasons that you want to tell the company :-)
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 9:53
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Yes.

As interviews progress, both sides learn more about each other. The initial numbers are exchanged with scarce information and have a lot of uncertainty. With more interviews, the uncertainty decreases, and the numbers may be revised up or down. The employer may decide that you are actually a better (or worse) fit than you initially seemed. The same applies to you. So there is nothing wrong with changing your mind.

Just in case, I would be prepared to provide a diplomatic explanation about why you decided to increase your ask. This can be a vague non-explanation, the important thing is to not be too honest and say something that offends the employer.

The case of receiving a competing offer is a perfectly reasonable example. In this case, the new information is not obtained from the interviews, but came to light naturally with the passage of time, so you don't have to worry about making it sound like the company put you off in the interview.

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If company A offered a contract, and company B offered a contract for more money, by all means tell A and give them a chance to match or exceed B's offer.

Consider the alternatives: You sign with A for less money - that would be stupid. You sign with B for more money - that is unfair to A not giving them a chance to offer more (which is none of your concern) but you also give up the chance to get more - which again would be stupid.

There is a different situation. If you are young and unexperienced and not aware of your value, you might have asked for too little. And the company likely realised that. But hiring you for too little, which seems a clever move for the company at first, actually isn't: After a year or so it is inevitable that you figure out you are underpaid, just when you become valuable for the company, and you promptly leave. So if you figure out that your request was too low, you can say "I didn't know enough about salaries, and I think Y instead of X would be much more appropriate" and go from there. Maybe they increase the offer, especially if they know their offer was low. Maybe they refuse. Sometimes, rarely, you run into a prima donna who throws a fit because you ask for more like Oliver Twist. In that case, you had a close escape. The explanation for the higher demand: You were unexperienced and didn't know how much you were worth. That will often happen if you get more offers.

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Can I ask for higher salary than I asked in the first interview?

You may get a higher salary only if you can present some logical or practical reasons for that increase. However, if you can't provide the company with a good explanation, then not only you may not get a higher salary, but also the company may withdraw the offer and select other applicants over you for the job.

Yes, I have seen job offers being withdrawn from people who ask for a higher salary (after they set their initial salary requirements in the first interview with HR) and who can't give the company a good reason for the increase. Please note that, very often, there are many well-qualified candidates who compete for 1 particular job. You are not the only star player in the game.

Here are 2 examples with good reasons to ask for an increase in salary:

  1. For example, if you can show the company that Google search and other websites such as Glassdoor consistently show that the average salary for workers with the same skillsets and experiences as yours in the same city is a lot higher than the initial salary you asked for, then you may have a good reason to do so.

    If this is the case, then you could simply tell them that you did not do a careful research for the salary or you miscalculated the salary vs. the cost of living for that city when you first provided them with your initial salary requirement, and now you would like to ask for an adjustment.

  2. Another good example would be during the interviews, you find out that the job requires you to travel a lot more than what the original job description says. This means the company should compensate you more. So, it is reasonable to ask for a higher salary.


If you can't come up with a good reason to ask for a higher salary, then the company won't think very high of you.

The reason is similar to this case: Suppose you are the owner of a small company with less than 15 employees. Now, you want to hire another worker. In the first interview, the candidate says his salary requirement is $70,000. After you spend lots of time to interview him, you want to give him an offer for $70,000. Guess what ? Now, the candidate says "Not so fast. I want a salary of $80,000." What would you do ? Will you withdraw the offer to avoid all the unpredictable drama with this candidate ? Would it be faster and safer to hire a different candidate who takes the job offer with the exact salary he sets initially ?


It is important to note that, at this point, you have not got the job offer from that company yet. So, everything is just hypothetical for now.

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