I've recently relocated to Europe, and people negotiate here very differently from what I am used to. Long story short, I'd like to ask how European employers would react in the following scenario:

Prospective employer: Now that we have discussed your skills and experience and how you would fit in, let's talk about remuneration. What are your salary expectations?

Mitsuko: Oh, I am so sorry. I am very bad at negotiating. I'm basically a fresh graduate. I hate haggling. I hate talking about money. So, just let me know how much you would pay me. I'll think for a few days and then either accept it or walk away. I won't make any counter-offer and won't consider any offer update, because I really hate haggling.

And if the prospective employer insists on having a talk about the salary, I politely but firmly decline.

My question: How good is this tactic? How would European employers react?

UPDATE: I will now add a few details to explain why I am asking this question. It appears that European employers tend to initiate detailed conversations to negotiate the salary. As someone new to Europe and inexperienced in Western-style negotiations, I'm afraid of being taken advantage of by experienced negotiators.

One example is that a prospective employer asked me whether I was prepared to agree to work for less than was indicated in the job announcement, hinting that it might motivate him to choose me over other applicants.

To guard myself against such tricks, I think it might be a good idea to cut the negotiation altogether, refuse to disclose any salary expectations, and tell the employer to make a take-it-or-leave-it offer. My idea is that if the employer knows he's got only one shot, he'll think twice before low balling me if he really wants to hire me.

But I don't know how this would be perceived in Europe. Will it sound hostile? Will it be seen as a red flag?

I humbly hope my question makes good sense now, and I hope to get some insights about how this tactic is likely to work with European employers in general.

UPDATE 2: When I originally typed my question, I was too naive to think Europe is uniform. Please don't be too hard on me. I grew up in a very different part of the world. I now understand that each European country is unique.

My interest is not limited to a single European country. But if I were to narrow down my question geographically, I'd say I am unlikely to end up working in Eastern or Southern Europe.

UPDATE 3: It looks like a couple of additional clarifications are needed to make my question well-posed. First, while different employers might react differently to this tactic, my question is about the general trend or reasonable expectations. In essence, my question is whether this tactic is obviously good, obviously bad, or hard to judge - and why.

Second, it's suggested in the answers below that the wording in my example sounds hostile, but my question is about the tactic itself. Can the tactic work with a proper choice of words, or is the tactic fundamentally bad no matter the wording?

UPDATE 4: To ensure that the question isn't opinion-based, I'm clarifying that I am seeking evidence whether this is a good tactic. Such evidence may include statements in books or articles by renowned negotiation experts (such as, e.g., Jim Camp or Chriss Voss), results of surveys, or anecdotal accounts of job seekers (like, e.g., this answer). Have this tactic and its outcomes been described anywhere?

  • 61
    There is no "European negotiation culture". What works in Norway doesn't work in Denmark. What works in Denmark doesn't work in Germany. What works in Germany doesn't work in the UK. Followed by Ireland, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Greece, Turkey.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 21:45
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    Without wanting to seem to harsh here: you can't expect to impose your personal (cultural?) preferences on companies, or at least you can't expect it to go well if you do. I'd strongly suggest you try and adapt to the culture of where you've moving to; in the long run, that will work out significantly better. Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 21:53
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    With regards to different countries: yes, they are that different. Just like I suspect Japan, China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, .... have different cultures as well. Trying to lump a whole bunch of different cultures together as "Europe" is as bad as us Europeans lumping a whole bunch of different cultures together as "Asia". Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 21:54
  • 61
    If you don't want to negotiate then don't negotiate. But what you're describing is a negotiation tactic. And one that I would expect to go very poorly.
    – Kaz
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 0:50
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    Why do people keep referring to "Europe" like it's a uniform area with a single culture? I don't imagine that you would consider that, e.g., India, Afghanistan, Laos, and Japan have the same culture, right?
    – njzk2
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 13:36

13 Answers 13


My question: How good is this tactic?

IMO it's terrible

How would European employers react?

Most employers will drop you like a hot potatoes. They will consider you as difficult to work with, entitled, inflexible, and a potential drama king/queen.

Most jobs require some sort of negotiations, some are financial and many are not. To completely dismiss this will hurt your career significantly (and your personal finances too). It's not that hard to learn.

If you absolutely do not want to negotiate, than simply don't bring it up but do NOT rub into a prospective employers face like this. You can refuse to give a salary estimate and when the offer comes in you can take it or leave.

It will significantly limit your career opportunities and earning potential, but that's a personal decision you need to make.

  • 9
    Remember, no matter how good you think you are, chances are there are at least two people who are almost as good who aren't likely to be insufferable prima donnas. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 21:14
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    Counter-datapoint: Basically, I use this strategy all my life in all cases where payment negotiation came up and I get offers for my applications that reach that stage in about 90% with the remaining percent -based on the feedback and my own impression-pretty clearly due to other reasons. In about 30% I throw in a rough figure of what I earn currently and add that a decrease wouldn't look good. Does it limit earning potential, hard to tell, but career opportunities, it seems not. May depend on some context, but take it as a counter-point to the strong stance you take in the answer. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 1:11
  • 1
    (whether you come off as difficult to work with may depend on the phrasing though, obviously - there is this rule to not say outright "no" in negotiations/conversations, but rather "yes, but" ... and a "well, ..." typically also works well enough^^ and context of career may matter... if you apply for a manager position where negotiating is a key aspect, for instance, I'd lean towards you being more spot on^^) Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 1:19
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    @FrankHopkins It may be a good approach for an experienced manager or expert in a field, but for someone new to working life (the OP points out they're a fresh graduate) they probably don't realise how little distinction there is between them and the next candidate. Anything that indicates they might think they already know it all wouldn't be a good starting point for me. It's like the graph of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The same approach may work when you've earned the attitude but not early on when it comes across more as entitlement. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:56
  • 1
    @FrankHopkins You don't need to be a know-it-all to act like one. Just having the "they only got one shot mentality" is close enough because other candidates exist is being neglected.
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 1:13

Edit 2 since the question was changed:
"No, this is not a good negotiation tactic", especially for a graduate. Stating that you'll accept the sum or walk away puts pressure on the recruiter to 'guess the right number' (Turning it into a blind-auction style negotiation. - comment by Dean MacGregor). This will likely be poorly perceived by the majority of recruiters.
What you're trying to achieve is making the recruiters not put their lowest number on the table in order to increase the chances of you agreeing. While it might work on a few people, by and large it's likely that you'll still get a standard/low-end number without any leeway to then negotiate. The only thing you achieved in most cases is robbing yourself of the possibility to make a counter-offer. This is unless you're truly a standout among candidates, which as a fresh graduate is unlikely. You can still simply walk away when not being happy with the number, but communicating it during the interview likely worsens their perception of you.

It seems your biggest worry is 'being low-balled' and not fairly remunerated. However, what's 'fair' depends on a lot of things, including the area you're in, the field you work in, company size and more. Some employers might not even be able to adjust salary at all (Public services in Germany for instance.)
In Europe especially, "Work-Life-Balance" is a much more important factor than in (presumably) Asia, so someone might prefer a job where they're paid less but can work from home for a 3 days a week, or have more freedom in when they take their hours etc. What's fair to one person might be an insult to another.

Not wanting to negotiate is understandable, it's a very annoying thing and can lead to frustration, doubt and regret. Prior to any interview, I recommend you find out what kind of salary such positions usually carry. There's plenty of resources out there that should give you a good range of the salary you can expect.

During the interview, if they ask what salary you expect I'd recommend first stating something along the lines of "I expect industry standard" followed with an optional "Which according to my research is €xxx.xx", giving the previously researched and adjusted number, ideally a good bit above what you're actually happy with. You could also ask what renumeration positions like the one you're applying for usually carries in their organisation, but be sure to answer first before posing a counter-question. Responding to a question with a question can be seen as evasive.

Which tactics works depends a lot on the kind of company you're applying with (size especially), where in Europe you are and what field you're in. Working in management at a SME, I've interviewed a number of graduates and they usually give a researched number. If that is far from what the position would allow I'll let them know in the interview. If someone didn't give me a number or ask about it I'd generally give the lower end of the range for the position, FYI.
Good luck!

  • 3
    "There is no benefit to stating that you'll accept the sum or walk away. You can still do that without informing them first." It's not accurate to say there's no benefit. If you think about it in a game theory context, the employer expects there to be multiple rounds of negotiations so they have nothing to lose by starting low. If you can deprive them of that expectation they, then, have something to lose by going low. Essentially it turns the "negotiation" into a blind auction. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 19:08
  • @DeanMacGregor: On the other hand, they lose out at all by taking additional time with your interview process if they do negotiate higher and then find you walking away anyways. If they have other candidates, their time is better spent on those candidates than someone who has stated that they might just bail on salary offer. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 8:02
  • @DeanMacGregor: Or perhaps as a TL:DR; of that - you don't want them to think that "The only winning move is not to play." Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 8:03
  • Thanks, after multiple edits it wasn't entirely consistent anymore. Updated the wording and included the blind auction terminology.
    – Mookuh
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 10:35

You clearly have a good knowledge of your salary expectation as you wrote in the comment section as follows :

I have a range of clearly unacceptable numbers, a range of clearly acceptable numbers, and a "grey area" in between. If I am offered a number in that grey area, I will need a few days to think.

So, the best and simple way is to tell the company your salary range right up front. Or, you can also ask them for their salary range first. If they can't match your salary expectation, then the interview process is over, and both you and the company save time.

I am not sure why you want to say something like "Oh, I am so sorry. I am very bad at negotiating. I hate haggling. I hate talking about money." It is not beneficial to either you or the company to say that.

Most companies are willing to tell your their salary range if you ask them during the interview with HR or the recruiter.

So, you can ask the company for their salary range first, and then compare that with yours to see how well they match.

Once the company tells you their salary range, they usually keep their offer within that range when they give you the job offer.

  • 15
    It's pointless to give a salary range. If you offer, say, £50-60,000 they're not going to offer you more than £50,000, are they? Give a single figure near the top of the range.
    – TonyK
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 12:20
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    @TonyK That's an often repeated suggestion, but it can also easily backfire. If you say £58k and their budget is £50k, they might thank you for your time and hire the other candidate who asked for £52k, even though you would have been happy with less. Similarly, giving a range can actually get you more money, perhaps the company was actually expecting to pay £70k and would be super happy to give you your personal maximum to make you really loyal and motivated.
    – TooTea
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 14:11
  • 2
    @TooTea Depends what your goal is. If OP is truly concerned about not getting low-balled and honest about their acceptable range, then OP should be satisfied if even if offered the low-end of the acceptable range. If the offer is below the acceptable range then OP knows right there some degree of low-balling is happening. If OP's goal is to get as much as possible without the trouble of haggling, then OP wants to have their cake and eat it too.
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 14:28
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    TonyK, if they have any intelligence then they know that I start immediately with an offer at the high end, and that they come last in the queue if they offer at the low end. Most people will end up with two or more offers, so they are not likely to get anyone at the low end. On the other hand, someone given the job at the high end of their expectations is more likely to stay.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 23:34
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    When giving a range you can explicitly say this depends on other factors, although any intelligent employer will know that. So I might take the low end for a job with great benefits, work from home, good work/life balance but I will not take a job which I consider crappy (eg: you have to be on call at weekends) for less than the top end of the range.
    – Eric Nolan
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 10:50

I think your proposed way of avoiding negotiations is poor. You will waste your time and the time of prospective employers.

I'll try to answer your actual question:

How to avoid negotiations about money?

Look for employers with labor agreements. The agreement contains rules regarding the payment. Every position has a fixed compensation, and especially for fresh graduate it does not have much room for negotiations. In some systems, you get automatically more money because you become more senior, e.g., after two years.

Where do you find such employers?

  1. Public sector, clear rules, you can google them upfront. Depending on your field, they may pay substantially less than the private sector (like for IT, engineers, lawyers).
  2. Large companies with a strongly unionized workforce, often with a substantial part of blue-color workers. Examples are metalworking industry and chemical industry. Examples for unions are FGMM-CFDT (France), IG Metall (Germany). Other big, international companies have also rules for their pay, even in countries with weak unions.
  • 6
    This is honestly the most helpful answer to OP. If you don't want to negotiate, but also don't want to risk getting short-changed, there are plenty of opportunities in Europe where salaries are more or less fixed. You just need to be aware that a fixed salary is never going to be as good as one that you could potentially negotiate.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:22
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    It's not restricted to large companies, in some European countries there are sector-wide labor agreements. You can typically find these referenced in the job ads, as the job position in the ad will usually reference the applicable labor agreement. E.g. "payment: band 7 of <RelevantLaborAgreement>"
    – MSalters
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:50
  • 2
    In Germany, you will also find a lot of companies with "in-house labor agreements". When interviewing after my PhD, I had a few interviews where I was asked to give my expectations and then they told me their entry-level salary (which was often even a few percent above what I asked for).
    – Sabine
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 14:39
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    (+1) There is still quite a bit of space for negotiations in large unionized companies (definitely in France). Usually, that will involve fudging your level of expertise and the salary grid you fall under rather than pulling a number out of a hat but recruiters will still respond to the market and expectations of the candidates. That's probably less applicable to the OP as a new graduate, though.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 9:50
  • 1
    Active Labor agreements mostly move the discussion from €xx.xxxx / year to which stage and exact bracket of the salary grid your job falls into. Mostly it is the "job" that is assigned a bracket based on tasks you'll typically do - you may get an offer that tries to lowball the "tasks" - you can be hugely overqualified (master degreee) if you accept an lowballed offer that is calculated to be filled with bachelor degree. In that case, thank them for the nice interview process and interesting opportunity but tell them you feel your qualification deserve more. You may get an adjusted offer. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:40

So Europe is a continent, not a country. What is acceptable in Germany would be poorly received in France. What the Italians do is anathema to the British, and Spain and Poland are like chalk and cheese.

TL;DR - There are a myriad of Cultural norms and attitudes in Europe. From an English-Speaking view, I'd say this is a terrible tactic and would not recommend it.

As a general rule - when negotiating, you want to have 3 things:

  1. The number that you actually want.
  2. The number that you will absolutely not go lower than
  3. The number you start out with (which is higher than the number in point 1).

So, let's say you are aiming for a salary of 50 000  €. You go into the negotiation and say something like:

"Based on my skills, experience etc. etc. I think I'm worth at least 65 000 €."

They will likely counter "That's too much for the position, the average market rate for this is 45 000 €."

Then you propose: "That market rate is skewed because of reasons" or "That average also includes these factors as to why it's lower - this data shows that for my experience and this region, 55 000 € is more likely - however I believe that I will add value above that - hence my rate of 65 000 €. That said, I could come down to 60 000 €."

"Well, that is still out of the budget for this role - however, would you accept 50 000 € plus company vehicle and these other perks?"

Then you put on your best poker face and then accept.

So to recap - you want to start higher than what you want, in order to negotiate down to what you are after and have a number that you will not go lower than. If they don't budge or won't give a figure that is higher than your lowest rate, then you walk.

  • 23
    "$50,000 EUR" is an interesting type of money xD
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 8:59
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    Here, so you can copy it:
    – MSalters
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:46
  • 8
    That sounds a lot like negotiations and even haggling. I would totally despise that.
    – svavil
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 13:11
  • 9
    @Erik plus in several European countries, 50,000 EUR would be 50€ Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 14:55
  • 5
    @PierreArlaud - Yes, but it would be very precisely €50.
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 19:29

In the UK at least, your question assumes that haggling will happen. This is simply not the case.

For a fresh graduate role, and in fact for most jobs, the employer simply states the pay rate they are offering. You can take it or leave it. You have very little ability to negotiate, because there are usually more fresh graduates out there.

If any haggling does happen, it will be via letters or emails. At that point, you have plenty of time to think about whether you want to try to negotiate a better rate.

To be honest, the situation you describe is so unprofessional that if it ever happened, it would be a huge red flag for me. Don't work anywhere like that.

  • 1
    This may be true for graduates, but I don't agree that in the UK 'in fact for most jobs, the employer simply states the pay rate they are offering' (especially in a salaried role and if you have a degree). I've discussed pay offers over the phone for both my most recent job moves - in one case I haggled over pay for a role after being offered it, in another I discussed pay expectations with recruiters before even applying for roles.
    – Dakeyras
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 23:07
  • @Dakeyras It's certainly true that the higher up the ladder you are, the more negotiating power you have. :) We probably aren't "most" jobs though.
    – Graham
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 7:34

Europe is a large place and there will be significant variation between countries, and also between different sectors within a country (e.g. public sector salaries have much less flexibility than the private sector).

You say that So, just let me know how much you would pay me. I'll think for a few days and then either accept it or walk away. I assume from this that you have a specific number in mind you would like, and that you're concerned that if you say that number first then you might not get as much money as the employer would be willing to pay? Generally I would advise against this approach as you're essentially refusing to negotiate upwards from the starting number. A safer approach is to instead just ask what they are willing to offer, follow up by asking if they have any flexibility in that offer, then say that you'd like a few days to think about it. This way you don't need to immediately make a counter-offer and argue back and forth, but you can talk to friends/colleagues or do some research and find out how reasonable their offer is.

More broadly, it sounds like your question is less about whether a certain approach could work, and more about how to go about getting a reasonable salary without haggling for it. The unfortunate fact is that you can always avoid haggling, but only by effectively paying the extra money that you would otherwise have gotten.

Generally you do not want to get to the very end of the recruitment process without knowing roughly what the salary offer will be. When you apply for a position, you should ask the recruiter straight away what the salary range or salary band for the position is. If they're evasive, be firm and say that you don't want to waste your time or theirs. You will have to decide for yourself what minimum salary you would accept and what the maximum salary is that you think you could achieve, but if the role doesn't pay somewhere in that range you can stop wasting time and effort applying for it, so this is useful even outside of the negotiating aspect.

Assuming you know what the salary range for the role is, you can consider what a reasonable offer might be. If you have experience in a similar role and fill most/all of the criteria that are being asked for, you should expect to be at the top of the range. Otherwise you can expect to be at the lower end -- this isn't necessarily a bad thing as it's better to be at the lower end of a high salary band than at the upper end of a low salary band.

At this point you can ask the recruiter what offer they can make you, and decide whether to take or reject it. Pre-emptively saying you will not negotiate is risky and probably won't help you. You can come back a few days later and ask if they can offer you <some larger amount of money, within the pay band> and still take the offer on the table if they say no.

The key thing to remember is that you don't have to answer followup questions about why you are asking for the greater salary. A simple "I'm interested in working here and think my skills would be very valuable. Can you improve the offer on the table at all?" is enough. If the recruiter/manager gets rude or unpleasant in response, then that will tell you a lot about the company and might put you off wanting to work there at all.

TL;DR Is it a good salary negotiation tactic? No. However, you can get most of the benefit of negotiating by doing only a small fraction of the work.

How would an employer react? Probably by offering you the same number as if you didn't say anything else and just asked them to give you a number first.

Edit to address the update: This is not likely to work the way you would like it to. It will sound hostile and also like you are out of your depth, which if anything will make bad employers more likely to try to trick you.

  • 2
    Oh, my intent is to make it very clear to the prospective employer that I will NOT make any counter-offer and will NOT consider any second offer from him. It's like, "You've got only one shot, so if you really want to hire me, think twice before low balling me. You won't have a second chance." I'll now edit my question to better reflect this
    – Mitsuko
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 16:10
  • 8
    You also have only one shot to make a good impression on them. This will not do so; rather the opposite, as has been pointed out. I know that unless you were truly world-class my answer would be "ok, let's see how quickly I can get rid of this person while staying polite, so I can get on with interviewing the next candidate.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 18:48
  • @Mitsuko: That will come off as both aggressive and pointless. If you don't wish to negotiate the salary, just stick with your initial figure. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:26
  • 2
    "How would an employer react? Probably by offering you the same number as if you didn't say anything else and just asked them to give you a number first." - that's a pretty generous assumption, my bet would be on rejecting the candidate straightaway
    – AnnaAG
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 10:07
  • 1
    @AnnaAG I'm assuming in practice OP would use some diplomatic/professional phrasing, but yes, this could easily lead to the offer being withdrawn.
    – Dakeyras
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 13:51

I had a specific set of circumstances where I did in fact use exactly this approach.

UK for context.

I had interviewed well at the first round, and all I had confirmed was that I was aware of the advertised pay range1. I did well in the second round and I was asked for my salary expectations.

I replied, emphasizing again, that I was well aware of the advertised salary range, that if they came in at the bottom it wouldn't be an automatic no on my part, but that I wasn't interested in a protracted series of offers/counters. I asked them to make their best offer2 and I would either accept or refuse.

It possibly helped that during interviews I was emphasizing my own recent autism diagnosis; they came in with an offer at the top of the range and I accepted3.

So, anecdotally it can work, but I'd suggest it needs careful framing. And confidence - I don't think I'd have been so confident if I had needed to get that one job.

So, my specific response to my future employer was "I'm aware of the advertised salary range. I'm not interested in a protracted series of offers/counter offers. Please make an offer and if I'm not interested we can both move on to other opportunities". You don't need to, and shouldn't offer, further explanations of why you feel the need to do this.

1I had to tread a fine line here. I believed (but definitely didn't seek to verify) that they thought I was negotiating a pay cut over my current job and I didn't seek to disabuse them of that notion if they held it.

2Let's be honest, most employers will pick a certain number they won't rise above and I was trying to push them to make that their one and only offer.

3It really wasn't going to be in my best interest to admit that my answer would have been yes to whatever offer they came back with in range


Your strategy might work well for a one-time purchase at a tourist shop.

But applying for a job is not a one-time transaction. It's the potential start of a close business relationship that might last multiple weeks, or even multiple years.

In addition to that, keep in mind that you don't have that much leverage as a new grad. You't not a famous actor or a famous pop star. If an employer thinks that you won't be easy to work with, they'll just move on to the next new grad.

In other words, don't try to invent your own negotiating strategy from scratch, or no one will offer you a job as a new grad (in Europe or in any other continent). Look for well reviewed negotiation books on Amazon, and look for salary negotiation related videos on youtube, but keep in mind that a strategy that might work well in one context, might not work well at all in a different one.

And if the prospective employer insists on having a talk about the salary, I politely but firmly decline.

Don't decline. Ask for their number first. Ask if a budget for the position has been approved, and then ask if you're allowed to ask what that budget is. Most internal recruiters/hiring managers will give you that information when you ask them for it that way.

As to third party recruiters, try to avoid them like the plague unless they came with a glowing recommendation from someone you know, or unless they gave you the real name of their client company from the very first point of contact. Most third party recruiters will not give initially you the name of their client, and that's because most third party recruiters do not have an exclusive relationship with the client, they probably just found the job posting on some public job board/mailing list somewhere.

One example is that a prospective employer asked me whether I was prepared to agree to work for less than was indicated in the job announcement, hinting that it might motivate him to choose me over other applicants.

Well, you could just say "no".

To guard myself against such tricks, I think it might be a good idea to cut the negotiation altogether,

You can not guard yourself against shitty requests, you're not a mind reader, but you can say "no" when they happen.

Or if you didn't say "no" when you were initially asked the question, you can always email them, and say "On second thought, I changed my mind. I would not be willing to budge on the advertised salary."

Anyway, do not assume that all potential employers are bad actors based on a couple of bad apples. But whenever possible, try to use an internal referral to get you into the company. When you use an internal referral, the more respectful they will be to you during the interviewing process.


I'm going to let you in on a secret - I hate haggling, too. I dislike having to discuss compensation and I really don't want to have to feel like I'm selling myself short just to be competitive.

I'm in the States myself, so my answer isn't going to be specific to any given European country, but this is some general guidance for negotiation.

  1. You don't have to go into this blind. Look at what the average salaries are for the field you're working in, and look at what the average salaries are for your area. Factor in things like cost of living and expenses that you may incur while living somewhere. In knowing this, you have a number in your mind and aren't assuming anything.

  2. Don't bring money up during the interview yourself. If the interview is not going particularly well, and then you bring up compensation, that's not going to endear you to a prospective hiring manager.

  3. If you're asked, say you're looking for fair market rates. If you really have to say a number here, say the number you researched earlier with a little extra on top. For instance, if fair-market rates for your field was €35,000/yr, you could start the negotiations with €38,000.

  4. Take time to think it all over. By the time you get to this phase, once an offer is made the company is interested in working with you, and the ball is in your court. Look at their offer and compare it to what you think is fair and what you need. If you don't think that it's what you're looking for, then you should respond with a number that fits with your needs. For instance, if you were offered €40,000 (about €3.3K/mo), and tax/per-month break down took your base pay down to only €2,100/mo, you'd need to triple check to see if you could live on that salary.

Negotiation isn't a precise science and everything is flexible, so the more communication you do, the better you get at this. Negotiation varies not just between European countries, but also between companies, too. Don't worry about predicting how they'll react and simply stick to your principles instead.


It's okay to not negotiate. Keep in mind that you will often get a better deal by negotiating. But regardless, the way you phrased it is not good.

Job applications have a certain culture. Where possible, you want to follow this, because when people stick out it is often interpreted negatively. In other words, you get penalized just for being different. Nobody says this:

Oh, I am so sorry. I am very bad at negotiating. I'm basically a fresh graduate. I hate haggling. I hate talking about money. So, just let me know how much you would pay me. I'll think for a few days and then either accept it or walk away. I won't make any counter-offer and won't consider any offer update, because I really hate haggling.

This is a lot of personal information that is not relevant to the business transaction. Don't do that whole explanation, everyone is like that, they already know. Once you receive the offer, just ask: "Is this your final offer?"

  • If they say yes, there you go, haggling averted.
  • If they say no, they will probably ask what you want. Name your price. They will now likely ask you if it's your final offer. Say yes. Either they accept and you sign, or they tell you it's too high, and you walk away. Max 1 round of haggling.

You have to do this dance, because everybody does. If you refuse to, you'll seem weird and put the person off. On the bright side, the "haggling" is usually not that extensive in job offers. You get 1 round of counter offers, that's it. In very exceptional circumstances (if you are extremely qualified) you might get 2. Excessive bargaining is considered inappropriate, and people tend to read it as being your "backup offer", and then they start treating you as a backup candidate.

With entry level positions, it's common for companies to offer a "standard" package where the structure can't change much. Once you get into more advanced, specialized, rare roles the offers get more complex (equity, bonuses, benefits, perks) so you can ask for things like having Fridays off in exchange for less pay. But employers don't like making exceptions for entry-level hires, so "negotiation" at entry-level comes down to the overall size of the offer. And since companies hire many people at entry-level, they have plenty of experience judging what is an appropriate salary. Consequently, there is not much to negotiate about, except if they're lowballing you to see if you push back (hence the 1 round of counter offers).


So all of the answers posted thusfar essentially say "suck it up, you'll need to haggle". Which is somewhat true. However, depending on the industry, you might be able to avoid having to talk about your salary expectations with an employer ever again.

If you're in an industry where it's viable (tech is a very good one for this), find all of your jobs through recruitment agencies. These agencies are typically paid based on a percentage of your final salary, so it's in their interests to get you as high a salary as possible, and thus they negotiate on your behalf. They also typically have access to more information than a typical candidate would.

There's also the added benefit that these recruiters often have an insight into the recruitment process for different companies and the ability to chase hiring managers on your behalf to speed up the processes. Although do be aware that there are some absolute charlatans out there too, so you need to spend some time finding the good ones.

Personally, I don't mind negotiating... But I've not had to in years by doing this and my salary is now far higher than it otherwise would have been in all likelihood.

  • 12
    It is worth noting that recruiters are not as invested in getting you the best salary as you may think. They would rather have you accept something at 80 percent of your potential so they can cash in and move on to another candidate, rather than let you decline the job (which is a key option in any negotiation) and start over.
    – Josiah
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:04
  • 6
    @Josiah There is an entire segment in Freakonomics that talks about the same effect when it comes to realtors. People believe your agent will go above and beyond to haggle out a few more $$ for you because that also gives them some extra change money, in reality they are incentivized above all else to close the acount and move on.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:25
  • 1
    Don't get me wrong, that's true in a lot of cases. However, since they only usually get paid if you stay there X amount of months (at least in the UK) they're also not interested in putting you somewhere you're totally unsuited or letting you get totally lowballed. As I said, there are a lot of charlatans out there, but a good recruiter can be worth their weight in gold Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 9:51
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    +1. I was looking for jobs this summer (Tech sector, Canada), and in the process got contacted by a few recruiters. When they asked me for my salary expectation I gave them a figure based on feedback from many classmates and other recent grads that had gotten similar roles as well as job postings with salary ranges. One recruiter added 5K (annually) on top of that when conveying expected pay to one employer and another ended up getting me an offer for ~2k above my initial ask. If you want to avoid haggling recruiters are a viable option.
    – Aubreal
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 15:34
  • 1
    @WillRoss1 - Having been on the side of having to use recruiters for hiring, that's just not true. We use them because we're struggling to find the right people and they have the connections and means to find them for us. Sure, we're the ones who pay them, but we're not interested in them trying to stiff the candidates on salary, we're far more concerned that the candidates we get from them are a good fit for the job. We drop recruiters who send us shit. Sure, I know that's just my experience and it may vary by country and industry but still Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 16:21

I would only use this as a negotiating tactic if I already had simultaneous job offers on the table from several prospective employers, I had a very limited amount of time to make a decision, and I was confident that by doing this, I would not be harming my career. Even then I would probably want to keep one offer in reserve, in case the rest were withdrawn.

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