I cleared the technical round of an interview with a company. In the HR round, the HR manager asked my expected salary, which I gave them. She wanted me to negotiate further. I asked her how much they can give me, but she refused to reveal the salary to me. She asks why they should give this much salary, and said my communication is lacking. I repeatedly asked what salary they have in mind for the position, but she refused to give me a number. Finally, I decided that the conversation was going nowhere and walked out. Is the behaviour of this HR manager ethical? Can a company refuse to give you any indication of what they are aiming for during salary negotiations?

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    So she just wanted you to keep guessing lower and lower numbers until you got to the one she had pre-determined? That sounds horrible.
    – alroc
    Feb 26, 2015 at 13:51
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    I'd say from reading this question that your communication is lacking. You should know your value going into an interview, and you should be able to describe why you are worth that much. It doesn't matter how much they're paying. If you're worth X, then you should negotiate for X and be able to describe why X is what they should pay. Feb 26, 2015 at 14:51
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    For next time, when She asks why they should give this much salary, the answer is because I'm a bargain at that price whose work will make/save the company multiples of that salary, and because you're trying to convince me to take a job with your company, after all. Feb 26, 2015 at 17:12
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    @alroc "$100,000?" "No." "$99,999?" "No." "$99,998?" "No." etc...
    – nhgrif
    Feb 26, 2015 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


Here are the results of your action:

  1. Your ego and pride is probably still intact
  2. You did not get the job
  3. You did not get a job offer
  4. You did not even get a data point of your actual market value (which would have been established with a formal offer or at least an initial negotiation offer)
  5. Your chances of every getting hired by this company are pretty low

Whether any of this is "wrong" or "right" is for you to decide.

I think it would have been valuable to get to point where they give you a number. This can be achieved through various ways: point out what the market salary for this job in this region is, ask to talk to the hiring manager, ask to talk to her supervisor, ask her why she can't mention a number and what you can do to help get to this point. If this still isn't getting anywhere, you go a little further "So I have made a suggestions, you don't seem to like this and you also don't seem to be able to offer an alternative. How do you propose we proceed here?" As long as you do this all respectfully, politely, and professionally you can keep the conversation going.

This still may not have gotten anywhere but at least you could walk away with the feeling of "I've done all I can".


Walking out was the right thing to do... I would have given her the option of a initial counteroffer or 2 but if it doesn't pay my bills it's not even worth my time it sit there and haggle .

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