During my first interview (phone screen) I was asked how much I expect to get paid. I said $XX,000 (this salary is pretty low for someone in my field, and mentioning this low salary was a mistake. You can see the edit on this post as to why I mentioned the low salary: What steps do I have to take if I believe my pay should be higher after working at a company for 6 months?).

With that said, I moved on to a technical interview. Now I'm called in for an in-person 2 hour interview. There is now a possibility that I might get a job offer soon, and I'm not sure whether or not I should negotiate the pay (after receiving an offer).

I did some research and found this article: http://www.quintcareers.com/salary_negotiation_mistakes.html which mentions that the #-1 mistake is to settle / not negotiate.

The pay for this position is generally a lot more than how much I originally mentioned ($XX,000) but I don't want to come across as someone who said a low salary, did all the interviews and then asked for a significant increase (I'm pretty sure one of the main reasons I got this far into the interview process is because I didn't require a very high pay).

My question is, after I read the article which mentioned that settling / not negotiating salary is a mistake, given my situation, would you advise that I do or do not negotiate salary?

Edit: I believe this is not a duplicate of Does the first person to mention a number in a salary negotiation lose?. I already know I made a mistake and "lost". I mentioned a salary first (a low one too) during a simple phone screen. This isn't about if I lost or not, I'm just wondering if, given my current situation, it is advisable for me to negotiate salary after I get an offer even after mentioning a low pay during the phone screen.

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    Short answer is yes, better answers are in the linked question though – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 10 '15 at 21:49
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    So you made a mistake mentioning the initial salary? So what? Just tell them that you were not aware of the current market value when you mentioned that number. It's as simple as that. – Stephan Branczyk Sep 11 '15 at 0:52
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    Do not disclose your current salary during negotiations for your next job, especially if your current salary is below market. Find out the market value for your skills and ask for that. Best is to ask them what they are expecting to pay. – kevin cline Sep 11 '15 at 21:03
up vote 4 down vote accepted

given my current situation, it is advisable for me to negotiate salary after I get an offer even after mentioning a low pay during the phone screen.

Only you can decide if this is an advisable strategy or not

  • You need to decide how much salary you need
  • You need to decide how much salary you require in order to live with it for a while (rather than expecting to ask for a raise after 6 months)
  • You need to decide how much risk is involved in asking for more now, when you said you expected less just a short while ago
  • You need to decide for yourself if you are willing to take that risk (basically, the risk that they pull the offer completely) or not

You seem to believe that one of the primary reasons you have gotten this far is that you quoted a salary that is "cheap". So trying to negotiate now will negate this reason, I assume. Only you can sense if you think that is still the prime reason for their interest, or if your great interviews have made you seem much more valuable to this company.

Don't play games with a job you really want if they meet the salary that you stated, assuming what you stated is reasonable. It would be a shame to lose out on a job just because you read somewhere that you should negotiate.

On the other hand, if the figure you quoted before isn't reasonable for you to live on, then you have nothing to lose by trying to get more. Since you cannot live on what you asked for, then ask for more.

Either way, you should currently be looking for other jobs and not stating a salary that you cannot live with.

You are not asking for an increase. During the interviews, you have realized that the job requirements and expectations from the company are higher than you first estimated, and that, although you are convinced that you will have no problem to satisfy these, your first mentioned salary expectation is slightly off and that a proper compensation would be around $XX,000 + X.

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    As always, be aware that when you counter there's always a risk that they decide to find someone else who is willing to work for $xx,000. Deciding not to negotiate is not always a mistake, if you want that job, no matter what an article claims -- that's just one author's opinion, and at best it's a generality. – keshlam Sep 11 '15 at 2:13
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    I've never heard of asking for more money resulting in an immediate abort of the negotiations. The worst that will happen is a "Sorry, but that's our final offer, take or leave?" – John Hammond Sep 11 '15 at 12:32
  • I haven't seen a wide enough sample to make bets either way. I know that I don't know. It's a judgement call... but if I really wanted that particular job, I would lean toward nailing it down. – keshlam Sep 11 '15 at 14:17

In general its better to agree on salary verbally before a formal offer is made. From the hiring manager and HR point of view its a fair bit of work to get an offer fully drafted, reviewed, approved and formally written up with all the bells and whistles. So ideally this only happens once a basic agreement has already been reached.

This conversation can happen at any point during your interview process. Since you already have thrown out a number, everyone on the other side is under the assumption that things will be okay if they can meet or exceed this number. If that's not the case you should let them know as early as possible.

There is clearly a risk associated with this: You said "A" yesterday but you are saying "B" today. Regardless of the money, that's a potential concern about your decision making and commitment abilities. The best way to deal with this is open and honest: "I'm really excited about this job and so I stated my salary requirements really low to keep the conversation going. However on further reflection I realized that this wouldn't work in the long term so I need to adjust this. Can we talk about this please ?"

The other risk is that you will out-price yourself out of the job and ask for something that is beyond their limit. If that's the case, there is nothing you can do about it. It's a non-starter and the earlier you find out, the better it is for everyone involved.

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