Out of curiosity, when a recruiter is asking what salary do you have in mind, I have read and a lot of people have told me to answer with a range. For example, $90,000 to $99,000 instead of $95,000. In theory, this will show that you are a more adaptive person.

Multiple times on my call with the recruiter, they would reply "We offer the minimum, $90,000". I stopped using this strategy after multiple responses where the minimum was proposed.

Let's say that I have $95,000 in mind and in my current field in my area, it is over the market. I feel that using the range strategy $95,000-$105,000 to be sure to get $95,000 is the way to go. Can this offend some recruiter with the thinking $95,000 is over the market, and asking for $105,000 this guy is crazy!?

So, what are the advantage to propose a range?

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    I always offer up a range when dealing with recruiters on the topic of salary. If pressed for a minimum, I answer somewhere in the upper third of the range given. You do have to be aware of what your actual skill set value is. If you are over priced for your skill set and location, you could be in a bit of a bind when looking for a new gig. YMMV
    – Neo
    Jun 13, 2017 at 14:25
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    @MisterPositive If you offer a range, the minimum is the first number e.g. if you say you want to eat 2-5 cookies, then it means you want at least 2. You can't say you want 2-5 cookies, and then complain when I try to give you 2.
    – Brandin
    Jun 13, 2017 at 15:12
  • @Brandin LOL Good point. But as negotiations heat up, I steer them towards the higher end of my range. Some of the answers below offer glimpses into this and other strategies, but first if its a job I want, I need to get an interview and I don't want salary to decide that. I can always push the number up AFTER the fact if it goes well.
    – Neo
    Jun 13, 2017 at 15:19
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    I state "the T-comp it would take to walk away from my current career development track, unvested RSUs, and other [employer] benefits." It's a number. I think ranges give my opponent wiggle room that puts me at a disadvantage. I'll negotiate, but I'll NEVER share my minimum...it's negotiation 101. Jun 13, 2017 at 16:08
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    That depends @Brandin. If I say I would be happy with 2-5 cookies depending on the circumstances, then I might accept having to collect 5 basic cookies from the counter and have them served on a paper plate. For 2 cookies, I would want them to be artisan cookies, served on a bone china plate directly to my table. Its exactly the same with remuneration packages. The salary is only one component, you have to work out what the rest of the benefits package is worth to you, and that's something the recruiter can't know.
    – Mark Booth
    Jun 13, 2017 at 16:34

3 Answers 3


It depends.

When people talk about giving salary ranges, it's usually in the context of negotiating strategy. But salary is just one component of a job. You should always be looking at total compensation, not just salary.. A performance bonus, pension matching scheme, an extra week's vacation, healthcare, stock options, all can and should make a difference to the salary you want and need.

You should never be giving a definite salary number until you know all there is to know about the job. Apart from the factors above, which are almost never revealed until the closing stages of the recruitment process, you don't know exactly what the job entails. There may be more or less responsibility than you thought. You may be a better or worse fit than you thought. All of those will affect the 'market rate' for your job, and thus how much the company might be willing to pay.

When recruiters ask about salary, I always tell them the above spiel. Many of them then say things like "We still need an idea of salary", and then I give a range, and state again it depends on the job.

Also remember that negotiations aren't over until they are over. If the company offers you the lowest value in your range, with no bonus or stock and minimal vacation, then tell them you need a higher value, (and this is important) because there is no bonus or stock. You would have taken the low value if there had been a good bonus scheme. This makes it clear to the company that you are not just trying to squeeze the maximum you can out of them, but that you have real reasons for wanting a higher salary.


I wouldn't state a range. State a figure. Note that it is only a rough discussion at this stage, so mathematically, if you will, it's pointless giving a range.

But there is a far more critical point than whether you mention a figure or a range.

It's really important that you add the language ...

"With what I now know about the role at this point, I'm thinking $xyz,000 is about right based on the current market."

Further. An overwhelming negotiating point is, in a word, always ask questions.

"With what I now know about the role at this point, I'm thinking $xyz,000 is about right based on the current market. What do you think?"

And the third part. "It never hurts to be enthusiastic." I really think that always applies. So,

"As you know I'm incredibly excited about your product P, and of course your people and practices are renowned. With what I now know about the role at this point, I'm thinking $xyz,000 is about right based on the current market. What do you think?"


  • it is only a rough discussion at this stage

  • do NOT let yourself be boxed in to a figure (or range) at this stage. clarify over and over that this is just a starting point.


In my experience, recruiters are shady people that will do anything they can do to get more money. Whenever I have been asked for a range, I have ended up with the low end. Usually they will follow up with "If push came to shove, what's the absolute minimum though, like if they came back with minimum minus $2000 would you take it?"

The correct answer, given to you by my vast experience, is, "No."

I have gone into jobs where the agent has said the amount is xxx to xxx + 50, when the client is paying xxx + 150 and upon saying "sorry that is too low, I won't go for less than xxx + 100" been told that "Maybe we can work with xxx + 100" and subsequently got the job without hassle.

Bottom line, don't negotiate downwards. Just state the lowest figure you will accept and stick to it. Don't be like one of those ebay bidders that with 1 minute to go bids 3 times as they're successively outbid. Know what you want, and demand it.

  • All so true......
    – Fattie
    Jun 13, 2017 at 15:40

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