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I'm a junior developer interviewing for a role that requires a few more years experience than I have (mid level). So far I have been doing well on coding challenges and interviews thus far and I have a meeting soon to discuss salary. However the original job range was x + 30k to x + 60k more than someone of my experience should be making, where x is what I should be making.

I don't know that I even feel comfortable asking for x + 30k because for any other employer I might ask for x + 10k at maximum. However at the same time if I ask for a low amount (like x + 10k) the employer might see me as a non worthwhile candidate because they might perceive my low amount for me not thinking I can do the job.

The most important thing for me is that I get this job, what salary should I ask for considering my lack of years of experience and that I shouldn't have the employer perceive me as a weak candidate because of salary?

Edit on why this is not a duplicate of: How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for?

I don't believe this is a duplicate as that question requests how to calculate a salary the OP should reasonably ask for based on statistics and tools. While my question asks: given that I have already have a reasonable salary, but my potential employer is offering more than that amount, what is the best course of action (choosing my reasonable salary or the employer's generous range) with the most important thing being that I get the position.

marked as duplicate by Chris E, gnat, JasonJ, JakeGould, Michael Grubey Jul 9 '17 at 23:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    It's very simple: You are worth what a company is willing to pay you. If they have given you a job range for the position, and you feel it's too much, just go for the middle of that range and see what they say. – Kaz Jul 7 '17 at 14:32
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    Definitely read this Q&A. – mikeazo Jul 7 '17 at 14:43
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    Remember the danger though: If you do not meet the skill level of the job at the standard rate, you will quickly be dismissed and will have to explain why you were in the job for only a few months. Some might consider it a red flag that you took a job above your skill level, but some might consider it ambition too :) – Juha Untinen Jul 7 '17 at 14:44
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  • "... x + 60k more than ... x" Do you mean "60k more than x"? Or do you mean (as written) that the salary range is up to 2*x + 60k? – Tavian Barnes Jul 7 '17 at 19:29
up vote 66 down vote accepted

You should ask for what you think the job is worth.

I have been in this position a few times. The first time I accepted a position beyond my level of experience(was a Junior dev and applied for Intermediate) I took the job with a really modest increase with the understanding that we would evaluate salary in a year. The problem with this is that employers are generally reluctant to hand out large increases. I ended up having to leave to get market rate.

This is the easiest time for you to negotiate your salary, don't squander it.

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    +1 I would add that in this case it's even more important that you do not talk about salary until they are about to offer you the job. Once you have convinced them that you can do the job, you should be able to get them to pay you an appropriate rate for it. – DJClayworth Jul 7 '17 at 15:34
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    100% agreed. I've made that same mistake. The thing is even if you're doing the job of a more experienced person, you're still doing that same job and should be paid accordingly. – Llewellyn Jul 7 '17 at 17:04
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    Aye. If you've convinced them that you can do the job in spite of not the years of experience doing they were looking for then you are worthy of the salary doing that job typically pays. If you want to aim at the low end of their range (x + 30k) then that makes some sense as you are at the low end of their requirements. – Evan Steinbrenner Jul 7 '17 at 20:49

In your situation, I would go for the minimum range advertised, at least (x+30k, was it?).

Rationale:

  • They set up that minimum.
  • You feel that you would do well in that role (at that level).
  • You are passing the (technical) interviews.

With those facts, to me you are worth the x+30k salary at a minimum, despite your opinion. There are only a couple of caveats with this: First, you need to consider the cost of living in the city where the new role is (if you need to relocate, maybe x+30k is not that much). And secondly, if for any reason the amount you ask is too high, it is their job to negotiate you down until you find some agreement.

But seriously, do not be afraid of asking for a decent number, specially if you have passed the interviews. You are worth it ;)

  • If the posted range for the job was (x+30) to (x+60), why not start at (x+45)? It's their job to disqualify you as a candidate, not yours. – Steven Jul 8 '17 at 1:41
  • Because the OP was already anchoring himself at x+10. Of course, I could have suggested him even x+60, but the most important thing is for the OP believing the number. However, you are right, my answer is missing an "at least" - I just edited it ;) – carrdelling Jul 8 '17 at 7:51

This is easy. Don't ask for anything; make them give you an offer. You should never name a number first when negotiating anyway. If they bring it up, say that you're sure the two of you can come to terms on compensation if the position is a good fit. If they insist, say the salary you expect depends on what else is in the total compensation package, and you'll be happy to talk about it after they make you an offer.

You have nothing to gain by giving them a number first, unless you just happen to guess at the high end of the range they're considering offering you. Have them make an offer first, and then you know the ballpark of what they consider reasonable, and you can go from there with confidence.

I would not suggest offering a lower amount just to get the job. As someone else said, they are far less likely to give you a larger increase in the future. I made this mistake and it was not a good choice. I way undervalued I would not suggest offering a lower amount just to get the job. As someone else said, they are far less likely to give you a larger increase in the future. I made this mistake and it was not a good choice. I way undervalued myself and it was hard to get it up to even the lowest range of where I was comfortable.

I would do X+30K or even more. If you overshoot the amount they're looking for, they'll negotiate you down. I'd rather start slightly higher than too low.

  • "I'd rather start slightly higher than too low." Of course, that slightly is more than slightly important. Assuming that an employer is willing to offer some amount X for a position, it probably won't hurt your chances too much to start at 1.4-1.5 times X, because everyone expects a potential employee to start towards the high end. It probably would hurt your chances though to start at something like 3 times X. So even though the employer would bring you down a notch or two, it still helps to start out at least in the general vicinity of the range they have in mind for the position. – a CVn Jul 8 '17 at 13:42
  • Except that OP wants the job very much. I have already been rejected for a job, and learned much later that it was because HR felt that I would be too expensive -- we hadn't even started negotiating salary, I hadn't even been asked what range I was looking for. I don't have an answer, but I feel very strongly that WHATEVER OP says it should be in the range the employer published. If he asks for more, like you suggest, then the message is a) he hasn't read the ad, b) he's been wasting the employer's time on purpose, c) he doesn't actually want the job (choose several). – Law29 Jul 8 '17 at 16:58

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