Adriana Herrera, PayDestiny Founder

This article helps you maximize your pay by answering the question “How big of a salary range should I give?”

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How big of a salary range should I give: Best Answer (2022)

by | Last updated Sep 15, 2022

How big of a salary range should I give? (Icon)

Are you preparing to enter a salary negotiation and asking yourself “How big of a salary range should I give?

If you’re unsure of what salary range to give you’re not alone. Many people are unsure how to handle this tricky situation. But don’t worry, this article has the information you’re looking for.

After reading this article, you’ll be able to answer the questions “How big of a salary range should I give,” “What salary range should I give,” and “What is a good salary range.” You’ll feel confident in your ability to give the right salary range in your negotiation.

If you’re ready to learn what salary range you should give in a negotiation and how big it should be then keep reading!

How big of a salary range should I give? (Icon)

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How big of a salary range should I give?

How big of a salary range should I give?

Before we answer the question “How big of a salary range should I give” it’s important we discuss questions you must ask before you give a salary range.

Regardless if you are negotiating salary for a new job, your current job, or a promotion you never want to give a salary range without first asking the questions:

  • What is the salary range budgeted for this position?
  • How is the salary calculated for this position?
  • What skills and experience determine someone is at the low end or high end of the pay scale?

If you give a salary range prior to asking the three questions above you:

May give a salary range that is low based on what the company is willing to pay and leave money on the table

  • Give the person you are negotiating with an opportunity to decide to pay you based on the low end of the salary range you provide without understanding their reasons for doing so
  • Open the door to an inequitable salary offer

In general, salary ranges are great data points to understand what the market is paying for entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level people in the same role. Salary ranges, however, are not great to use in a salary negotiation because they allow too much room for the person you are negotiating with to pick the lower end of the range as an anchor for your offer.

How big of a salary range should I give? (The range they give you)

If you choose to use a salary range in your negotiation the best range to give is the range that is provided to you when you ask “What is the salary range budgeted for this position?”

You can say something like…

How big of a salary range should I give? (Example Answer)

“Thank you for letting me know what the budgeted salary range is for the position.

 

Let’s use the salary range you provided as a placeholder for now while I learn more about the position and you learn more about my skills and experience and how they relate to the position.

 

We can use the information we learn to readjust the salary range if needed.”

Providing this answer lets the person you are negotiating with know that you are looking for a salary that reflects the value you bring to the table and a salary that is fair. It also gives the person an answer that is not set in stone. This gives you the ability to negotiate a higher salary later on.

What salary range should I give?What salary range should I give? | How big of a salary range should I give?

In a salary negotiation, prior to being made an offer, you may be asked by a recruiter or hiring manager “What are your salary range expectations?”

This question is asked to:

  • Set a salary negotiation anchor, a point of reference the person you are negotiating with can refer to as “The salary you wanted”
  • Determine if what you want to be paid aligns with what the company has budgeted for the position

If you are asked “What are your salary range expectations?” you shouldn’t provide a salary range without knowing what the company has budgeted for the position. Doing so can place you in a bad position to negotiate maximum compensation.

When you find yourself trying to answer the question “What salary range should I give” ask yourself “Do I have information from the company regarding its compensation practices?” and “Have they made me an offer?” If your answers to both of these questions is “No” to prevent receiving a lowball offer and/or setting a salary negotiation anchor you should not provide a salary range.

Instead when you are asked “What are your salary range expectations?” you can use the opportunity to gather information that will help you negotiate a competitive and equitable salary.

Here’s an example…

What are your salary range expectations? (Example Conversation)

Them

“What are your salary range expectations for this position?”

You

“Thank you for your interest in me for this position! I’m excited for the opportunity and am comfortable with a salary that is competitive for the industry and for someone with my skills and experience.

What is the salary range budgeted for the position?

Them

“The budget we have for the position is $60,000.00 – $72,000.00.”

You

“Thanks for that information!

To help me better understand how the company determines salary can you share how the company calculates salary for this position?

What skills and experience determine that someone is at the low end or high end of the pay scale?

And, what are the low, mid, and senior pay bands for this role?”

Them

“The low end of the pay scale is $60,000.00 – $63,9999.00.

This range is set for individuals who are entry level and performing the duties and responsibilities of the position for the first time and who require the most training.

$64,000.00 – $68,9999.00 is the range allotted for people with one year of experience performing the duties and responsibilities of this position and who have the following skills, XYZ.

$69,000.00 – $72,000.00 is the range allotted for people with two or more years of experience performing the duties and responsibilities of this position, who have XYZ skills, and/or who have shown mastery of the position’s responsibilities in their performance by achieving ABC outcomes.”

You

“Okay, thanks for that information!

Let’s set $72,000.00 as a placeholder for now while I learn more about the position and you learn more about my skills and experience and how they relate to the position and senior level pay band. If needed, we can readjust.”

In this example, no salary range is given in response to the question “What are your salary range expectations for this position?” Rather the question is used as an opportunity to:

  • Learn about the company’s compensation practices
  • Utilize information provided by the company to maximize the salary negotiation anchor (e.g. the high end of the senior level pay band)

The salary range you should give is one that reflects your understanding of the company’s compensation practices and puts you in a position to negotiate maximum pay.

What is a good salary range?

What is a good salary range? | How big of a salary range should I give?

Many career coaches will say that a good salary range to provide in a salary negotiation is a range that reflects what the market is paying for the job’s duties to be completed.

As I’ve shared, sharing a salary range in a negotiation (even if the salary range reflects what the market is paying) opens the door to having the person you’re negotiating with set a salary negotiation anchor and/or to use the salary range you provide to make a lowball offer that leaves you underpaid.

Giving a salary range without knowing the company’s budget for the position, how salary for the position is calculated, and what skills and experiences place you in a low pay bracket versus a high pay bracket puts you in a bad salary negotiation position, regardless of market research.

What is a good salary range? (Example)

Let’s say you are negotiating salary with a company that just received a large multi-million dollar round of investor funding and is tasked with hiring and retaining the best employees.

In this very real scenario what the market is paying may be significantly lower than what the company is willing to pay you. If you were to present a salary range based on what the market is paying you could leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table.

In this example, a good salary range is a range that takes into account what the company has budgeted for the position, the company’s compensation practices, what skills and experience determine the low end of the pay scale and the high end of the pay scale, and what the market is paying (in the case that the range provided by the company is lower than market rate).

What is a good salary range? (Answer)

A good salary range to provide in a salary negotiation is a salary range that reflects what the company has budgeted for the position, its compensation practices, and how the company determines where someone falls on the pay scale.

Once you have this information and a firm offer you can use the information to conduct market research to determine if the offer you received is competitive and equitable.

How big of a salary range should I give? (FAQs)

How big of a salary range should I give? (FAQs)

How big of a salary range should I give? (FAQs):

Should I give a range or number for salary?

When you have not received a firm offer it’s best to not give a salary range or number when asked “What are your salary expectations?”

This is because the employer can use the information you provide to make you a low offer. This is because whatever number or range you give them is telling them what you would be happy with.

Rather than directly give a range or number for salary it’s best to ask what the company has budgeted for the position and to use the information they provide as a placeholder.

Doing this allows you to ask questions about the position to ensure the job description isn’t leaving duties and responsibilities out that need to be accounted for in the salary. Doing this also allows you to perform market research to compare an offer to what the market is paying someone with your skill set and experience to perform the job’s duties and responsibilities.

How to avoid giving a salary range?

The best way to avoid giving a salary range is to say something like…

“I’m excited to learn more about this position.

 

Thank you for considering me!

 

Right now, I don’t feel that I know enough about the job’s duties and responsibilities to give a meaningful answer.

 

What do you have budgeted for the position?”

This answer avoids giving a salary range by:

  • Expresses gratitude (which makes you more likable)
  • Shares that you don’t have enough information to give a salary range
  • Uses the opportunity to gather information from the company

Questions? Leave a Comment.

Now, I’d like to hear from you!

Did it surprise you to learn that when you’re asked a salary range expectation question the best salary range to give is actually the one the company shares with you?

Let me know in the comment section below.

Also, feel free to share this article so other people can use the information to maximize their pay too! Thanks!

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