Here’s how to ask for higher salary during a job interview: ‘Candidates must come prepared’

HERZLIYA, Israel — Most workers want to make more money but asking for a higher salary during job interviews requires a delicate approach. The wrong tone, or an unrealistic figure, can derail an interview quickly. Now, researchers from Reichman University has examined both the psychological and financial consequences of seeking more money in salary negotiations.

“The findings of the study show that in order to achieve the best results in salary negotiations, candidates must come prepared and find out ahead of time what the acceptable salary range is for the position they are applying for. After that, candidates should be the first ones to make an offer. And what should they ask for? Our research shows that you should ask for the highest salary within the acceptable range, but not more than that,” explains Dr. Yossi Maaravi, Dean of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at Reichman University, in a media release.

Study authors hope their work helps job seekers more eloquently navigate the rigors of landing the right job with the right salary. Scientists have long studied the job recruitment process, but most of those earlier studies have focused on the relatively early stages of the recruitment process (sources of recruitment) or long-term outcomes (employee satisfaction, employee turnover). Consequently, modern science has thus far neglected the later stages of the job-seeking process, like salary negotiations.

This latest research focused on salary negotiations during the hiring process, including the effects of the job candidates’ initial salary requests on recruiters.

The research team put together four experiments and a pilot encompassing roughly 1,000 participants who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Later on, study authors added other professionals who worked as resource managers from Israel, England, and the United States.

They split all the participants into seven research groups, with each cohort receiving a different salary request from a job candidate. Importantly, all of those hypothetical salary requests fell within the accepted range for the positions in question (between 13,000 and 17,000 NIS, or a similar range in dollars for the international workers). Next, each group had to give a counteroffer. Study authors settled on customary salaries via the websites Glassdoor and the Israeli AllJobs.

Finally, study participants also had to give their opinion of the job candidate and rate them on a “liking” scale. Interestingly, the higher a salary the candidate asked for, the less the recruiters liked them. This was particularly apparent for those who requested a salary that exceeded the accepted range. The research suggests that making an especially high salary request often results in the candidates’ chances of being accepted for the position declining considerably. This project included both male and female job seekers, and the results remained consistent among both genders.

The study is published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior.

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