Who can forget the infamous scene in Jerry Maguire where Cuba Gooding Jr and Tom Cruise banter back and forth while yelling “show me the money”?  When I think of negotiating salary for a new position, my mind automatically envisions this scene.  Apart from yelling, “show me the money” to a possible employer, here are some steps to help you meet your salary expectations.

Research before Applying

The key to getting a job that meets your wage requirement is research.  You should begin your research before you even apply for a position.  The salary may be stated directly in the job posting; however, if it isn’t, you can find the salaries of comparable positions on websites like  These comps are based on job title, industry, years of experience, etc.  After locating the comps of the job you wish to apply for, you will know if it is likely to fall within your desired range.  If it doesn’t reflect your desired salary, you may want to move on and apply for jobs that better suit your requirements.

Utilize the Interview

Once you get past the application, the interview is your opportunity to indicate what your salary expectations are.  When the interviewer asks, “what is the salary that you are hoping to make”, you should give them the range you researched, or if you feel comfortable you can give them an exact number.   According to Careerealism’s founder J.T. O’Donnell, “If you can’t give a range and have to provide a single salary, choose the middle of your range, maybe even a little bit lower.  You’d rather be lower than their target rate than over it”.   Keep in mind that there are exceptions to this i.e. more years of experience, higher education, etc.

Review the Job Offer

After the interview and selection process, the employer will call you with an offer if you are the right candidate for the job.  This is the time when you will be informed of the salary and benefits that accompany the position.  You will most likely know if the offer meets your requirements immediately; however, if you are undecided, it is reasonable to ask for time to review their offer.  Take a day, or at most two days, to review the offer.  During this time make sure to review all aspects of the offer including benefits.

Negotiate if Needed

Once you have reviewed the offer, it’s time to accept or counter.  An acceptance call is very straightforward, but there are a couple of aspects to remember if you choose to negotiate at this time.  First, if you are negotiating for a job that is the same or similar to your current position, you can ask for a higher salary (but be willing to meet somewhere in the middle).  On the other hand, if you are moving to a higher position, you should come prepared to counter with 10-15% more than your current salary.  And lastly, if this is a whole new career path, it is important to remember that while you can ask for more, you may start out at the low end of the pay scale due to a lack of experience.  In this case, it is important to note if there are opportunities to move up in the company.


Inside, you may be thinking “show me the money” when you are offered a job; however, the better reaction is to stay poised, remember your research and make an informed decision so that your salary expectations are met (or hopefully exceeded).