Pre-Offer Negotiations

Negotiating starts before the offer? Just when you thought negotiating couldn’t get any worse, eh? The recruiter wants to make sure you’re in the right ballpark for compensation before spending time with the interview.
1
💰"How much are you looking to make?"
It’s best to not answer this question. It can’t really help you. If you say a number too low, you run the risk of getting a low offer. If you say a number too high, you might hurt your chances getting the offer.
Response:
"At this point, I’m quite open to compensation. I expect we’ll have a conversation about this further down the line when we decide we want to work together. I’m open to exploring any offer as long it is a competitive one."
Recruiter:
"We need to know this now or else we can’t move forward in the interview process. I don’t want to waste our team’s time interviewing if we find out later you’re outside our window for compensation."
Response:
"I’m open to any fair and reasonable offer. I'd be open to hearing what ranges you're thinking. While I'm not ready to commit to any hard numbers just yet, I can tell you if that's in the ballpark for offers I'd be willing to accept."
2
🤑"Are you interviewing elsewhere?"
Never give up your negotiating leverage by admitting they’re you’re only option.
Response:
"Yes, at this point, I’m still exploring my options. I’ve got a few things I’m considering."
Recruiter:
“So where are you interviewing?”
Response:
"I can’t really speak to the specifics of my process right now until I’m a bit further along. I look forward to working with you though and seeing if we’re a good fit for each other."
3
🏙️Current Salary
Does this sound familiar? “I went through 3 weeks of interviews before I found out the offer was lower than what I currently make.” Sucks, right? So should you just tell them what you make currently?

Definitely not. Why not?

When you tell the recruiter exactly how much you make, you have just lost all your leverage in the negotiations. You hopefully want to make more than what you’re currently making, right?
Recruiter:
“How much are you looking to make?
Response:
"At this point, I’m quite open on compensation. I expect we’ll have a conversation about this further down the line when we decide to work together. I’m open to exploring any offer as long as it is a competitive one."
Recruiter:
“Well, we really need to know something or else we can’t move forward in the interview process. We don’t want to discover you’re outside our compensation band and waste your time and ours."
Response:
"Would you mind sharing the ranges you had in mind? I’m not quite ready to commit to any hard numbers yet but can tell you if it’s in the ballpark of offers that sound reasonable."