A reader writes:

I was wondering if it is okay to negotiate salary on a role that a salary range was provided during the course of the interview. For example, if during the initial phone interview I was provided a range of $60K to $70K, is it acceptable to try to negotiate more once an offer is made? Obviously the recruiter asked if that range was okay, and I stated that it was a good place to start and that I wanted to hear more. Now that I’ve had an in-person interview with the hiring manager, I am wondering if I can negotiate more (if I get an offer at all) or if I agreed to the salary range to begin with and am stuck.

You can attempt to negotiate more!

In this case, it doesn’t even sound like you agreed to the range they gave — you said it was a reasonable starting place but you wanted to learn more. So you left the door open for the possibility that you might ask for more.

But even if you’d said a more firm yes to that range, it’s not out of the question that, upon learning more about the job and its responsibilities and having time to reflect, you might think a higher salary was warranted and decide to ask for one.

However, because they already gave a range, you do need to acknowledge that when you do it. You can do that by saying something like, “After learning more about the job, and particularly about the size team this position manages, I’m hoping you can do $X instead.” Ideally, like in that example, you’d put something specific in there about what you learned that makes you think more money is warranted.

The other thing is, now that you know their range, you can’t really go way, way over it. If they told you their range was $60-70K, it’s unrealistic for you to then come back with $110K. You want to stay in their general ballpark. If their general ballpark is totally mismatched with the job, ideally the time to address that is when they first gave you that range — so in that case, you wouldn’t have said “that sounds like a good place to start” and instead would have said, “Ah, I think we may be pretty far apart on salary” or otherwise addressed it in the moment or soon after.

The basic principle, though, is that you never need to be irrevocably pinned down on salary before you’ve had a chance to learn all of what the job entails.

can I ask for a higher salary if I agreed to a lower range at the start of the interview process? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.