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While you should never put the cart before the horse, when you’re interviewing for a job or expecting a promotion, you should have an idea of what kind of salary number you want. This previous post should help you know how to identify that number.

So, once you’ve nailed your interview and it’s clear they’re going to make you an offer, the negotiating begins. But the problem with so many people is that they think they need to accept the first offer because they need or really want the job. But how you initially respond to the offer drives everything.

This is why it’s so important that you have that researched salary number in mind ahead of time. When you regroup with the hiring manager and a number is offered, the key is to respond truthfully.  If you’re disappointed and feel you deserve more, don’t settle! Give them one of three truthful statements:

1. “That’s acceptable.”

2. “That’s reasonable.”

3. “That’s disappointing.”

From there, more real, honest communication can begin about salary and what it will take for them to have you. Trust me, if they’re making you the offer, you’re the one they want. They’re not going to change their mind instantly if you show a little disappointment with the number offered.

Take it from someone who’s been on the other side of the table. They just know it means more discussion is needed before they can get the person they want – YOU!