So you are done with the initial phase of interview & have been shortlisted for a HR round & it’s the time for the salary negotiation when you find it awkward to ask for the type of money you have in your mind. Talking salary with a hiring manager during your job search can feel awkward. Prospective employers are not jumping at the chance to divulge salary ranges because they typically want to leave their options open.
Only negotiate salary after you have agreement in principle from someone with hiring authority that, if a mutually acceptable compensation can be agreed upon, you will be hired. This is really, really important because it has direct implications for your negotiating strategy. First, the company is going to spend a lot of time and effort on getting you to the point of agreement-in-principle. Pretend you’ve gone through six rounds of interviews. (You probably won’t if you get hired on informal networks, because all barriers vanish when important people want a deal to get done, but let’s give some advice to someone a little less well-situated.) Do some quick mental math on what that actually cost the company.
Every handbook on negotiation and every blog post will tell you not to give a number first. This advice is almost always right. When people with hiring authority think of winners, they think of people like them who live and breathe this business thing. They negotiate things as a matter of course: that is a major portion of the value they bring to the company & in that case one shouldn’t volunteer with numbers.