UIAA Alumni Career Center


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The University of Illinois Alumni Career Center provides individual and group career/life transition counseling and maintains an active liaison with employers so that University of Illinois alumni have the necessary tools to conduct a successful employment and career management campaign.
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Silence is Golden When Negotiating Salary!

Negotiating for salary is like playing cards in that both parties try to find out what the other one has in their hand and the first one who tips his hand off loses. During the interview process, the recruiter is always going to ask the candidate about salary, but it is in their best interest to avoid responding to this question. When the offer is made, recruiters typically will start low to give themselves room to negotiate while the candidate typically starts high to give themselves a little wiggle room. In the end each party wants a fair salary. The question then becomes what is fair in the minds of the beholders and what will each party be willing to settle on.

To prepare for the offer, research the salary range for the position in advance to know what your bottom line is. During the interview develop a good understanding of where your background, level of experience and overall skills and abilities fits in relation to the employer’s needs. Lastly when the time comes, be able to justify and sell the value you will bring to the company.  When the position is offered to you, Jack Chapman in his book “Negotiating Salary: How to Earn $1000 a Minute” discusses how the most effective tactic is silence. Jack recommends repeating the figure offered back to the recruiter, then saying something like, " Hmmm. Isn't that a little low?" Or, "$X/year. Hmm, is that your best offer?"

To learn more about how to negotiate, visit the “evaluating and negotiating the offer” section under the “Job Search” tab in the Virtual Career Center.

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