I just heard one of the best responses to the question “what are you looking to make in your next role” in a while. The candidate replied with the following:
“I can’t go below $A. Between $B and $C seems to be the fair market value (based on my experience and what other companies have told me). $D, though, would be ideal.”
I loved it. It was firm, confident, logical and well-researched. I also happen to think this person is an excellent candidate so it makes me want to come in with an offer of $D—win-win for both the candidate and us.
Don’t be afraid to talk first in salary talks, especially to recruiters, and especially if you know what the market is paying for your experience level. It shows you know what you are talking about. You won’t have to worry about companies low-balling you and, if you’re good (given the company likes you), you’ll get what you’re ideally looking for.