How to negotiate salary range during job interview

This article sends me down memory lane, few years ago when I got my first job, I can still vividly remember sitting in the well aired big white coated room with stack of stern looking suited horned rimmed eye glasses guysthrowing bunch of questions at me, while I remained undaunted having prepared myself with top interview question which I had gotten from the pages of some online job recruiting platforms. Impressed with my poise and comportment which nearly gave me away as I mumbled when asked the question, what is my salary expectation?

While it never occurred to me that I should take the question very serious as I had come across how to answer it on the various online platforms which I had visited, however I was quite lucky to have come up with a way to maneuver this question even though I dearly paid for it after getting the job two weeks later.

This actually prompted the need to write this article on how to negotiate salary during interview sessions. There is no doubt that interview sessions in Nigeria can be very nervy as there comes with it so many pressures. Many job seekers in their search for jobs in Nigeria often go to the venue of their various interview sessions with a certain degree of determination which comes with the frustration of roaming everywhere looking for jobs, while for some job seekers in Nigeria who are probably fresh graduates and are new to the labor markets and are having their first interview session in their job hunt, they go with a certain level of anxiety which shows their naivety, even though I cannot generalize in this two cases nevertheless interview sessions comes with some certain level of anxiousness to impress and make a good statement with the recruiting firms and agencies who might in the long run turn out to be your potential employer.

Interviews are important part or process which is employed by recruiters in their selection process, so before we delve fully into how you can negotiate successfully for a proper salary range in your interview. Below are some of the importance of interview sessions for both employers and the employees.

Importance of Interview for Employers

  1. Information about job-seeking candidate

Interview collects information interview sessions for employers gives them a great chance to gather organic data about the personality of the job seeker they intend employing into their organization. Through the interview process, they get to ask salient questions on a one on one basics with the job seeker where they are able to successfully gather information about the about the candidate’s cultural and educational background, work experience, intelligence quotient, communication skills, personality type, interests, social behavior, etc. these data are filed and kept for reference purpose which can be easily accessed any time by the organization. This also gives them a peep into the behavioral patter and attributes of the job-seeker they are about to employ or bring into their organization.

  1. Supplements the application blank

Some companies and firms in the course of putting out application forms for their advertised positions do not often get the chance to collect adequate information about the details of their applicants. And as a result of this they are always unable to get the much needed information they need from their applicant which makes it hard for them to make a good selection or decision on the choice or their preferred candidates. While most of the candidates often attach their Curriculum Vitae and Cover Letter to their application form and many at times these curriculum vitae and cover letters contain data that are probably not true. Interview sessions gives the recruiting firms the opportunity to get more information as well as validate the existing ones with them. During meeting, interview process helps an interviewer to collect that information which is currently not available in the Application Blank. Thus, an interview supplements the Application Blank by collecting and verifying some missing information of the candidate.

  1. Interview helps to select a right person

Interview sessions goes a long way in helping companies and organizations to help them in the selection process of their respective applicants. This is because through this process they get to talk various applicants, compare and contrast their abilities and capabilities as well as other important factors which they are looking for to add to their team.   Personal interview is the best method of selecting the right person for the right post.

  1. Interview collects useful information

Interview sessions helps recruiting firms to collect various useful information from the numbers of applicants interviewed by them. this is made possible because during the course of the interview process, the candidates often discuss their various work experiences, research works and other important areas which the recruiting firms can gainfully use for other purposes.

  1. Helps in promotions and transfers

In the course of Interviews sessions, the information provided by the applicants who is eventually employed by the recruiting firm, which are collected and filed can be easily used by the company or firm to evaluate and re-assess the candidate later on in the event of promotion or transfer.

Importance of Interview for Job Seekers

  1. 1. Provides employment opportunity

Interview process or opportunity provides to many job seekers the opportunity to convince the recruiting firms that they are the right fit for the position that they are applying for. Evaluations are made at the end of every interview session were the recruiting firm makes a choice on who their preferred candidate is which is usually based on the performance of the candidates involved.  This is why is been advised that candidates or job seekers should not just bank on any social connection which some of them always claim to have that will help them secure the job that they are applying for, but they should also ensure that they prepare well for their respective interview sessions, ensuring that they make good impression.

  1. Develop confidence in candidates

Another benefits of interviews are that it instills and help applicants get a certain level of confidence, this is majorly applicable to young college graduates who are new with little or no experience in the art of managing job interviews. The economics of job search and attending job interviews is that you may not get the job in your first try, while some may get it on their very first try. However, it is important that you if you do not get the job offer, do not get discourage, leverage on your experience, evaluate your performance objectively and critically and   engage new   ways and methods to improve your performance in future or subsequent interview sessions.

  1. Helps candidates to accept or reject the job

Another basic fact or truth which you must come to embrace in your quest to getting a job in Nigeria is that not all jobs are meant for you. There are jobs in Nigeria that you will accept on the first offer, ones that comes with good working conditions and pay checks while there are some that will come with discouraging and uncomfortable job working condition, so it is not a bad thing to reject jobs which you feel is not right for you.  You first orientation or understanding can only be gotten through a proper research and background check on the firm or company that you are applying to which you can then corroborate during the interview session. This is why you must be ready to ask important question during your interview session. This will give you a clear understanding of your   role and also help you state and highlight your expectations. If you are not comfortable with the terms and conditions, you do have every right to say no.

Factors you must consider before giving a salary range

As stated in the introductory part of this article, knowing what salary range to tell your prospective employer during the process of a job interview or after the process of a job interview can be daunting and tasking as you may be in the dark regarding what to say. There are many reasons why this topic is always treated sacred and untouchable, reasons are most applicants do not want to be seen as cheap or too expensive to be employed by either asking for too much or asking less. However, it is a question which you must answer and cannot shy away with. This is during your interview process you have the duty to sell yourself well. Before any interview session, do ensure that you prepare your curriculum vitae well, adding the right and necessary details. Your cover letter must be top-notch. This s also applicable to your when you are writing your application letter.

  1. Geographical location– this is an important factor to be considered when stating or negotiating for a salary range. The distance of your area of residence to the venue of the work will definitely be a major influence in picking or deciding a salary range although some recruiters might prefer to go for someone that has a nearer location to the work place nevertheless it is an important factor to be considered else you spend your salary on transportation. You can actually consider if it’s possible the idea of relocating to somewhere nearer. Furthermore, depending on the economics or the cost of living in the area, you must ensure that your salary range is tailored to meet the economic realities of your geographical location. The   amount that will be given for someone that lives in Ekiti State to that of someone living in Abuja or Lagos will definitely be different as the cost of living in each of these different geographical locations are different.  This explains those doing IT jobs in Nigeria would earn more than each other in different states in the country. An IT professional in Osun State will definitely earn less than one with the same experience and same industry in Abuja.
  2. Your experience and skills

When deciding your salary range, it is very important that you put your experience, training and skills into consideration. You cannot compare the salary a new graduate will get to what someone with years of experience will get for the same job. Also your skills, this should also be put into consideration, there are several individuals who possess certain professional skills and other value added skills which other applicants might not necessarily possess, as a result of these be confident about you and what you have and ensure that you use it well to your advantage in bargaining a salary structure for yourself.

  1. Personal accomplishments

While it is important that you use your years of experience, skills, and training to your advantage it is also important that you also put into considerations your personal achievements. This is particularly for people who are already doing one thing or the other. Probably they have done certain jobs or activities in which they came out with brilliant and impressive records with certifications or awards to show for it. Using this as an example, an award winning journalist or actor/actress will definitely earn more than his colleague in same job industry in Nigeria but with no or less personal accomplishments. Recruiting firms will be pleased to having individuals with big profile into their job set-up and will always be willing to pay more to have them especially if there is a big competition in the industry with candidates with big profiles.

  1. Job responsibility

Clear details of your job responsibilities will also go a long way in determining your salary range, a job with little job responsibilities may not probably command more salary as compared to a job with more job responsibilities. So this is why it is important for you to fully understand the details of the job responsibilities before you make a decision or give your opinion as to what you are expecting from the company or organization.

  1. Your industry can determine the salary range

There are certain industries in Nigeria that decides the range of salary for workers under their structure. A typical example is those working in the marine industry. For them there is a fixed range or limit when it comes to their starting salary and according to the law guiding this industry they cannot be paid less.

  1. Risk involved

There are certain jobs which involves big risk ranging from health to security among many other factors.  These jobs in Nigeria always comes with higher pay and applicants must be confident enough to point to these various risk during their interview process. A typical example is the case of those working in the northern part of Nigeria as essential workers. The non-governmental organization which they are working for always pay them more because of the security risk involved in their work. This is also applicable to those working in Chemical Industries, there is a lot of hazards, that is health risk which is involved which necessarily demands and require that they get higher pay for this.

Having known these various factors which, you must have in mind or consider before stating your salary range it is also important that you do the following before answering the question.

  1. Honesty– it is actually important for you to be honest in your response to this question. Attempt to lie or manipulate facts or your profiles in order to demand for higher salary structure may boomerang which will definitely cost you the job offer. Be sincere and honest with your response as much as you can.
  2. Research- do not just walk into the venue of any interview session without doing a proper research and background check. This is a general rule attached to searching for job in Nigeria. Do well to have it in mind that there are people who are already employed in the firm you are applying to for a more similar position. So do well to find out if possible from them and if not possible check for people who are doing same job in other firm and use their scale to measure yours bearing in mind other factors like your training, years of experience, geographical location, risk involved among many others.
  3. Without current salary information– Your current salary is nobody’s business but your own. Do not volunteer this information or use it as part of your range discussion. Look at it this way: the prospective company should consider your current salary as almost irrelevant. Your desired salary is a function of the value you bring, the problems you can solve and what the prospective employer can pay.


Everyone certainly want a job that falls into the category of the highest paying jobs in Nigeria, this is why it is impossible that you constantly add value to yourself in whatever you do and wherever you are. Always seek opportunities to continually learn something new every day, attend seminars, do online course, take professional course, add new degrees and constantly update yourself with world new trends. Getting your dream job is possible if you have the right attitude and commitment to achieving it. Good luck

By Marcus Amudipe

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