Job Hakr

Blog from the Job Hakr: Student Affairs Job Search

Blog from the Job Hakr: Student Affairs Job Search


Before you Apply: Student Affairs Salary Negotiation

Before you Apply: Student Affairs Salary Negotiation

Before you Apply: Student Affairs Salary Negotiation

Before you Apply: Student Affairs Salary Negotiation

The most common questions asked during the student affairs job search revolves around salary, compensation, and negotiation.  These are all important questions to ask, but they are often subjects that come up too late in the job search.

My advisees have often asked me this question WHILE they are negotiating. But they would be in a better position IF they had addressed these question both BEFORE and DURING their job search.

There really is no time like the present to think about your negotiation strategy and how you plan on getting compensated.

So let’s get started early.  Here are some tips that I’ve shared with an innumerable number of mentees on student affairs salary negotiating strategies BEFORE they apply for the job:

Avoid sharing your salary history in the application

You’ll be requested to share your salary history in your application. This is not something that you should do. It’s also a question you should avoid answering during your opening interview.

“Why shouldn’t I share what I expect to make?”

This is because sharing could reduce your earning potential.  This is especially true if what you’re being paid right now is below market rate.

“But there’s this field in the application that says I should enter my current or last salary here.”

If you’re asked what your current or past salaries are in positions then you can always do the following:

When asked in an application:

·        Leave it Blank

·        Enter: “Market Rate” or “$0” or “0” or “1”

What do I do if asked what my salary expectations are during an interview?

If you are asked what your salary expectations are during an interview you can always follow up with responses like:

·        “Can we work to determine if I’m a good fit for the position first?  Then I’d like to learn more about what the day to day responsibilities are so I can determine what a competitive salary is.”

·        “What is your budget for this position and can you provide a competitive range?”

·        “I’ll consider an offer that’s reasonable and competitive.”

·        “I believe that you’re in a better position to know how much I’m worth to you in this position than I would know.”

There is a purpose to not revealing your salary history or what you’d consider for the position. This is so that the institution will have to name a number first. Once you do that, you’ll have the momentum to make the decision.

If the number is above what you expected….

…then you can take the offer as it or choose to negotiate further.

If it’s below what you expected….

….then you can say no to the offer. But don’t say how much under the offer is compared to what you were expecting. Let the institution return with a new offer.

When can’t I negotiate?

Some institutions will have collective bargaining agreements or unions in place which set a salary rate and compensation. If this is the case for your position, then unfortunately don’t have much wiggle room to negotiate further. These positions will state this condition in the job posting. You can also ask the hiring manager or human resources representative if the position is subject to collective bargaining.

Closing thoughts

Most of the questions I get about the student affairs job search are about salary negotiation. So by popular demand I decided to collect and answer all of the most frequently asked questions into a comprehensive training.

This training is a pretty big project, but I’m already well on my way to completing it.  I would love to share the results with you when its ready.

Would you like to know when the training launches? If so, then click here to be notified when it goes live!

Happy negotiating,

Dave Eng, EdD

Provost, The Job Hakr



Roth, J. (2014, April 23). How to Negotiate Your Salary. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from

Snider, S. (2019, January 16). What You Need to Know to Secure Your Dream Salary. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from