iStock_000049039166_Small-1-622x229To give or not to give a range?

That’s one of the daunting questions job seekers ask themselves before entering the negotiating room. Choosing the wrong strategy can leave more than $1 million on the table over a 45-year career, according to analysis by That’s a lot of money and probably not coincidentally, why negotiating your salary is such an intimidating and agonizing process for most people.

Before you decide on a range or sticking to an exact, single number, below are six arguments you should consider.

1. When you give a range, be prepared that employers will likely choose the lower end. Don’t be offended because if the employer gave you a range first, you would likely choose the highest end.

If giving a range means employers are just going to decide on the lowest number, then why give a range?

2. If you’re asked to be the first to disclose a salary number, giving a broad range can save you from turning the employer off in the case the salary you asked for is too high. This is even more imperative if you’re not sure what the employer’s budget is for the position. Additionally, giving a range is seen as you being flexible and cooperative.

If you’re not asked to make the first offer, consider doing so as research finds the first numbers given act as anchors for the rest of the negotiation.

3. Give a “bolstering range” with the bottom range being the number you would use in a single point offer leads to a higher salary in the end. According to a new study from Columbia University, even if the numbers you set are ambitious, people don’t want to insult you by going lower than your bottom range. As a result, people who give bolstering ranges end up with higher compensations.

4. Giving a range prevents counter-offers. As mentioned in the study above, when there are numbers listed on the bottom and top ends, people expect you don’t want to go any lower than your bottom number. Any counter-offer made never really leaves the range that you give. This is not always the case with exact numbers as you’re never really sure what kind of counter-offer the employer will make.

5. A weird, precise number leads people to believe there’s a reason why you’ve chosen that number. Whether you’re giving a range or a precise number, remember that people trust specific odd numbers more than they do round numbers, said a study by Columbia Business School. According to Malia Mason, author of the study, you’d benefit more from choosing $103,500 rather than $100,000.

Think about it this way: if you said that you saw 105 customers in a store, people are more likely to assume you counted every person than if you said that you saw 100 customers.

6. Give your target number with your minimum number already in mind. Before you enter the negotiating room, determine both numbers, so that you have your anchor numbers ready in your head in case the negotiating process doesn’t go as planned.