"What is your IT salary requirement?" It’s a question we have all been asked during a job interview, but it’s not always easy to answer.

Yet knowing your salary requirement before you walk into an interview is key: The way you respond can be the difference between positioning yourself out of a job you want and securing the salary you think you deserve. That’s why it’s important to consider the IT salary requirement question before you discuss it with a hiring manager.

Use the latest Salary Guide From Robert Half to find the starting pay for IT jobs in your area.

First, you need to do a little research to determine your IT salary requirements – and consider the best way to respond to the salary question in the interview. Here are four tips:

  1. Get your figures right. Do some homework and research the latest salary trends for your city, industry and job title by reviewing compensation surveys and publications such as the Salary Guide, and talking to colleagues and recruiters.
  2. Make a solid case. You need to be able to talk specifically about your skills, experience and prior successes, especially those that have had measurable effect on the bottom line.
  3. Don't get ahead of yourself. Wait for the hiring manager to bring up the salary discussion and make sure you fully understand the requirements of the position before answering questions about your desired pay. Ask prospective employers what they think would be an appropriate range for the position so you can avoid giving a range that is too high or low.
  4. Don't bluff. It's never a good move to mislead a prospective employer about your current compensation or other higher-paying job offers in an effort to get more money. Instead, reiterate the value you can bring to the firm, and be honest about your desired salary.

Once you know your salary requirement, assuming the job interview process is going well, it's time to negotiate your salary. Here are a few tips:

  • Always try to negotiate. If you’re offered a salary that doesn't meet your expectations, it's okay to request additional compensation. Employers may start at the lower end of their salary range, leaving room to negotiate.
  • Think beyond the paycheck. Be sure to look at the full picture when evaluating a job offer. A generous benefits package or opportunities to learn and grow with the company may compensate for a lower starting salary.
  • Get it in writing. Before accepting a job offer, make sure that you get an offer in writing stating the salary. It’s never a good idea to formally accept a job offer without seeing it in writing.

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.