Part 5: “What kind of salary do you expect?”
As we wrap up this blog series today, we are contemplating one of the toughest issues that job candidates will face in an interview, the discussion of salary. What kind of salary do you expect? What’s your bottom dollar when it comes to being compensated for your job? What salary range are you interested in?
The question can be asked in several different ways, but the answers must have little room for variance. This topic must be well thought out as you prepare for your big interview, and you must be very confident and direct as you ready yourself to approach the mention of salary.
An important point to remember is that it will be in your best interest to avoid answering any question pertaining to a desired salary range on the front end. This would be tantamount to someone asking what you’re willing to pay for a house you haven’t seen yet. A good response to this is, “I think it best to discuss the needs of this position in addition to my qualifications, which will provide both sides with the necessary information to determine appropriate compensation”. If you are required to provide a range up front in an application, put a huge range with the low number being the top of what you want. e.g. $60K-$120K. Do not worry about pricing yourself out of a conversation. If they don’t want to pay what you want, they aren’t a good fit anyway.
The next step in best preparing yourself for a solid interview is to really dig into your research and make a few inquiries. First off, be sure you’ve inquired about the additional benefits of the job, so that you’re looking at the big picture. Health insurance, dental, 401k, pension, stock options, time off, etc. are all very important as part of your package. If you are in a situation where you do not need some of the benefits being offered, suggest increasing salary for declining health insurance, etc. A second area of inquiry should be regarding the compensation increase structure. If it is not very aggressive, a few percentage points annually, suggest a higher starting point. Remember, once you agree to a number and get started, it is VERY difficult to renegotiate in the future.
Many people who think they are ready to nail a job interview are not yet very effective negotiators. The thought of rising up in opposition to your potential employer can seem kind of unsettling, and understandably so. However, confidently defending your angle in the matter of your compensation is a respectable place to be in, as long as you are demonstrating clear and sound explanations.
This negotiation experience can be seen as an opportunity to provide additional information to overcome the potential objection of the hiring manager, by providing in detail what you can produce for the company to make it worth paying a bit more. The CFO might be a hard sell, but if the individual that is interviewing you is in your corner with you then you stand a better chance of pulling out a win with a higher salary.
Remember. if you get to the point a company wants to hire you, they truly want to hire you! This is the opportunity to negotiate strongly, where most people miss out. Be confident in your requests and avoid the tendency to ask for something and immediately start defending it. It’s a sales game, sharpen your skills and you will win it!