How To Discuss Your Salary At a Job Interview

job interview

If things were to go our way, we would all get the jobs that we loved to do and get paid exactly what we wanted for it. But the reality is quite different from that. Most of us really don’t love our jobs and are doing these jobs for pay we’re not happy with. This is the perfect recipe for dissatisfaction and resentment and in most cases can cause us to perform poorly which can lose us our jobs. Because of this, it’s extremely important to negotiate a proper salary when interviewing for a job. But this is much easier said than done. Discussing your salary at a job interview could be awkward and finding the right moment to even bring it up could be difficult. Waiting too long could cause you to put it off until it’s too late and broaching the topic too early could annoy the job interviewer – which is the last thing you want.

Hiring managers are not eager to let you know their salary ranges because they don’t want to set a precedent that is high on the chance that the job interviewee would have much lower expectations. So how do you decide on when and how to negotiate for a salary such that you would reach a consensus that is as close as possible to your expectations?  These steps will help you determine when and how to negotiate a salary that will be satisfactory to you.

Do your salary research.
It’s always a good idea to know how much people in the position you’re going for make. This would prevent you from looking foolish by proposing an amount that is nowhere near this value. Your research will help you figure out what you’re worth, how the company pays when compared to others in its industry and what someone in the position earns. These criteria will keep you from making an initial proposition that is too low or too high.

Don’t go the old school route.

This is the school of thought that says it’s only okay to discuss your salary if the hiring manager brings it up first. The interviewer will usually bring it when the job interview is coming to a close and by this time he/she has made up their mind whether or not you are fit for the position. If you’re extremely lucky, the amount they propose will be exactly what you wanted and it will be a win win situation. But it’s almost never so. This method could work if it’s your first job and you’re inexperienced, or you’re extremely lucky.

Don’t bring it up prematurely.
We all know that your wage is very important, but bringing it up too soon will give your interviewer the impression that money is the only thing driving you. If you really love the job and would be willing to do it, even for less than what you expect to receive, don’t send out the wrong signals by being too eager to talk salary. Instead, wait till the job interview is almost over before bringing it up. It’s a good practice to know if both you and the interviewer think you’re fit for the job before broaching the subject of your salary. Letting the interviewer know that you’d like to better understand the responsibilities of the job before discussing salary will only work in your favour. The point is to not appear too eager to discuss wages and put everything else in the back seat.

If it’s not a single job interview.
If the salary being proposed by the interviewer doesn’t match your expectations, or is not a value you can settle for, then there is obviously no point in going forward with the job interview as it would be a waste of everyone’s time. All the more reason to get to the main point once you decide you are right for the job. When the job interview involves multiple processes, it’s best to bring up your salary at the start of the second interview. Start the interview with a question and keep it clear that this is a negotiation and not a demand. You could ask “Would you be the right person to discuss salary with? If so, is this a convenient time to discuss it?”

But even if you ask properly, you might still not get a straightforward answer. When you ask this question, be prepared for it to be thrown back at you. The interviewer could ask you what range you’re looking for or what you made in your previous job and this is where your salary research would come in. when answering the question of the salary range you expect, your answer should be the value you decided on when doing salary research earlier.

If the question is about your previous salary and you feel like mentioning the amount would significantly reduce the amount you hope to settle on, then it’s in your best interest to not answer that question. You could deflect the question by saying “I’m not sure that the salary I made in my last position is relevant with regard to this opportunity.  It was a different position with different responsibilities, not to mention with a different company. More importantly, I am looking for a job that can compensate me fairly for my skills and experience.”

When negotiating, have a limit in mind.
Know in advance the lowest salary you’d accept. This will help you make sure you don’t settle for a value you will come to regret later, even if you’re a bad negotiator.

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