How to talk with your future employer about money. (Part 1)
“What Are Your Salary Expectations?”
When interviewers ask that question, what do they really want to learn? First, they are wondering if they can afford you. Does your expectation match what they are able or willing to pay? Second, they may want to catch a glimpse into your self-worth. Third, the employer wants to know if you have done your research.
When an employer makes a job offer, they usually present you with a starting salary and highlight the benefits being provided. The offer may be verbal or written. You will likely consider “negotiating” for a higher starting salary if you feel the offer fails to line up with your education, abilities, skills, and experience. You may also want to think about some other forms of compensation, such as a sign-on bonus, relocation assistance, or money for travel and training.
Knowing when and how to approach a salary negotiation is a valuable skill that will help ensure you are appropriately compensated for the work you are being hired to do. Like any skill, negotiation takes preparation and practice to do comfortably and with confidence.
TIP: Salary negotiation is a discussion between yourself and a representative of the hiring organization. The objective of the conversation is for both you and the employer to ensure you receive a fair and equitable starting salary. A typical salary negotiation will consist of one or two back-and-forth exchanges.
When is the Right Time to Talk About Salary?
1. On the Application – Applications may require you to list your salary expectations. One option is to try to skip the question. However, you will probably have to answer. Here are some possible responses: Enter a salary range, based on your research. Write “negotiable” or something similar to show flexibility. If possible, avoid providing a specific number that may limit your options later.
2. After the employer’s representative brings it up – First, you should focus on the job, all that you have to offer, and organization’s culture. They know salary is important to you, but they want to feel that your top priority is the opportunity on the table. If the organization’s representative does not mention the topic, you may ask about compensation toward the end of the interview when you are likely to be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”
3. Once you receive the offer – After you’ve been offered the job, you can use the offer to your advantage. Consider asking for a salary that is five to ten percent above the original offer to see what your prospective employer can offer you in terms of higher pay. This is also the time when you may ask about other forms of compensation.
TIP: To minimize going back and forth and to minimize potential for misunderstanding, try to negotiate by telephone or in person.
Ready – Begin your salary negotiation with preparation, practice, and self-assurance.
Restrain – Let the employer take the lead in bringing up the subject of salary.
Request – Make the most of your chance to graciously ask for what you’re worth.
Replace – Know what you value and may want to negotiate if the employer cannot offer a higher salary.
Salary is obviously important. To have any opportunity to improve the employer’s initial offer, you will have to ask. Applying the ideas presented in this article will prepare you to discuss salary confidently and graciously—and improve your odds of getting the salary you deserve.
In our next post, we will discuss things to consider and things not to do when talking about starting salary.
In Part 2 , we discuss things to consider and not to do when talking about starting salary.