Updated: Dec 21, 2020
To decrease the internal tension that salary negotiations can bring, I suggest starting the salary conversation early in the interview process.
Over and over again, I have had clients tell me that the scariest part of an interview isn’t introductions or answering skill based questions, it’s the dreaded question and anxiety filled answer for the interviewer’s inquiry “So what are your salary requirements?” Unfortunately discussing money even in a salary conversation can feel like a taboo. Candidates are often nervous that if they ask for too much they won’t be hired and if they ask for too little, they’ll be shortchanging themselves out of the salary they deserve. To decrease the internal tension that salary negotiations can bring, I suggest starting the salary conversation early in the interview process. Here’s five tips on how to advocate and initiate your dream salary:
1. Ask Intelligently: The power salary move is to know what the salary range is prior to the interview and how to be at the higher end. This requires that you research what salary ranges and benefit packages are common for the role in your geographical area of choice. Talk with people who have similar roles to the one you are interviewing for and ask them what salary ranges where offered to them. Be sure to inquire about what they like about the work and if they are treated well when it comes to salary. This information will help you when you assess the company’s benefit package. You can also connect with a member of the company’s HR and find out what skills and experience the recruiter is looking for in a candidate that the higher range would be awarded to.
2. Ask Ahead of Time: Some companies require candidates to successfully compete several interviews varying in style before a position is offered and a salary is solidified. If the company you are pursuing has a prescreening interview, use it to your advantage. Most prescreening is done by an employee who will not be hiring you. Once you have answered their questions, notify the interviewer that you have some questions. Ask: Is there a salary range? Are there opportunities for raises? Will I get a higher salary with certain specifications (degree type, certificates, years of experience, willingness to relocate)? Believe me, it’s worth asking, I once got a $5,000 bonus based on my graduate school grade point average!
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3. Ask for the Bank: Yet again, research can be leveraged to be offered the salary you desire. When educating yourself about the company, research the type of company they are i.e. LLC, small business, corporation, for/ nonprofit, etc. You should also learn about the company’s funding sources and funding cycles. Knowing whether the company is local or federal government or privately owned lets you in on how steady their funding is for salaries, the spikes and valleys for employee’s income, and what fluctuations each fiscal year will bring. A lot of companies brag on their digital platforms about the benefits their employees are offered. Look on their digital platforms for perks outside of salary and hone in on perks that will save you money like telework, transportation costs covered, company vehicle, training, tuition reimbursement, mentoring, mental health support, etc. This information will give you leverage for the salary dance if they are not willing to come as high as you want.
4. Ask If They Want More Money: Don’t forget to flex your worth. Be clear throughout the interview process that you have a variety of transformational skills that will make them money, save them money, or save them time. A power move in this ask, is to know where the company is not being resourceful and educating them on how hiring you will fill in gaps. If you already have powerful connections that lead to more clients or funding sources for them, let them know that you are prepared to bring them into the role.
5. Ask About Me: When responding to the interviewer’s questions, infuse how you maximized the tools and resources you were issued in previous positions. Consider sprinkling in how you surpassed expectations with project delivery by effectively using the agency car, laptop, office tools, and training. This will establish in the interviewer’s mind that you are worth the investment of the salary that you are requesting; they will clearly see that the return on investment is high and it’s a no brainer to give you a higher salary.