Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tips for Answering the Salary Question in an Interview

Whether they are asking the question when calling you to schedule the interview or asking you in the interview, your answer to the dreaded salary question can define your success in negotiating your annual salary - and possibly your success in landing the position. The key strategy when planning how to answer the question about salary is advance preparation. Here are some tips that can help you prepare for and field this question successfully.

  • Become acquainted with sites, such as www.salary.com, that provide a range of salaries that you can expect in your local area. Generate a personal salary report and keep it with your job search records so you can easily access the information.
  • When discussing salary, the most important rule is "the first person to name a number loses." Try to avoid naming your exact number with the following strategy. When asked how much you would like to make, ask the hiring manager to provide you with additional information about the job or ask them to give you an idea of where your range of experience should fit in their company's salary range.
  • If you have to name a number, instead of telling the interviewer how much you would like to make, quote your sources. For example, if you have done your research on www.salary.com, you may say something like this, "Prior to applying for this position, I did some research on salary.com. They state that this type of position in (insert your city) should make between (offer them the entire salary range)." Most importantly, you then need to ask "How does that compare with what you are paying?"
  • Be advised, you may not get what salary.com says you will get based on your years of experience, it is known to be a bit high. However, it is better to start with a higher number and negotiate lower. It is very difficult to negotiate upward.
  • Be aware of non-verbal cues when you state your salary range from salary.com. Try to get a sense from the interviewer's non-verbal communication as to how receptive they are to your numbers.
  • Never be afraid to negotiate salary. It is expected from you in the job search process. If you don't negotiate salary, most likely you are leaving money on the table.

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