3 Tips to Talking About Your Salary Requirements

Discussing your salary requirements is a tricky topic. If you go too high, you may not get the job. But if you go too low, you could damage your earning potential. What should you do?

Use these three tips to hit your ideal number:

  1. Let Them Start the Conversation
    Obviously, you shouldn’t begin an interview with, “So, exactly how much does this job pay?” In fact, try to delay salary talks until you know a company wants you (and you know you want to join their team). If an interviewer tries to press the topic early on, you can deflect the question by responding, “I would be happy to answer this, but first I’d like to find out more about what this job involves.”

    Once you feel you are in a position to negotiate, try to have your potential employer give a figure first. According to Richard Bolles, author of the best-selling job-hunting book, What Color is Your Parachute, “whoever mentions a salary figure first, generally loses.” This may require some crafty statements on your part such as, “What kind of salary are you looking for?” or “I’m guessing you have a number in mind. I would be interested to know what that figure is.”
  2. Do Your Research
    Whether you need to give a number, accept a number or make a counteroffer, you must know what salary you should expect. Before you go to the first interview, have a number in mind. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good place to begin. Be sure to consider industry, position, geographic region and cost of living as well as your experience level and any specializations. Looking through the job boards is another smart research tactic. Not all postings include a salary, but some do.
  3. Give a Range
    When you have an idea of what you are worth, most experts recommend presenting a reasonable range between $5,000 to $10,000. And, don’t be afraid to be aggressive. If you think you should receive $60,000, ask for $60,000 to $70,000 instead of $50,000 to $60,000. The bottom number acts as an anchor; it subtly communicates the least you’re willing to accept. At the same time, leaving room for negotiation is viewed as polite. You are thinking about the organization’s needs, rather than asking for $60,000. Period. And, your potential employer will want to be polite in return. (Business Insider, 2017)

    Finally, remember, money isn’t the whole story. Ask about perks including retirement packages, health insurance, paid family leave, stock options, flex time, remote work and even corporate culture. A lower salary combined with a competitive benefits package may still be your best bet. 

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